There is new hope for medical professionals involved in the treatment of melanoma, an aggressive form of cancer. Initial reports from a clinical trial funded by NCI are indicative of yet another treatment enhancement for melanoma. The new focus is on patients suffering from advanced forms of melanoma that can be treated with surgery.
The last decade has seen several developments surfacing in the treatment of melanoma. As a result, there have been several changes in the treatments applied for melanoma.
Here are the details of the trial. The results of the study were published on September 11 at the ESMO (the European Society for Medical Oncology) held in Paris, France.
The participants of the survey were split into two groups. One of these groups had to remove their cancerous tumors and received periodic doses of pembrolizumab (Keytruda), an immunotherapy drug, post-surgery.
The other group was given many doses of the drug prior to surgery. Then, they were given the drug again over ten months after the surgery.
Those doses of the pre-surgery drug seem to have an impact on the patients. The risk of a relapse is apparently reduced among patients who received a pre-surgery dose.
Further, in about 20% of cancer patients treated with the drug before the surgery, the initial tumors disappeared permanently.
When the first doses of the drug have been administered, even when the tumor is in place, there can be an increase in the number of T-cells that can identify and attack cancer. Once the tumor is removed, the T-cells can migrate into circulation.
As part of the $180 trial, the researchers wanted to test if starting immunotherapy before surgery could exploit the body’s immune cells that are present around the tumors.