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Moffitt Cancer Center melanoma expert reviews unique adverse events with newly approved drug
Date:8/21/2012

An internationally recognized melanoma researcher at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues at the University of Kiel in Germany, including Axel Hauschild, M.D. and Katharina C. Khler, M.D., have published an article in the current issue of The Journal of Clinical Oncology that describes immune-related adverse events for patients receiving either tremelimumab or ipilimumab, the latter a drug approved last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating metastatic melanoma and other cancers.

Both drugs are anti-CTLA-antibodies with similar mechanisms of action, but manufactured by different companies. Ipilimumab is an immunoglobulin G1 with a plasma half-life of 12-14 days. Tremelimumab is an immunoglobulin G2 with a plasma half-life of 22 days. Both have been extensively tested in metastatic melanoma and ipilimumab has been approved for use in patients with metastatic melanoma.

"During treatment with ipilimumab and tremelimumab, a unique set of adverse events may occur called 'immune-related adverse events,' or irAEs," said study lead author Jeffery S. Weber, M.D., Ph.D., director of Moffitt's Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center of Excellence. "These irAEs may include colitis, hepatitis, pancreatitis, lymphadenopathy, neuropathies and nephritis."

According to Weber, appropriate management of these side effects requires the cooperation of a multidisciplinary physician-led team that includes nurse practitioners and infusion nurses. Additionally, he recommends that specialists, including gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, hepatologists, dermatologists and surgeons, need education on managing these symptoms. Early recognition of irAEs and initiation of treatment are crucial, said Weber and his colleagues.

In their review of studies on the drugs' adverse effects, the researchers also found that irAEs correlated with treatment response in some studies. The reduction in tumor burden came in f
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Contact: Kim Polacek
kim.polacek@moffitt.org
813-745-7408
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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