Adjuvant GM-CSF improves survival in high-risk Stage IIIC melanoma: A single-center study

Travis E. Grotz, Lisa Kottschade, Emily S. Pavey, Svetomir N. Markovic, James W. Jakub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives: Stage III melanoma is associated with an increased risk of recurrence and death. Complete surgical resection remains the best chance for cure. Unfortunately, no adjuvant therapy has demonstrated a consistent improvement in melanoma-specific survival (MSS). We hypothesize that adjuvant granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) may improve clinical outcomes.

Patients and Methods: Retrospective cohort study of 317 surgically resected stage III melanoma patients managed with observation or adjuvant GM-CSF at a single institution from 2001 to 2010.

Results: Of the 317 stage III patients, 165 (52%) were observed and 152 (48%) were treated with GM-CSF, with a median follow-up of 34 months. Patients treated with GM-CSF tended to be younger (P < 0.0001), had more advanced stage disease (P= 0.002), and were more likely to have had a recurrence before initiation of adjuvant therapy than the observation group (P< 0.0001). Adjuvant GM-CSF seemed to be associated with improved MSS, but this did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.08). Patients with stage IIIC melanoma derived a substantial benefit from adjuvant GM-CSF, with a 52% risk reduction in melanoma-specific death (hazard ratio 0.48; 95% confidence interval, 0.27-0.87; P = 0.02).

Conclusions: Despite selecting patients with more advanced stage and a higher incidence of regional relapse, adjuvant GM-CSF was associated with an improved MSS but not disease-free survival in patients with stage IIIC disease. In patients not otherwise eligible for clinical trials, adjuvant GM-CSF treatment is a reasonable option for individuals with resected high-risk melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-472
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013


  • Granulocyte monocyte colony stimulating factor
  • Immunotherapy
  • Postoperative treatment
  • Recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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