(HealthDay News) — New treatment options are available for advanced melanoma, according to three studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 30–June 3 in Chicago.

Alexander M. Eggermont, MD, PhD, from the Cancer Institute Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, and colleagues randomized 951 patients with surgically treated stage III cutaneous melanoma to receive ipilimumab (10mg/kg) or placebo. At a median follow-up of 2.7 years, the researchers observed a 25% reduction overall in the relative risk of recurrence for ipilimumab vs. placebo. The three-year recurrence-free survival rates were 46.5% with ipilimumab and 34.8% with placebo.

Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a phase I trial to study the efficacy of PD-1 targeting antibody MK-3475 in advanced melanoma (221 patients with and 190 patients without prior ipilimumab treatment). The researchers found that 34% of patients experienced tumor response, including 40% of non-ipilimumab-treated and 28% of ipilimumab-treated patients. In a third study, Mario Sznol, MD, from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT, and colleagues found that 41% of a cohort of 53 patients with inoperable stage III or IV melanoma responded to treatment with ipilimumab and nivolumab, and 17% had complete remissions.

“While we’re encouraged by what we’re seeing with the use of these two drugs together, this trial was small, so a randomized phase III trial will be important to validate our initial results,” Sznol said in a statement.

Several authors from all studies disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, and Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical, which funded the Eggermont, Ribas, and Sznol studies, respectively.

Abstract – Eggermont
Abstract – Ribas
Abstract – Sznol
More Information