Phase II study shows combination improves survival of metastatic melanoma patients

CHICAGO -- Two chemotherapy drugs combined with an agent that prevents the growth of blood vessels significantly delayed the spread of tumors in patients with metastatic melanoma, according to study findings presented today at the 2007 American Association of Clinical Oncology (http://www.asco.org/portal/site/ASCO) (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

In this phase II clinical trial of 53 patients, tumor growth was delayed by almost six months, whereas, typically, these cancers begin spreading again eight weeks after chemotherapy treatment, researchers say.

The researchers from Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayo.edu/) and the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (http://ncctg.mayo.edu/) (NCCTG), caution that while the findings are promising, they are preliminary.

"This is the most effective treatment we have ever tested at Mayo Clinic for this type of cancer, but the results need to be validated," says Svetomir Markovic, M.D., Ph.D. (http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/mayo/research/staff/markovic_sn.cfm), a Mayo Clinic oncologist and the study's principal investigator. "It is important for the public to know there is hope for patients with melanoma."

The study was presented today by Domingo Perez, M.D., the lead author of the study who is a former oncology fellow at Mayo Clinic and is now in private practice in Minneapolis.

"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.

Melanoma that has metas

Contact: Amy Reyes
Mayo Clinic

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