Matthew Block, MD, PhD
Tina Hieken, MD
MAYO CLINIC physicians Matthew Block, MD, PhD, and Tina Hieken, MD, have received a Stand up to Cancer (SU2C) Catalyst Award to fund melanoma research and a neoadjuvant clinical trial.
“This study, “Neoactivate,” will test two novel approaches to the treatment of patients with high-risk, stage 3 melanoma guided by specific mutations within the melanoma,” explained Dr. Hieken. “Two combinations of immunotherapy and targeted therapy will be given before surgery, and all patients will receive immunotherapy after surgery.”
PATIENTS PARTICIPATING in the clinical trial will receive the combination of cobimetinib (Cotellic) and atezolizumab (Tecentriq) or the combination of vemurafenib (Zelboraf), cobimetinib, and atezolizumab followed by surgery and adjuvant treatment with atezolizumab.
“Our study will look at how effective these drug therapies are when given prior to and after surgery in treating patients with high-risk, stage 3 melanoma,” noted Dr. Block. “We also will evaluate key biomarkers of treatment response and patient outcomes.”
Drs. Block and Hieken say they hope to learn whether the combination of targeted therapy and immunotherapy before surgery, and immunotherapy after surgery works better than standard adjuvant therapy for treating patients with high-risk, stage III melanoma. They also plan to identify biomarkers that may predict treatment response. ■