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ASCO: Targeting PD-1 Works in Advanced Melanoma

ASCO: Targeting PD-1 Works in Advanced Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Two studies indicate that using investigative immunotherapy drugs improves survival and response in patients with metastatic melanoma, researchers said here.


"In one study, the agent pembrolizumab (MK-3475) which targets the programmed death (PD-1) pathway produced a 1-year 69% survival rate, said Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles.


"In a second study reported in a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Mario Sznol, MD, professor of medicine at the Yale Cancer Center, demonstrated that a combination of the investigative PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab in combination with another targeted agent ipilimumab (Yervoy) produced a 1-year survival rate of 85% and 2-year survival rate of 79% for advanced melanoma patients."


Editor's note: Immunotherapy drugs boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. Promising research into new immunotherapy drugs for melanoma was recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. Two treatments that received special attention were MK-3475 (aka pembrolizumab) and a combination of the drugs ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab.

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MedPage Today  |  Jun 5, 2014

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Tumor Size is Defining Factor to Response from Promising Melanoma Drug

Tumor Size is Defining Factor to Response from Promising Melanoma Drug | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"In examining why some advanced melanoma patients respond so well to the experimental immunotherapy MK-3475, while others have a less robust response, researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida found that the size of tumors before treatment was the strongest variable.


"They say their findings, being presented June 2 at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), offered several clinical insights that could lead to different treatment strategies and perhaps influence staging of advanced melanoma."


Editor's note: MK-3475 is a promising new immunotherapy drug that boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. It works very well for some patients, and not so well for others. New research shows that doctors may be able to predict whether MK-3475 will work well or not based on the size of a patient's tumors before treatment. Patients who had a large total volume of tumors were less likely to respond well to the drug, no matter where in the body those tumors were found.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 2, 2014

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Two Array-Invented MEK Inhibitors Showcased At ASCO

"Two Array BioPharma-invented MEK inhibitors, binimetinib (MEK162) and selumetinib, were showcased at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).  At the meeting, preliminary data for the combination of binimetinib and CDK4/6 inhibitor LEE011 (discovered by Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in collaboration with Astex Pharmaceuticals) from a Phase 1b/2 dose-escalation study conducted by Novartis in NRAS-mutant melanoma indicates the combination demonstrated an acceptable safety profile for most patients with promising preliminary antitumor activity.  Additionally, preliminary data for selumetinib showed favorable clinical activity in pediatric patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and plexiform neurofibromas (PNs)."


Editor's note: This article discusses a melanoma treatment that combines two durgs: binimetinib (aka MEK162) and selumetinib. A clinical trial recently found that the combo shows promise for melanoma patients whose tumors have mutations in the NRAS gene, as detected by molecular testing. Binimetinib is also being tested as a potential treatment for patients whose tumors have mutations in the BRAF gene.

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Array BioPharma  |  Jun 2, 2014

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Study Shows Castle Biosciences’ Gene Expression Profile Test Successfully Identified High Risk Disease in a Cohort of 217 Melanoma Patients Who Underwent Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

"Castle Biosciences Inc. today announced results of a 217-patient study demonstrating that its gene expression profile (GEP) test, DecisionDx-Melanoma, identified primary cutaneous (skin) melanoma tumors that were sentinel lymph node biopsy negative but were at high risk of metastasis. The GEP test also identified tumors that were unlikely to become metastatic, independent of nodal status. The data are being reviewed today at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in the Melanoma/Skin Cancers Poster Highlights Session by David H. Lawson, M.D., Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University."


Editor's note: More and more, doctors are using molecular testing methods to make diagnoses and guide treatment decisions. Now, molecular testing can help determine whether a melanoma tumor is likely to metastasize (spread to other parts of the body). A procedure called sentinel lymph node biopsy is commonly used to measure the severity of a melanoma diagnosis; a "negative" sentinel node biopsy indicates low risk of metastasis. But some patients with negative sentinel node biopsies still go on to experience metastasis. A new molecular test called DecisionDx-Melanoma can identify cutaneous melanoma tumors that are at risk of metastasizing, regardless of sentinel node biopsy results. The test analyzes the activity of 31 genes in a tumor to determine risk of metastasis.

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Yahoo! Finance  |  Jun 4, 2014

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Ipilimumab Nivolumab Combination Demonstrated Encouraging Activity in Advanced Melanoma

Ipilimumab Nivolumab Combination Demonstrated Encouraging Activity in Advanced Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The combination of the immunotherapy agents ipilimumab and nivolumab induced extensive and durable tumor shrinkage in patients with advanced melanoma, according to long-term study results presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting.

“ 'These are two distinct immune checkpoint inhibitors, so it makes sense to combine them together,' researcher Mario Sznol, MD, a professor of medical oncology at Yale School of Medicine, said during a press conference. 'They both produce very significant clinical activity as monotherapy in advanced melanoma.' ”

Editor's note: Immunotherapy treatments boost a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. A new immunotherapy treatment combines two individual immunotherapy drugs: ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab. In a clinical trial to test the combo in volunteer patients with advanced melanoma, the treatment was found to provide promising survival results. Further studies are needed to see just how well the treatment might work.

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Healio  |  Jun 4, 2012

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