Feasibility of carbon ion radiotherapy in the treatment of gynecological melanoma

Amelia Barcellini, Viviana Vitolo, Angelica Facoetti*, Piero Fossati, Lorenzo Preda, Maria Rosaria Fiore, Barbara Vischioni, Alberto Iannalfi, Maria Bonora, Sara Ronchi, Emma D’Ippolito, Rachele Petrucci, Gisela Viselner, Mario Ciocca, Francesca Valvo, Roberto Orecchia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Malignant melanoma of the lower genital tract is a rare disease known to have a poor prognosis. Because of the high rate of distant metastasis and unsatisfactory survival benefit, a more conservative treatment approach, instead of extensive surgery, may be warranted. Gynecological melanoma is a radioresistant tumor, an ideal disease to test the biological efficacy of carbon ion radiotherapy (CIRT). Aim: To report our preliminary experience with CIRT in the treatment of gynecological melanoma at the National Center of Oncological Hadrontherapy (CNAO). Patients and Methods: Between January 2016 and February 2017, four patients were admitted for CIRT at CNAO. A case of cervical melanoma was treated with palliative aim because of large volume macroscopic disease, while three cases of vaginal melanoma were irradiated with a total dose of 68.8 Gy (relative biological effectiveness) in 16 fractions delivered over 4 weeks (4 days a week). Results: The age of women ranged between 49 and 72 (median=60.5 years) years. Treatment was well tolerated in all patients and all women completed the scheduled treatment course. During CIRT, toxicity was mild. For patients with vaginal disease, local control was 10.23 and 12.6 months, while that for cervical malignant melanoma was 7.3 months. All patients experienced systemic progression, with median distant metastasis-free survival of 11.7 months. The median overall survival for the whole patient group was 11.41 months. Conclusion: In our first experiences, CIRT appears to be a safe non-invasive option for malignant melanoma of the lower genital tract, but more data and longer follow-up are necessary in order to evaluate the effectiveness and late effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-476
Number of pages4
JournalIn Vivo
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon ion radiotherapy
  • Gynecological melanoma
  • Lower genital tract

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology


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