Practice-Changing Advances in the Adjuvant Treatment of Melanoma


“Adjuvant therapy for melanoma to lower the risk of disease recurrence and death in patients with high-risk disease who have undergone definitive surgical treatment has previously been administered primarily to patients with stage III disease, as well as a small group of patients with stage IV disease who could be rendered disease free surgically, according to Ahmad A. Tarhini, MD, PhD.

“These patients have unmet treatment needs. Tarhini, director, Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program and Center for Immuno- Oncology Research, Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, said that toxicities, negative effects on quality of life (QoL), and inconvenient dosing schedules have contributed to the lack of uptake of adjuvant therapy for patients with melanoma.”

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Engaging the Immune System May Be a Useful Strategy in SCLC

Drugs that enhance the body’s immune response (immunotherapies) may help patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Immunotherapy may be beneficial on its own, but could also complement standard chemotherapy. An overview of recent studies and ongoing clinical trials highlighted several promising immunotherapies, including ipilimumab (Yervoy). Yervoy, which has been approved to treat certain kinds of skin cancer, targets a protein called CTLA4, which acts as an “off switch” on immune system cells. By deactivating CTLA4, Yervoy allows the immune system to continue attacking tumors. Another immune treatment that may be combined with traditional chemotherapy is interferon-alpha, a molecule that stimulates the body’s immune cells.