Uveal melanoma metastatic to the liver: Chemoembolization with 1,3-bis-(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea

Carin F. Gonsalves*, David J. Eschelman, Bartley Thornburg, Andrea Frangos, Takami Sato

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether chemoembolization with 1,3-bis-(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU) is a safe and effective treatment for bulky uveal melanoma liver metastasis. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Over a 7-year period, 63 treatment-naïve patients presented with uveal melanoma metastasis replacing 50% or more of the normal liver parenchyma. Patients with Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group 0-2 performance status, no extensive extrahepatic metastases, and adequate liver and renal function were treated with BCNU (200 mg) chemoembolization. Pretreatment tumor burdens were classified by MRI as 50-75% and more than 75%. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels were divided into less than or equal to 500 and more than 500 IU/L (i.e., more than twice the normal level). Treatment toxicity was assessed using Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (version 4.0). CT and MRI were used to determine best radiologic response (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors). Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were compared with tumor burden and LDH levels. RESULTS. Fifty patients (31 men; mean age, 59.1 years; range, 30-88 years) met the inclusion criteria. A total of 271 chemoembolization procedures were performed. Grade 3 thrombocytopenia occurred in two patients, grade 3 hyperbilirubinemia (n = 2) was attributed to disease progression, and asymptomatic grade 4 transaminitis occurred after 16 treatments. Best radiologic response was as follows: partial response, n = 3; stable disease, n = 33; and disease progression, n = 12 (no follow-up imaging, n = 2). The median OS was 7.1 months (range, 1.2-32.3 months), and the median PFS was 5.0 months (range, 1.1-32.3 months). Eleven patients (22%) survived longer than 12 months (range, 12.2-32.3) with one patient alive at follow-up. Tumor burden and LDH levels showed no statistically significant effect on OS (p = 0.20 and p = 0.14, respectively) or PFS (p = 0.10 and p = 0.34, respectively). CONCLUSION. BCNU chemoembolization should be considered as a treatment option for patients with bulky uveal melanoma hepatic metastases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-433
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • BCNU
  • Chemoembolization
  • Transarterial liver-directed therapy
  • Uveal melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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