At the largest conference on cancer, experts from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI, USA) and the Royal Marsden Hospital (United Kingdom) reported this. The results obtained by these scientists give hope for a cure to more than 14,500 patients. That's the number of people in the UK who hear a terrible diagnosis every year - melanoma.
Melanoma, as a rule, leaves only a few months of life after diagnosis. But within the framework of the study, when doctors simultaneously used two drugs to treat 142 melanoma patients, 69% of patients could live about two years. To the surprise of scientists, 22% of patients at the end of the course disappeared malignant tumor.
Scientists note that both drugs used are effective against cancer and use the capabilities of their own human immune system, however, only about half of the patients respond positively to one of the two drugs.
Dr. James Larkin of Royal Marsden Hospital, who treated patients in the study, noted that both Nivolumab and Ipilimumab increased life expectancy after melanoma detection, but their combination works much more efficiently.
Dr. Stephen Hodi of the Dana-Farber Cancer Research Institute, who conducted the study, said that these data contribute to an understanding of aggressive cancer and are promising news for patients with different stages of melanoma.
Despite the fact that during the "double attack" the combination of these drugs is much more effective, an international team of researchers who presented their findings at the meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in New Orleans warned that a double dose also increases the risk of side effects.
According to Prof Richard Marais, an expert on skin cancer from Cancer Research UK, these amazing results show that treating patients with melanoma with a combination of immunotherapy medications can help a large number of people prolong their life. However, he stresses that because of the high risk of serious side effects during taking two drugs, it is required to determine which patients are most likely to receive positive dynamics during treatment with a combination of agents, and in which the risks of undesirable effects are high. This will help doctors provide each patient with the right treatment.