Longer survival with two new melanoma drugs

A NEW era in melanoma treatment is approaching, an Australian expert says following the release of trial data for two life-extending drugs.

Phase III clinical data for ipilimumab and vemurafenib were released last week at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, where Professor Peter Hersey said they were the most significant development in melanoma treatment in 30 years.

“The first approved drug for melanoma was DTIC [dacarbazine] in 1975 and despite many clinical trials there was no further improvement in… management,” said Professor Hersey, from the University of Sydney’s Melanoma Institute Australia.

“In the space of the last two years, we have two agents that are complementary in treating melanoma.”

Both trials, also published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, involved more than 500 patients, including Australians, who had previously untreated metastatic

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