“By 2050 the death rates from malignant melanoma will have decreased from their current levels but the numbers of people dying from the disease will have increased due to the aging of populations.
“However, if new treatments for the deadly skin cancer prove to be effective, the numbers of deaths could fall too, according to research presented at the European Cancer Congress 2017 today (Sunday).
“Ms Alice Koechlin, from the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, told the meeting that people who were at highest risk of dying from melanoma were those born between 1900 and 1960 when not only were the dangerous effects of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight largely unknown, but also health professionals believed that sunshine was positively beneficial.”
“Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq:CLDX) announced today results from a Phase 2 clinical study evaluating CDX‑1401 and CDX‑301 in patients with malignant melanoma, which was conducted by the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN) under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between Celldex and the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program of the National Cancer Institute. CDX‑1401 is an NY‑ESO‑1-antibody fusion protein for immunotherapy, and CDX‑301 (recombinant human Flt3 ligand) is a potent hematopoietic cytokine that uniquely expands dendritic cells and hematopoietic stem cells. Results from the study were presented at the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago in a poster titled ‘A Phase 2, Open-label, Multicenter, Randomized Study of CDX‑1401, a Dendritic Cell Targeting NY‑ESO‑1 Vaccine, in Patients with Malignant Melanoma Pre-Treated with CDX‑301, a Recombinant Human Flt3 Ligand.’ ”
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The gist: The drug ipilimumab showed promise for people with metastatic uveal melanoma in a recent clinical trial that tested it in volunteer patients. Ipilimumab (aka Zelboraf) has shown some success in treating cutaneous melanoma, but had not yet been tested in uveal melanoma. In the trial, ipilimumab was effective for some patients, and almost 25% are still alive two years after treatment; an encouraging outcome for the disease. More uveal melanoma patients will be given ipilimumab in clinical trials as research continues. One of the trials is currently recruiting patients.
“The first trial of the immunomodulator ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company) conducted in patients with malignant uveal melanoma has shown efficacy in some patients.
” ‘After almost 2 years’ follow-up, we can see that almost 25% of patients are still alive, and that is very encouraging in this population of patients with very bad outcome,’ lead investigator Josep Piulats, MD, PhD, from the Institut Catala d’Oncologia and L’Hospitalet del Llobregat in Spain, told Medscape Medical News.
“The results from the study, known as GEM1, were presented in a poster at the recent Society of Melanoma Research (SMR) 2014 International Congress, in Zurich, Switzerland.
“Although the study was small (only 32 patients) and open-label, and although it just missed its primary endpoint of improving overall survival, the researchers say they are encouraged by finding “objective responses in a population of highly metastatic patients.”
The gist: It can be difficult for doctors to tell whether a patient has malignant melanoma or simply a benign mole. A test called myPath Melanoma uses molecular testing to help clarify whether or not a person has melanoma. Researchers recently finished a study to look at the effectiveness of the test. They found that doctors who used MyPath Melanoma had 43% fewer cases of indecision, and changed their mind about treatment recommendations 49% of the time.
“Myriad Genetics, Inc. (Nasdaq:MYGN) today presented results from a prospective clinical utility study of its Myriad myPath Melanoma test at the 2014 American Society of Dermatopathology (ASDP) annual meeting in Chicago, Ill. Myriad myPath Melanoma is a genetic test that differentiates malignant melanoma from benign skin lesions across all major melanoma subtypes. Key findings of this clinical utility study included a 43 percent reduction in indeterminate diagnoses and a 49 percent change in physicians’ treatment recommendations for patients.
” ‘These findings demonstrate the power of Myriad myPath Melanoma to improve patient care through more definitive diagnoses of skin lesions, particularly in these difficult-to-call cases,’ said Loren Clarke, M.D., vice president of Medical Affairs at Myriad Genetic Laboratories. ‘Importantly, the number of indeterminate cases was significantly reduced, which means less uncertainty for more patients and physicians, and may lead to less overtreatment in these cases.’ ”
“The study evaluated the impact of the Myriad myPath Melanoma diagnostic test on dermatopathologists’ diagnoses and intended treatment recommendations for 218 patients with pigmented skin lesions that were considered difficult to diagnose. The dermatopathologists recorded their diagnoses and treatment plans before and after receiving the myPath Melanoma test results.”
