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June 4, 2007

Chemo Combo Improves Survival In Metastatic Melanoma:

Topics: Medicine
(Image from Merck Biosciences - click image to enlarge.)

Melanoma that has metastasized (spread) to other parts of the body is one of the most difficult cancers to treat. Although rare, it is also the most deadliest of skin cancers because it does not respond well to chemotherapy. About one melanoma patient dies every hour in the United States (8,000 every year) , and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. People who have been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma generally live between six and 12 months after diagnosis. Despite years of research, there are no long-term effective treatments and no cure.

Now, however, according to by Domingo Perez, M.D., a former oncology fellow at Mayo Clinic who is now in private practice in Minneapolis, two chemotherapy drugs combined with an agent that prevents the growth of blood vessels, may offer some such patients new hope. According to Dr. Perez, the combination of paclitaxel (Taxol) and carboplatin - with bevacizumab, a drug that prevents the formation of new blood vessels and is used to treat cancer in combination with chemotherapy drugs, significantly delayed the spread of tumors in patients with metastatic melanoma:

... Fifty-three patients were treated with carboplatin, weekly treatments of paclitaxel (Taxol) and biweekly bevacizumab. Researchers found that the treatment was well tolerated and prevented the tumor from spreading from eight to nearly 24 weeks.

... "The clinical benefit may seem small, but in the world of melanoma where there is very little progress, this is certainly a strong indication that the combination of chemotherapy with an antiangiogenic agent may be a valid treatment strategy for these patients. But the only way to know this for certain is a head to head comparison with the standard course of treatment," Dr. Perez says.

More here ...

Posted by Richard at June 4, 2007 9:03 PM

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