New Skin Cancer Drug Could Stop Melanoma Spreading to Other Organs in High-risk Patients

A new drug could stop melanoma in its tracks and prevent it from spreading to
other organs in the body, new research suggests. Two drug trials, led by experts at the Melanoma Institute of Australia, have successfully halted the spread of the disease in Stage 3 patients whose tumors had been surgically removed. Until now, patients with stage three melanoma were at a 40- to 70-percent risk of their cancer spreading to other organs. In the first clinical trial, called COMBI-AD,1 patients were either given a combination of targeted therapies (dabrafenib and trametinib) or placebo for 12 months. The drugs worked to block the action of a gene mutation, known as BRAF, that spreads the disease. About 40 percent of melanoma patients have this mutation. This trial showed a 53- percent reduction in the risk of melanoma returning. The second trial, called CheckMate 238, compared two immunotherapy drugs, nivolumab versus ipilmumab, in patients with high-risk, Stages 3 and 5 melanoma. This trial saw a 35- percent reduction in melanoma. But experts do not yet know how these results will impact survival rates.
SOURCES: 1) Long GV, et al. Adjuvant dabrafenib plus trametinib for Stage III BRAF-mutated melanoma. NEJM September 10, 2017DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1708539. 2) Weber J, et al. Adjuvant nivolumab versus ipilimumab in resected Stage III or IV melanoma. NEJM. September 10, 2017DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1709030. NHR

Fast Fact!

Sleeping on the same side of your face every night can cause permanent creases to form on that side of the face.

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