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Melanoma treatment details. Chemotherapy. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, United States

Survival: 8.7 months
Toxicity Grade: 5
Treatments: Chemotherapy
Country: United States
City/State/Province: Boston, MA
Hospital: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Journal: Link
Date: 12/2008

In this phase 3 study, patients with metastatic melanoma were divided into two separate treatment groups. Group 1 included 195 patients with a median age of 50.5 years and 75% male. Group 2 consisted of 200 patients with a median age of 50.7 years and 67% male.

Patients in group 1 were given the chemotherapy agents cisplatin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine.

Patients in group 2 were given these same chemotherapy agents as well as the immunotherapy agents interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon alpha (IFN-a), which help the body’s immune system fight cancer.

Three treatment-related deaths due to heart attack, hypotension, and infection were reported for group 1. Other toxicities of grade 3 or worse included leucopenia (28% of patients), granulocytopenia (50%), and nausea (11%).

In group 2, two treatment-related deaths due to infection and kidney failure were reported. Other grade 3 or worse toxicities included leucopenia (78% of patients), granulocytopenia (46%), and anemia (24%).

The reported median overall survival for group 1 was 8.7 months.

For group 2, the median overall survival was 9.0 months.

Some of the authors of this study receive funding from the pharmaceutical companies Schering-Plough and Chiron/Novartis.

Correspondence: Dr. Michael B. Atkins; email:

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