Cancer drug improves survival in patients with metastatic melanoma

November 14, 2012 by Sara Hammond, University of Arizona
The University of Arizona Cancer Center.

(Medical Xpress)—Results of a University of Arizona Cancer Center's scientist-led clinical trial show that a drug already approved for breast and lung cancer improved progression-free survival in patients with metastatic melanoma.

The findings of the Phase III study of nab-paclitaxel, brand name Abraxane, therapy compared to standard dacarbazine therapy were presented at the Society for Research in California Nov. 11.

Dr. Evan Hersh, a professor of medicine at the UA College of Medicine, said the UACC was the site of the initial Phase I and II studies when researchers first detected activity of nab-paclitaxel in melanoma patients. The drug, originally developed by Abraxis BioScience, later was acquired by Celgene Corporation. Hersh said he chaired a Phase II study, which showed activity in patients that had one or two previous treatments for their melanoma as well as others who had a more intensive treatment for their disease. Hersh then chaired the Phase III study with Celgene.

Melanoma is the most serious form of , and while it occurs less often than non-melanoma skin cancers, it causes more deaths. There have been no approved for since 1975; however, there has been considerable progress with so-called targeted therapy and with immunotherapy.

"Metastatic melanoma presents significant treatment challenges due in part to limited therapies, low at diagnosis and no advances in chemotherapy in 37 years," Hersh said. "Despite advances with targeted treatment and immunotherapies, there is still a need for new agents including chemotherapy treatments for patients with metastatic melanoma as the long term survival of patients with metastatic disease is poor."

In the Phase III study, a randomized, open-label multicenter multinational study, nab-paclitaxel showed a statistically significant improvement in median progression-free survival in chemotherapy-naïve patients with metastatic melanoma compared to patients receiving dacarbazine chemotherapy (4.8 versus 2.5 months). An interim analysis of overall survival, the secondary endpoint, shows a trend in favor of the nab-paclitaxel arm compared to treatment with (12.8 and 10.7 months, respectively).

Hersh said it is hoped that nab- and other agents under development will eventually provide a major improvement in the survival of melanoma patients with spread throughout the body.

The melanoma program of the UACC consists of a team of medical, dermatological, surgical and radiation oncologists as well as a group of basic scientists who are devoted to development of an improved understanding, prevention and treatment of all stages of malignant melanoma.

Explore further: ASCO: Trametinib improves survival in metastatic melanoma

Related Stories

ASCO: Trametinib improves survival in metastatic melanoma

June 5, 2012
(HealthDay) -- For patients with metastatic melanoma with activating mutations in serine-threonine protein kinase B-RAF (BRAF), treatment with the oral selective MEK inhibitor trametinib is associated with improved progression-free ...

New drug, Vemurafenib, doubles survival of metastatic melanoma patients

March 1, 2012
A report published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that the 50 percent of metastatic melanoma patients with a specific genetic mutation benefit from the drug Vemurafenib – increasing median survival ...

Research shows promising treatments against skin cancer

June 4, 2012
Two new experimental treatments against advanced melanoma have shown promise in keeping the deadly skin cancer at bay, according to research presented in the United States on Monday.

New melanoma drug Zelboraf nearly doubles survival in majority of patients

February 22, 2012
Investigators from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) and 12 other centers in the United States and Australia have found that a new drug for patients with metastatic melanoma nearly doubled median overall survival.

Recommended for you

Boosting cancer therapy with cross-dressed immune cells

January 22, 2018
Researchers at EPFL have created artificial molecules that can help the immune system to recognize and attack cancer tumors. The study is published in Nature Methods.

Workouts may boost life span after breast cancer

January 22, 2018
(HealthDay)—Longer survival after breast cancer may be as simple as staying fit, new research shows.

Cancer patients who tell their life story find more peace, less depression

January 22, 2018
Fifteen years ago, University of Wisconsin–Madison researcher Meg Wise began interviewing cancer patients nearing the end of life about how they were living with their diagnosis. She was surprised to find that many asked ...

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.