New Combination Treatment Effective Against Melanoma

3D structure of a melanoma cell derived by ion abrasion scanning electron microscopy. (Sriram Subramaniam, National Cancer Institute, 2012)
3D structure of a melanoma cell derived by ion abrasion
scanning electron microscopy.
(Sriram Subramaniam, National Cancer Institute, 2012)
In findings never before seen in melanoma, a novel combination therapy was found to be highly effective at treating patients with skin metastases, new research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
 
The research found that Interleukin (IL)-2 combined with imiquimod and topical retinoid therapy in patients with so-called "in-transit metastases" is a promising therapeutic option.
 
About 10 percent of patients with advanced melanoma develop what are called cutaneous metastases, often located "in-transit" to the patients' lymph nodes. Historically, treatment for these metastatic lesions has been surgical excision with or without radiation therapy, but disease recurrences can still be very high.
 
For the study, the researchers did a retrospective analysis of patients with either stage III or stage IV melanoma who had history of treatment with IL-2 therapy combined with imiquimod and a topical retinoid. The patients had been seen by the dermatology service between 2006 and 2015; most were elderly and had other illnesses. Ten of the 11 patients had experienced recurrences of the disease after surgery, and several had failed non-surgical treatments, as well.
 
The data indicated that all patients achieved complete clinical response to the treated lesions within one to three months of starting the intralesional IL-2-based therapy. After two years, 82 percent of patients were alive, and seven were alive at the conclusion of the study without melanoma recurrence. The remaining five patients died from unrelated causes.
 
The authors note that the study has limitations in that the records of only 11 patients were analyzed, and there were no experiments conducted to determine the effects of the therapeutic regimen on the systemic immune response.
 
Based on material originally posted by University of California - Davis Health System.
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