Hussein A. Tawbi, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses evolving treatment for patients with melanoma.
Hussein A. Tawbi, MD, PhD, associate professor, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the evolving treatment paradigm of melanoma.
For patients with resectable melanoma who start with skin primaries and develop nodal disease, surgery is very effective and sometimes curative. But there is still a high risk of relapse and mortality from melanoma, Tawbi says. In the last year alone, there have been a number of positive studies that have moved the needle for these patients who are at high risk of recurrence.
The anti-PD—1 agent nivolumab (Opdivo) was proven to be less toxic and more effective in terms of reducing the risk of relapse than the previous standard-of-care ipilimumab (Yervoy). An overall survival benefit was also seen, Tawbi adds.
For patients with BRAF-mutated melanoma, targeted agents are also making headway. Findings from a recent long-term study showed that the efficacy of dabrafenib (Tafinar) and trametinib (Mekinist) in these patients. The next step in this population would be combination strategies, Tawbi concludes.