Chemotherapy Treatment of Advanced Melanoma

Treatment for metastatic melanoma focuses on extending life and maintaining quality of life.

Your treatment plan is guided by many factors:

  • The biology of the tumor (characteristics of the cancer cells)
  • Where the cancer has spread
  • Your symptoms
  • Personal goals and preferences


Most patients with stage 4 melanoma have disease that has already spread and cannot be removed with surgery, so systemic treatment that can kill cancer cells throughout the body is necessary. 

Systemic treatment is called chemotherapy.  Chemotherapy can also destroy cancer cells that have metastasized to parts of the body away from the original tumor site. Combining two or more chemotherapy agents can be used for treatment of melanoma, as this will help to provide a better response overall.

Chemo might be used to treat advanced melanoma after other treatments have been tried, but it’s not often used as the first treatment because newer forms of immunotherapy and targeted treatments are typically more effective. 

Sometimes chemotherapy and other treatments can cause side effects.  Visit our EASE page to discover helpful hints on how to deal with the possible aftermath of treatment.

Chemotherapy can also be used in combination with immuno-oncology or immunotherapy and some melanoma may benefit from targeted therapy or a combination of therapies.