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skin cancer
issues in oncology
issues in oncology

Study Shows Lack of RNA Editing Leads to Melanoma Growth and Metastasis

In a new study reported by Shoshan et al in Nature Cell Biology, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center established a link between melanoma and lack of RNA editing, which leads to tumor growth and progression through manipulation of proteins. Study Findings Study lead...

skin cancer

FDA Grants Cobimetinib Priority Review for Use in Combination With Vemurafenib in Advanced Melanoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted and granted Priority Review for Genentech’s New Drug Application (NDA) for cobimetinib in combination with vemurafenib (Zelboraf) for the treatment of people with BRAF V600 mutation–positive advanced melanoma. The FDA will make a...

skin cancer

Vitiligo Predicts Improved Survival in Patients Receiving Immunotherapy for Stage III or IV Melanoma

In a systematic review and meta-analysis reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Teulings et al found that development of vitiligo in patients receiving immunotherapy for stage III or IV melanoma was a significant predictor of improved progression-free and overall survival. The study...

skin cancer
issues in oncology

Somatic Tumor Neoepitopes as Basis for Response to CTLA-4 Inhibition in Melanoma

The molecular determinants of benefit from immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment have not been characterized. In a study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, Snyder et al found that benefit of the anti–cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) antibodies ipilimumab (Yervoy) and...

skin cancer

FDA Approves Nivolumab for Advanced Melanoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today granted accelerated approval to nivolumab (Opdivo) for patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma who no longer respond to other drugs. Nivolumab, a PD-1 inhibitor, is intended for patients who have been previously treated with ipilimumab...

skin cancer

Telomere Length Genes Are Associated With Melanoma Risk

Longer telomeres have been associated with increased risk of melanoma. In a GenoMEL Consortium genome-wide association study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Iles et al found that several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously associated with leukocyte telomere...

skin cancer

Improved Overall Survival in Metastatic Melanoma With First-Line Dabrafenib Plus Trametinib

In a phase III study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, Robert et al found that the combination of the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib (Tafinlar) plus the MEK inhibitor trametinib (Mekinist) significantly improved overall survival compared with the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib (Zelboraf) in...

skin cancer

Nivolumab Improves Overall and Progression-Free Survival vs Dacarbazine in Previously Untreated Advanced Melanoma Without BRAF Mutation

In a phase III trial reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, Robert et al found that the PD-1 immune-checkpoint–inhibitor antibody nivolumab significantly increased overall survival, progression-free survival, and objective response rate compared with dacarbazine in patients with...

skin cancer

Interactions Between Genetic Variants and Sun Behaviors May Influence Future Melanoma Risk

The combination of different patterns of sun exposure experienced by children and biomarkers of melanoma risk, such as the number of freckles or moles that develop as a result, may play a large role in future melanoma risk, a study investigating gene and environmental interactions has found....

skin cancer

Briefer Biochemotherapy Yields Better Relapse-Free Survival but Greater Toxicity vs 1-Year High-Dose Interferon in High-Risk Melanoma

In a phase III trial (Southwest Oncology Group Intergroup S0008) reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Flaherty et al found that a shorter course of biochemotherapy consisting of cisplatin, vinblastine, dacarbazine, interleukin-2, and interferon alfa-2b produced better relapse-free...

head and neck cancer
skin cancer

Propensity Score–Matching Analysis Shows No Disease-Specific Survival Benefit of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy vs Observation in Head/Neck Melanoma

In a Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database analysis reported in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Sperry et al found that sentinel lymph node biopsy was not associated with improved disease-specific survival in propensity score–matched patients with head and...

skin cancer

Ipilimumab/Sargramostim Improves Overall Survival vs Ipilimumab Alone in Patients With Advanced Metastatic Melanoma

A randomized clinical trial of patients with advanced metastatic melanoma treated with ipilimumab (Yervoy), an immune checkpoint inhibitor, in combination with sargramostim (Leukine), an immune stimulant, vs ipilimumab alone, has found a 1-year survival rate of 68.9% vs 52.9% in the ipilimumab-only ...

skin cancer

BRAF Inhibitor Dabrafenib Plus MEK Inhibitor Trametinib Improves Outcomes vs Dabrafenib Alone in Previously Untreated BRAF-Mutant Advanced Melanoma

In a phase III trial reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, Long and colleagues found that the combination of the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and the MEK inhibitor trametinib (Mekinist) improved response rate and progression-free survival compared with dabrafenib alone in...

