Non-surgical management of primary invasive melanoma

Elizabeth A. Wang, Jason Kao, Chelsea Ma, Michelle Y. Cheng, Virginia R. Barton, Tatyana A. Petukhova, Maija Kiuru, Emanual Maverakis, Amanda R. Kirane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surgical excision is standard-of-care for primary invasive melanoma, but best care can be unclear for patients who are surgically high-risk or for whom resection may be excessively morbid. Alternatives to surgical excision have emerged for treatment of metastatic melanoma but have not yet been explored for primary invasive melanoma. Two elderly patients with primary invasive melanoma with many medical co-morbidities who were not surgical candidates were determined to be appropriate candidates for an intralesional IL-2 based regimen. Herein we report their clinical and histological outcome. An intralesional-based regimen (intralesional IL-2, topical imiquimod cream 5%, and tretinoin cream 0.1% under occlusion to the treatment site) was administered over the course of six to seven weeks, followed by two weeks of topical-only therapy. A complete response was seen after eight to nine weeks of treating invasive melanomas that were ≥1.85 mm and 5.5 mm thick. For patients with primary invasive melanoma on high morbidity sites and patients who are poor surgical candidates, a neoadjuvant intralesional IL-2-based approach may be a reasonable alternative. The two cases presented here suggest that alternative intralesional-based treatment modalities may minimize the size of the excision site and can be associated with complete histological clearance of invasive melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Dermatological Treatment
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • imiquimod
  • interleukin-2
  • Intralesional IL-2
  • non-surgical alternatives
  • primary invasive melanoma
  • tretinoin
  • TVEC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Non-surgical management of primary invasive melanoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this