Dr. Kluger on the Challenges of Treating Melanoma
Harriet Kluger, MD, associate professor of medicine (medical oncology), associate director, Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program, Yale Cancer Center, discusses the changes and challenges of treating patients with melanoma.
Kluger says things are changing in the field of melanoma treatment. Ten years ago, a newly-diagnosed metastatic patient would be told that the median survival is approximately 6-9 months. However, patients and physicians now do not talk about survival rates with newly diagnosed patients, Kluger say, because of new anti-PD-1 agents, like nivolumab and lambrolizumab (MK-3475).
A recent phase I trial of nivolumab has shown a median duration of response was almost 2 years and patients with metastatic melanoma can now work, exercise, and live their lives.
Though these agents can have extremely durable responses, there is currently no way of predicting who will respond and how long they will respond for, which makes treating the disease very challenging.