John A. Thompson, MD, co-director of the Melanoma Clinic at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, highlighted the major points of his melanoma talk at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s 21st Annual Meeting, including the FDA approval of new drugs and the development of new viral therapies.
Transcript (slightly modified) What are some of the key takeaways from your session “Major Changes in Systemic Therapy for Advanced Melanoma” at the NCCN Annual Meeting?
The area of melanoma has been changing very rapidly and just in the past year a lot has changed. Today I provided updates with longer follow-up to some of the studies of immune checkpoint therapy for melanoma.
I highlighted the recent FDA approval of the combination of ipilimumab and nivolumab, which yields a higher response rate than either agent alone. Unfortunately, a higher toxicity rate also, but we discussed how the toxicity is identified and treated.
I talked about a new form of immunotherapy, which is a first example of oncolytic viral therapy using the agent T-VEC. This is a genetically modified virus that is injected into melanoma tumors and causes death of some of the melanoma cells and also triggers an immune response to the melanoma. So that’s an interesting and new form of immunotherapy.
And then I also updated the results with the molecularly targeted therapies, that is drugs that target mutations in BRAF.