The gist: Doctors sometimes perform molecular testing on patients’ tumors to identify certain characteristics that can inform treatment decisions. This article describes a molecular test called myPath Melanoma. It helps doctors determine is a patient’s skin lesion is malignant melanoma or benign. Recent research showed that myPath Melanoma helped doctors change their treatment decisions. In particular, many doctors opted for less intensive treatments for their patients based on myPath results.
“Myriad Genetics this week presented data showing that its multi-gene myPath Melanoma test helped doctors change their treatment decisions, often lowering the intensity of the treatment strategy, for 35 percent of nearly 700 cases of pigmented skin lesions.
“Myriad presented the data, from a second clinical utility study for myPath Melanoma, at the College of American Pathologists’ annual meeting this week. The results of the prospective analysis aligned with findings from a retrospective clinical utility study presented earlier this year, which showed that doctors changed their decisions for 33 percent of cases using myPath Melanoma results.
“Myriad is marketing the 23-gene panel test, list priced at $1,500, as a tool that doctors can use to determine if a patient’s skin lesion is malignant melanoma or benign. Late last year the company provided early access to the test to dermatopathologists in the US through ‘The melEval Program.’ The test, according to Myriad, is one that pathologists can use to arrive at a more definitive diagnosis for suspicious, difficult-to-assess skin lesions. To date, approximately 120 dermatopathologists have submitted samples for testing with myPath through the early access program, according to the firm.
“In the latest prospective clinical utility study, 42 dermatopathologists answered questions about their treatment decisions for 687 cases of pigmented skin lesions, before and after performing the myPath Melanoma test. Myriad researchers asked these doctors to document their level of confidence about their diagnosis (is the skin lesion benign, malignant, or indeterminate) and their treatment recommendations before and after the test was performed.”
“Cost regulators for the National Health Service in England and Wales have this morning issued guidance recommending the use of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Yervoy (ipilimumab) for skin cancer and Astellas’ Xtandi (enzalutamide) for prostate cancer.
“First-line use of Yervoy will be funded in patients with advanced malignant melanoma when the full tumour cannot be removed or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
“The drug costs £3,750 per 10-ml vial or £15,000 per 40-ml vial, but B-MS has also agreed a patient access scheme with the Department of Health, in which it will be sold to the NHS at a discounted price.
“NICE analysis concluded that the most plausible cost per Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) was £47,900 for Yervoy compared with the chemotherapy dacarbazine and £28,600 per QALY compared with Roche’s Zelboraf (vemuraf [sic]).”
“There has been a rise in rates of lifestyle-linked cancers in England.”Liver cancer rose substantially over the past decade – by 70 per cent among men and 60 per cent among women between 2003 and 2012. It now stands as the 18th most common form of cancer in the country, according to new figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
“Rates of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, have risen by 78 per cent among men and 48 per cent among women over the same period. Now around 11,300 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma each year in England, making it the fifth most common cancer.
“The main causes of liver cancer are tobacco, infections with hepatitis B and C ,and excess alcohol consumption.
“Overexposure to the sun has for some time been known to be a major factor in skin cancer cases. Experts have attributed the rise in skin cancer to the popularity of package holidays over the last 50 years.”
“Research conducted at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Pigment Cell and Melanoma, has established unequivocally in a natural animal model that the incidence of malignant melanoma in adulthood can be dramatically reduced by the consistent use of sunscreen in infancy and childhood.
“According to senior author John L. VandeBerg, Ph.D., the research was driven by the fact that, despite the increasing use of sunscreen in recent decades, the incidence of malignant melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, continues to increase dramatically. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 75,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year.”