Immunotherapy Outcomes May Be Better in Older Patients With Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Older patients with melanoma may respond better to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy treatment than their younger counterparts, according to a recent study published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal from the American Association for Cancer Research.

“Researchers collected melanoma tissue samples from 538 patients from the United States, Australia and Germany. The samples were then divided into two categories: those belonging to people over the age of 62 and those belonging to people younger than 62. All of the patients were treated with the immunotherapy agent, Keytruda (pembrolizumab), which targets and blocks PD-1, making the immune system more likely to identify and attack cancer cells.”

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Nivolumab Shows Durable Benefit for Advanced Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Patients with surgically resected stage III or stage IV melanoma at high risk for recurrence maintained longer RFS after adjuvant treatment with nivolumab then standard ipilimumab, according to long-term efficacy results from the CheckMate 238 clinical trial presented at ASCO Annual Meeting.

“‘These more mature data continue to demonstrate durable clinical benefit with nivolumab and further support its use for resected stage III or IV melanoma,’ Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD, deputy director of Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health, said during his presentation.”

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Six Tips to Spot Cancer ‘Fake News’

Excerpt:

Cancer is a popular topic for the media, as people care and worry about it in equal measure.

“News reports help people find out what researchers are working on, and how charitable donations are being spent. They also helps generate interest in the amazing science going on. But perhaps most of all, health stories and clinical trial results have a direct impact on people, raising interest in the latest discoveries further.

“And when it comes to , the emotion that’s tied to the subject means that scientific results must be discussed in a measured and accurate way. And most of the time that’s exactly what happens.”

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Practice-Changing Advances in the Adjuvant Treatment of Melanoma

Excerpt:

“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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Adjuvant Dabrafenib/Trametinib Granted FDA Approval for BRAF+ Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Based on data from the phase III COMBI-AD study, the combination of dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and trametinib (Mekinist) has been granted FDA approval for the adjuvant treatment of patients with BRAF V600E– or V600K–positive stage III melanoma following complete resection.

“In results from the trial, adjuvant treatment with dabrafenib and trametinib reduced the risk of relapse or death by 53% compared with placebo for patients with BRAF-mutant stage III melanoma.1,2 After a median follow-up of 2.8 years, the 3-year relapse-free survival (RFS) rate with dabrafenib and trametinib was 58% compared with 39% for placebo (HR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.39-0.58; P <.001).”

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TLR9 Agonist CMP-001-Pembrolizumab Combination Shows Early Efficacy for Metastatic Melanoma Resistant to Anti-PD-1

Excerpt:

A combination of CMP-001, an intratumoral Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) agonist, and pembrolizumab (Keytruda), tested in patients with metastatic melanoma resistant to PD-1 checkpoint inhibition, was well tolerated and had clinical activity according to preliminary data presented from the ongoing phase Ib clinical trial at the AACR Annual Meeting 2018, April 14-18, in Chicago.

” ‘Checkpoint inhibition is quickly becoming a key tool for oncologists to treat cancer,’ said Mohammed Milhem, MBBS, clinical professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. ‘However, there are many  that either initially respond to checkpoint inhibition and then progress, or never respond to this therapy to begin with. Finding safe and effective therapies for these patients is critical.’ ”

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Pembrolizumab Reduced the Risk for Recurrence of Stage 3 Melanoma

Excerpt:

“A one-year course of 18 doses of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) significantly reduced the risk of recurrence for patients with stage 3 melanoma who were at high risk of recurrence after surgery, according to data from the KEYNOTE-054/EORTC 1325-MG phase III clinical trial, presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2018, April 14–18.

“This study is being published simultaneously in The New England Journal of Medicine.”

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Drug Combination Targeting HSP90 and BRAF Is Safe and Effective in Advanced Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Patients with advanced or metastatic melanoma have been able to live longer cancer-free lives because of several new therapies approved over the last decade, such as BRAF and MEK inhibitors. However, despite the success of these targeted agents, most patients eventually develop drug resistance and their cancer regrows. A team of researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center have been working to learn more about how melanoma becomes resistant to BRAF inhibitors in order to develop new treatment strategies. They tested whether a drug targeting heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) combined with the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib could be a safe and potentially effective strategy to treat patients with melanoma. Their study was published online ahead of print in Clinical Cancer Research.”

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Incyte and Merck Provide Update on Phase 3 Study of Epacadostat in Combination with Keytruda (Pembrolizumab) in Patients with Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Incyte Corporation (Nasdaq:INCY) and Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that an external Data Monitoring Committee (eDMC) review of the pivotal Phase 3 ECHO-301/KEYNOTE-252 study results evaluating Incyte’s epacadostat in combination with Merck’s KEYTRUDA® in patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma determined that the study did not meet the primary endpoint of improving progression-free survival in the overall population compared to KEYTRUDA monotherapy.  The study’s second primary endpoint of overall survival also is not expected to reach statistical significance. Based on these results, and at the recommendation of the eDMC, the study will be stopped. The safety profile observed in ECHO-301/KEYNOTE-252 was consistent with that observed in previously reported studies of epacadostat in combination with KEYTRUDA.”

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