Patients With Stage 3 Melanoma Should Discuss Adjuvant Therapy

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Patients with resectable stage 3 melanoma should talk about pretreatment therapy with their cancer care teams, an expert said.

Patients with resectable stage 3 melanoma should be talking with their care teams about presurgical (adjuvant) therapy, according to Dr. Georgina V. Long.

“[For] any patient who comes in with resectable stage 3 melanoma that's clinically detectable, They need to be talking to their physicians, their doctors, about neoadjuvant treatment — particularly neoadjuvant immunotherapy,” Long said during an interview at the 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

Long is the chair of melanoma medical oncology and translational research, at The University of Sydney in Australia. At the 2024 ASCO meeting, she presented long-term follow-up data from the phase 3 COMBI-AD trial. The trial analyzed Tafinlar (dabrafenib) plus Mekinist (trametinib) for this patient population, and showed that at the eight-year mark, 71% of patients on the drug duo were still alive, compared to 65% who were given a placebo.

Further, Tafinlar plus Mekinist showed no new safety concerns that were not previously reported, and there were no irreversible side effects.

“The great thing about [Tafinlar] and [Mekinist] is the toxicities are reversible,” Long said.

Tafinlar and Mekinist are targeted therapies that work by blocking certain proteins that are essential in cancer cell growth, according to the Melanoma Research Alliance. The drug combination was approved in April 2018 based on earlier findings from the COMBI-AD trial.

Transcript:

[For] any patient who comes in with resectable stage 3 melanoma that's clinically detectable, They need to be talking to their physicians, their doctors, about neoadjuvant treatment — particularly neoadjuvant immunotherapy.

Patients with lower risk or not clinically detectable stage 3 melanoma then they need to discuss with their physicians, adjuvant treatment and that is where the discussion of the [Tafinlar] and [Mekinist] versus the other available adjuvant treatments occurred. The great thing about [Tafinlar] and [Mekinist] is the toxicities are reversible.

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