skin cancer

BRAF Inhibitor Vemurafenib Plus MEK inhibitor Cobimetinib vs Vemurafenib Alone in Previously Untreated BRAF-Mutant Advanced Melanoma

In a phase III trial reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, Larkin and colleagues found that the combination of the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib (Zelboraf) and the MEK inhibitor cobimetinib improved response rate and progression-free survival compared with vemurafenib alone in...

breast cancer
skin cancer

FDA Approves Expanded Use of Tilmanocept for Lymphatic Mapping in Solid Tumors

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Supplemental New Drug Application for the expanded use of technetium 99m tilmanocept (Lymphoseek Injection) for lymphatic mapping in solid tumors and for adding sentinel lymph node detection for breast cancer and melanoma to the approved...

skin cancer

Anti–PD-1 Antibody Pembrolizumab Is Active in Ipilimumab-Refractory Advanced Melanoma

As reported in The Lancet by Robert et al, the anti–programmed-death receptor-1 (PD-1) antibody pembrolizumab (Keytruda) produced durable responses in a phase I trial in patients with ipilimumab (Yervoy)-refractory melanoma. The study provided the basis for the recent accelerated approval of...

skin cancer

After Adjustment for Stage at Diagnosis, No Difference Evident in Melanoma-Specific Mortality Between Amelanotic and Pigmented Melanomas

In a large international population-based study reported in JAMA Dermatology, Thomas et al found that increased risk of melanoma-related mortality for patients with amelanotic vs those with pigmented melanomas was no longer evident after adjustment for tumor stage at diagnosis. The study involved...

skin cancer

TERT Promoter Mutation Associated With Reduced Survival in Nonacral Cutaneous Melanoma

TERT promoter mutations have been found to occur at high frequency in cutaneous melanoma tumor samples, exhibit a UV-signature, and lead to increased TERT gene expression. In a study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Griewank et al found that TERT promoter mutation was...

skin cancer

ESMO 2014: Nivolumab Shows Signs of Superior Response Rate Compared to Standard Chemotherapy in Advanced Melanoma

The monoclonal antibody nivolumab achieved superior response rates and a longer duration of response than standard chemotherapy in patients whose melanoma has progressed after treatment with ipilimumab (Yervoy), according to preliminary data from a phase III trial presented at the ESMO 2014...

skin cancer

ESMO 2014: BRAF/MEK Inhibitor Combinations Impressive in Melanoma Trials

For advanced/metastatic melanoma patients with BRAF mutations, two pathway inhibitors are much better than one, according to studies presented at the ESMO 2014 Congress that demonstrated improved progression-free and overall survival for regimens combining a BRAF inhibitor with an inhibitor of the...

skin cancer

Patient Exhibits Involution of Eruptive Melanocytic Nevi on Combination BRAF and MEK Inhibitor Therapy

Eruptive melanocytic nevi are observed in patients receiving the multikinase inhibitor sorafenib (Nexavar) and the selective BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib (Zelboraf). In a case reported in JAMA Dermatology, Shen et al found that the addition of the MEK inhibitor cobimetinib to vemurafenib in a woman...

skin cancer

Increased Risk of Melanoma in Flight-Based Occupations

Airline pilots and cabin crew are occupationally exposed to higher levels of cosmic and ultraviolet radiation. In a meta-analysis reported in JAMA Dermatology, Sanlorenzo et al found that these people have a more than twofold greater risk of melanoma compared with the general population. Increased ...

skin cancer

FDA Approves Pembrolizumab for Advanced Melanoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today granted accelerated approval to the anti–PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for the treatment of patients with advanced or unresectable melanoma who are no longer responding to other drugs. Pembrolizumab is intended for use following...

skin cancer

Melanoma With High Mitotic Rate Is Associated With Aggressive Histologic Features and Atypical Presentation

High mitotic rate in primary melanomas appears to be an independent predictor of poorer survival. In a single-institution study reported in JAMA Dermatology, Shen et al found that high mitotic rate primary melanoma is associated with male sex, older age, amelanosis, and several aggressive...

skin cancer

Brachytherapy With Ruthenium-106 Found to Be Safe and Effective in Patients With Uveal Melanoma

Approximately half of all patients with posterior uveal melanoma develop metastatic liver disease within 15 years. Although brachytherapy utilizing current isotopes may be hindered by associated toxicities, the isotope ruthenium-106 has been reintroduced into the U.S. market. In a study published...

skin cancer

Increasing Incidence of Merkel Cell Carcinoma in Queensland, Australia

In a study reported in JAMA Dermatology, Youlden et al found that the incidence of Merkel cell carcinoma in Queensland, Australia, a known high-risk area, increased by 2.6% annually between 1993 and 2010. Five-year relative survival was 41%, with significantly better survival found in patients aged ...

