Phase III multicenter randomized trial of the Dartmouth regimen versus dacarbazine in patients with metastatic melanoma

Paul B. Chapman, Lawrence H. Einhorn, Michael L. Meyers, Scott Saxman, Alicia N. Destro, Katherine S. Panageas, Colin B. Begg, Sanjiv S. Agarwala, Lynn M. Schuchter, Marc S. Ernstoff, Alan N. Houghton, John M. Kirkwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

591 Scopus citations


Purpose: Several single-institution phase II trials have reported that the Dartmouth regimen (dacarbazine, cisplatin, carmustine, and tamoxifen) can induce major tumor responses in 40% to 50% of stage IV melanoma patients. This study was designed to compare the overall survival time, rate of objective tumor response, and toxicity of the Dartmouth regimen with standard dacarbazine treatment in stage IV melanoma patients. Patients and Methods: In this multicenter phase III trial, 240 patients with measurable stage IV melanoma were randomized to receive the Dartmouth regimen (dacarbazine 220 mg/m2 and cisplatin 25 mg/m2 days 1 to 3, carmustine 150 mg/m2 day 1 every other cycle, and tamoxifen 10 mg orally bid) or dacarbazine 1,000 mg/m2. Treatment was repeated every 3 weeks. Patients were observed for tumor response, survival time, and toxicity. Results: Median survival time from randomization was 7 months; 25% of the patients survived ≥ 1 year. There was no difference in survival time between the two treatment arms when analyzed on an intent-to-treat basis or when only the 231 patients who were both eligible and had received treatment were considered. Tumor response was assessable in 226 patients. The response rate to dacarbazine was 10.2% compared with 18.5% for the Dartmouth regimen (P = .09). Bone marrow suppression, nausea/vomiting, and fatigue were significantly more common in the Dartmouth arm. Conclusion: There was no difference in survival time and only a small, statistically nonsignificant increase in tumor response for stage IV melanoma patients treated with the Dartmouth regimen compared with dacarbazine. Dacarbazine remains the reference standard treatment for stage IV melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2745-2751
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Chapman, P. B., Einhorn, L. H., Meyers, M. L., Saxman, S., Destro, A. N., Panageas, K. S., Begg, C. B., Agarwala, S. S., Schuchter, L. M., Ernstoff, M. S., Houghton, A. N., & Kirkwood, J. M. (1999). Phase III multicenter randomized trial of the Dartmouth regimen versus dacarbazine in patients with metastatic melanoma. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 17(9), 2745-2751.