A combination of targeted treatments prior to stage 3 melanoma surgery would reduce the risk of recurrence. A hope for cancer where the risk of re-offending can be very high.
Cutaneous melanomas account for 10% of skin cancers. They come either from the cancerous transformation of a mole, or they appear on healthy skin (in 70% of cases).
To treat these cancers, a combination of targeted treatments before surgery drastically reduce the risk of recurrence, according to a study published in The Lancet Oncology. Researchers at the University of Texas in the United States have shown that this type of treatment combined with post-surgical chemotherapy reduces the risk of recurrence by six times.
A hope for patients with a high rate of relapse
"These results are encouraging for patients with surgically resectable stage 3 melanoma who are at high rates of relapse and progression to metastatic disease," says Rodabe Amaria, lead author of the study.
The study was launched in October 2014, 84 patients were recruited. This was the first time that a large-scale study was conducted on the value of combinations of pre-surgery targeted therapies for stage 3 melanoma. The results are so positive that the study was stopped before having need to recruit the 84 expected patients.
Extension of the recidivism period
In stage 3 melanoma the risk of recurrence ranges from 40 to 80%, depending on whether it is stage B or C. Most of the time the relapse occurs in the first year following surgery, at after three years, the risk is less than 5%.
For the 14 patients who had a combination of targeted treatments before the operation, the median recurrence time was 19.7 months, compared to 2.9 months for those who did not have the pre-surgical treatment, but only postoperative chemotherapy. But only 4 had recurrence of melanoma.
For seven patients, the pre-surgical therapy allowed a complete response, ie an absence of active cancer found during the surgery, none of them relapsed.