skin cancer
skin cancer

Single-Institution Study Shows No Correlation of Primary Melanoma Regression With Sentinel Node Status

In a single-institution study reported in JAMA Dermatology, Botella-Estrada et al found that regression of primary melanomas is not associated with sentinel node status. Study Details The retrospective study involved patients with melanomas with Breslow thickness > 0.75 mm undergoing sentinel...

skin cancer

Promising Phase Ib Findings With Combined BRAF and MEK Inhibition With Vemurafenib and Cobimetinib in Advanced BRAF V600–Mutant Melanoma

In a phase Ib study reported in The Lancet Oncology, Ribas et al found that the combination of the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib (Zelboraf) and the MEK inhibitor cobimetinib was safe and active in the treatment of advanced BRAF V600–mutant melanoma. Preclinical studies have shown that the...

skin cancer

Anti–PD-1 Antibody Pembrolizumab Shows Activity and Good Tolerability in Ipilimumab-Refractory Advanced Melanoma

As reported in The Lancet by Robert et al, the anti–programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) antibody pembrolizumab produced responses and was well tolerated at two dose levels in an expansion cohort of a phase I trial in patients with ipilimumab (Yervoy)-refractory advanced melanoma. In this...

skin cancer

Lymphovascular Invasion and Regression Identified as Independent Prognostic Factors in Thin Melanoma

In a European study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Maurichi et al identified lymphovascular invasion and regression as important prognostic factors in thin melanoma. They developed a nomogram including age, mitotic rate, ulceration, lymphovascular invasion, regression, and sentinel...

skin cancer
skin cancer
issues in oncology

Total-Body Photography and Sequential Digital Dermoscopy Assist in Early Diagnosis of Primary Melanoma in High-Risk Individuals

In a study intended to help define optimal screening in individuals at high risk of melanoma, Moloney et al evaluated use of full-body examinations every 6 months along with dermoscopy and total-body photography for all patients and sequential digital dermoscopy imaging as indicated. The study,...

skin cancer

Surgical Treatment for Metastatic Melanoma of the Liver Increases Overall Survival in Select Group of Patients

Surgical resection markedly improved survival among metastatic melanoma patients whose disease is isolated to a few areas in the liver, according to new study findings published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. These results mark a departure for melanoma, which is most often...

skin cancer
issues in oncology

New Screening Approach Identifies Cancer Mutations in Melanoma That May Lead to More Effective Immunotherapies

Although cancer immunotherapy with adoptive transfer of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes represents an effective treatment for patients with metastatic melanoma, the antigen targets recognized by these effective tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes remain unclear. According to a new study, a novel...

skin cancer

Phase II Trial Shows Improved Progression-Free Survival but Greater Toxicity With Selumetinib vs Chemotherapy in Metastatic Uveal Melanoma

Oncogenic mutations in GNAQ and GNA11, resulting in MAPK pathway activation, are observed in > 80% of uveal melanomas. In a phase II trial reported in JAMA, Carvajal et al found that treatment with the MEK1/MEK2 inhibitor selumetinib significantly prolonged progression-free survival vs...

colorectal cancer
skin cancer

Study Finds Anorectal Melanoma Is Diagnosed at Later Stages and Is Often Misdiagnosed

Anorectal melanoma is a rare malignant neoplasm that has a variable natural history and nonspecific presentation. A review by Hicks et al of 18 patients treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital between October 1991 and August 2012, finds that the cancer tends to be diagnosed at stage II or later and is...

skin cancer

ASCO 2014: Ipilimumab/Nivolumab Combination Achieves Long-Term Survival for Patients With Advanced Melanoma

Concurrent treatment with ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab resulted in a 2-year survival rate of 79% for patients with advanced melanoma. “While this is a small trial, that is very impressive 2-year survival data,” noted Mario Sznol, MD, at a press briefing on progress in immunotherapy ...

skin cancer

ASCO 2014: PD-1–Targeting Antibody Pembrolizumab Produces Long-Term Responses in Patients With Metastatic Melanoma

Findings from a large phase I study of 411 patients with advanced melanoma show that the PD-1–targeting antibody pembrolizumab (MK-3475) produced responses in 34% of patients, including 28% of patients whose disease progressed on prior treatment with ipilimumab (Yervoy). Among those who...

skin cancer

ASCO 2014: Adjuvant Ipilimumab Significantly Improves Recurrence-Free Survival in Patients With High-Risk Stage III Melanoma

