Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tumor size is defining factor to response from promising melanoma drug

Date:
June 2, 2014
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
In examining why some advanced melanoma patients respond so well to the experimental immunotherapy MK-3475, while others have a less robust response, researchers found that the size of tumors before treatment was the strongest variable. The findings offer several clinical insights that could lead to different treatment strategies and perhaps influence staging of advanced melanoma.

In examining why some advanced melanoma patients respond so well to the experimental immunotherapy MK-3475, while others have a less robust response, researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida found that the size of tumors before treatment was the strongest variable.

Related Articles


They say their findings, being presented June 2 at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), offered several clinical insights that could lead to different treatment strategies and perhaps influence staging of advanced melanoma.

"This was the first robust assessment to determine the impact of baseline tumor size on clinical endpoints in patients with metastatic melanoma -- in particular -- those receiving MK-3475. Our findings suggest the location of spread is less important than the amount of tumor that is present before treatment," says the study's lead investigator, Richard W. Joseph, M.D., an oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Metastatic melanoma is currently staged primarily according to where the cancer has spread -- Stage IVa if melanoma has spread to distant skin, Stage IVb if the cancer has reached the lungs, and Stage IVc when melanoma has spread to other organs, such as the liver or bones. In general, prognosis for Stage IVa is best and for Stage IVc is worst.

"The traditional staging system does not account for the total volume of disease or baseline tumor burden," Dr. Joseph says. "For instance, a Stage IVb patient with metastases only to the lung would be expected to have a better prognosis than a patient with Stage IVc. However, a patient with a large volume of disease in the lung may, in fact, have a worse prognosis than someone with a small volume of disease in the liver," Dr. Joseph says.

"That is not to say this drug doesn't work in patients with a large amount of disease. However, the efficacy is significantly less than in those with small volume disease," he says. "While this may seem intuitive, this was the first robust analysis of its kind."

The likely reason for this finding is that MK-3475 is a monoclonal antibody that stimulates the body's immune system response to the tumors, Dr. Joseph says. "But the immune system can get overwhelmed when there is too much tumor, and not work as effectively as possible," he says. "Some tumors have evolved to both evade and turn off nearby immune cells. MK-3475 provides a shield for the immune cells so that they can remain active when they reach the tumor."

The drug is also being investigated in lung, bladder and kidney cancer. "The implications of these findings are that perhaps decreasing the baseline tumor size through surgery or other means and then treating with MK-3475 may be a more effective means of inducing long-lasting remissions," he says. Follow-up studies will be necessary to explore this strategy, he adds.

While Dr. Joseph led this study, he is a part of a team of international researchers studying the drug, which he says has offered patients with metastatic melanoma "truly impressive results." In a phase I clinical trial, overall survival one year after treatment was 81 percent.

"In the past, immunotherapies were associated with relatively high toxicities and provided meaningful clinical benefit to the minority of patients. MK-3475 and other drugs like it are revolutionizing the way we treat metastatic melanoma by benefitting a much larger segment of the population as well as having very few side effects," says Dr. Joseph.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Tumor size is defining factor to response from promising melanoma drug." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602155702.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2014, June 2). Tumor size is defining factor to response from promising melanoma drug. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602155702.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Tumor size is defining factor to response from promising melanoma drug." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602155702.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins