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Antibody therapy lengthens survival of metastatic melanoma patients in large clinical trial
Date:6/7/2010

CHICAGOA therapy that multiplies the effect of a natural disease-fighting antibody has extended the lives of patients with metastatic melanoma in a large, international clinical trial. The study's researchers will report their findings simultaneously at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago and in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Patients in the phase III clinical study who received the drug ipilimumab a monoclonal antibody made by duplicating a single type of human antibody thousands of times over survived for an average of 10 months whether they received the drug alone or in combination with a therapeutic vaccine known as gp100, compared to just over six months for those who received gp100 alone, investigators found. The four-month difference represents a 67 percent increase in survival time between the two groups. And because it occurred in patients who were otherwise out of treatment options all of them having metastatic disease that spread even after earlier treatment the treatment demonstrates the promise of monoclonal antibody treatment for cancer patients not helped by conventional therapies, the study authors say.

F. Stephen Hodi, MD, director of the melanoma treatment center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and co-first author of the paper, says the findings are significant on two levels. "It is the first study to show a survival benefit for metastatic melanoma, which is often a fatal disease, and it is proof that this first-in-class treatment is effective in cancer."

The study (Abstract 4) will be presented in a plenary session at ASCO on Sunday, June 6, 1-4 pm, N Hall, Room B1, and will be posted on the Internet in advance of print publication by the New England Journal of Medicine.

The number of cases of metastatic melanoma considered the most serious form of skin cancer has increased during the past 30 years, and its death rate is rising faster than mo
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Contact: Bill Schaller
william_schaller@dfci.harvard.edu
617-233-5507
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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