Adjuvant therapy with ipilimumab (Yervoy) for patients with high-risk stage III melanoma significantly improved recurrence-free survival, the primary endpoint of the phase III EORTC 18071/CA 184-029 study. Patients randomly assigned to receive ipilimumab had a 9-month absolute improvement in...

skin cancer
skin cancer

Five or More Blistering Sunburns in Early Life May Raise Melanoma Risk by 80%

According to a large study of Caucasian women investigating chronic sun exposure over long durations in adulthood and sun exposure in early life, those who had at least five blistering sunburns when they were 15 to 20 years old had a 68% increased risk for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell...

skin cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Within Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma During Vismodegib Treatment: Importance of Serial Biopsy

In a report in JAMA Dermatology, Zhu et al discuss two cases in which clinically significant squamous cell carcinoma was found within the tumor bed of locally advanced basal cell carcinoma during vismodegib (Erivedge) treatment for basal cell carcinoma. In one, basal cell carcinoma tumor shrinkage...

skin cancer

Swedish Men Living Alone Have Later Stage at Diagnosis and Worse Survival in Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma

In a population-based study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Eriksson et al found that Swedish men with cutaneous malignant melanoma have more advanced stage at diagnosis and worse disease-specific survival if they live alone. Women living alone did not have worse disease-specific...

skin cancer

Sildenafil Use May Be Associated With Increased Risk of Melanoma

In a prospective cohort study reported in JAMA Internal Medicine, Li et al found that recent and ever use of sildenafil for erectile dysfunction was associated with increased risk of subsequent melanoma, but not squamous cell or basal cell carcinoma. The RAS/RAF/MAPK and ERK kinase/ERK cascade is...

skin cancer

Interim Analysis of Phase III AVAST-M Trial Shows No Overall Survival Benefit of Adjuvant Bevacizumab vs Observation in High-Risk Melanoma

Bevacizumab has exhibited limited activity in advanced melanoma. In an interim analysis of the open-label phase III AVAST-M trial reported in The Lancet Oncology, Corrie et al found that adjuvant bevacizumab (Avastin) in patients with resected melanoma at high risk of recurrence has thus far...

skin cancer
head and neck cancer
skin cancer

Total Parotidectomy May Benefit Patients With Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma or Malignant Melanoma With Metastasis to the Parotid Superficial Lobe

The optimal extent of surgical resection is unclear in patients with parotid superficial lobe lymph node metastasis from cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. In a single-institution retrospective review reported in JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, Thom et al found...

skin cancer

Phase I Trial of New Antibody-Drug Conjugate Shows Promise Against All Forms of Melanoma

A small clinical study of a new investigational antibody-drug conjugate called DEDN6526A in patients with metastatic or unresectable cutaneous, mucosal, or ocular melanoma has found the drug to be safe and tolerable and demonstrated early evidence of antitumor activity. The findings were presented...

issues in oncology
skin cancer

Biomarker Identifies Melanoma Patients Who May Respond to Immunotherapy MK-3475

Among melanoma patients treated with the PD-1 inhibitor MK-3475, those whose tumors had the protein PD-L1 had better immune responses and higher survival rates, according to results presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2014 in San Diego. When the protein...

skin cancer
head and neck cancer

Cutaneous Melanoma and Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma: Mutual Increased Risk

In a study reported in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Oakley et al found that papillary thyroid cancer increases the risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma and vice versa. In addition, the investigators found that patients with both cancers have a high frequency of BRAF V600E mutation. ...

skin cancer
kidney cancer

Antibody Could Be Used to Target Tumor-Enhancing Protein, Study Shows

In a phase I study published in PLOS ONE, treating patients with advanced melanoma and kidney cancer with an antibody that targets a tumor-enhancing protein was found to have an acceptable safety profile and showed preliminary evidence of antitumor activity. The findings by Morris et al shed light...

skin cancer

Durable Tumor Responses With Nivolumab in Long-Term Follow-up of Patients With Advanced Melanoma

In a dose-escalation, cohort expansion study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Topalian et al found that treatment with the PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab produced durable responses in patients with advanced melanoma. Long-term follow-up also showed promising survival rates...

skin cancer

Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Linked to Other Cancers, Especially in Young Survivors

A study by Ong et al has found that people who had nonmelanoma skin cancer were at an increased risk for subsequently developing melanoma and a spectrum of 29 other cancer types. The risk was especially high among people who develop nonmelanoma skin cancer before the age of 25. The findings are...

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