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Standard interferon regimen proves superior in high-risk melanoma patients



Tampa, Fla. — Adjuvant therapy with high-dose interferon induction administered for only four weeks did not show to improve relapse-free survival or overall survival in patients with resectable intermediate and high-risk melanoma, according to the results of a recent study discussed at the 2011 International Melanoma Congress in Tampa, Fla.

"Interferon is the standard adjuvant therapy used for high-risk melanoma patients with node positive disease. Shortening the therapeutic regimen down to just one month, unfortunately, does not show benefit in melanoma patients, underscoring the need for the longer-standing and approved one-year-long interferon treatment regimen," says Sanjiv S. Agarwala, M.D., chief, medical oncology and hematology, St. Luke's Cancer Center, Temple University School of Medicine, Bethlehem, Pa.

According to Dr. Agarwala, the current standard adjuvant therapy for melanoma in the United States is a year-long regimen of interferon comprised of two phases — a four-week, high-dose intravenous induction phase followed by a maintenance phase that is given at 11 months at a lower dose.

In the hopes of potentially reducing the sometimes significant toxicity associated with this treatment regimen as well as offering a more convenient therapeutic protocol for patients, Dr. Agarwala and colleagues conducted a multicenter study to see if just four weeks of high-dose interferon without the standard maintenance dose typically given at 11 months would be sufficient to show benefit in melanoma patients.


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