Melanoma immunotherapy also decreases the risk of relapse

One study shows that immunotherapy reduces the risk of relapse by 43% in patients with stage 3 melanoma who are at high risk for recurrence after surgery.
Stage 3 melanoma with a high risk of relapse is characterized by metastases greater than one millimeter in one or more lymph nodes. More ganglionic involvement
and the size of the metastases are important, the risk of relapse is high. However, there is currently no standard treatment in Europe to prevent relapse.
However, a study presented by Professor Alexander Eggermont, General Manager of Gustave Roussy, at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) conference shows that pembrolizulab, a treatment used in immunotherapy, reduces the risk of relapse by 43% in patients with this type of melanoma.
For this study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, patients operated for melanoma invading the lymph nodes were randomly divided into two groups. One received an injection of pembrolizumab at the fixed dose of 200 mg every three weeks for one year, while the other received a placebo.
After 18 months of follow-up, the relapse-free survival rate was 71.4% for patients treated with pembrolizumab versus 53.2% for those who received placebo.
“These promising results should lead the pharmaceutical company to file a marketing authorization application for this indication, and now more time is needed to estimate the benefit on overall survival,” said Eggermont.
For the continuation of this study, relapsed patients in the placebo group will have access to pembrolizumab. “This will enable us to determine whether it is more beneficial to initiate treatment immediately post-operatively or to treat only patients at the time of relapse,” the doctor adds.
A molecule of immunotherapy, atezolizumab, would reduce the tumor and prolong the survival of patients with bladder cancer.
How to cure bladder cancer? A clinical trial presented at the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), June 3-7, 2016 in Chicago, brings new hope based on a promising technique: immunotherapy. This treatment consists in reinforcing the effectiveness of the molecules of the immune system, the antibodies, so that they destroy the cancer cells without attacking the healthy cells.
The Genetech laboratory, a subsidiary of the Swiss Roche laboratory, conducted a clinical trial using atezolizumab, a patented antibody marketed in the United States under the name Tecentriq®. This trial, titled IMvigor210, involved 119 patients in the United States, Canada, and Europe. With bladder cancer, these participants received Tecentriq® as a first-line treatment. As a result, the drug reduced tumor mass by at least 30% in a quarter of patients, and increased survival from 9 to nearly 14.8 months on average. The response to treatment has been rapid (about two months) and lasting, up to 15 months. An encouraging finding since “half of patients with bladder cancer can not tolerate the usual chemotherapy prescribed,” according to Sandra Horning , Chief Medical Officer of Genetech Laboratories.