Patients with advanced metastatic melanoma could live longer if given peptide vaccines after surgery, a new study appearing in the March 15 issue of Cancer has found. The average survival rate of such patients was 4 years, which was significantly more than seen in previous trials.
"Patients with resected Stage IV melanoma can do a lot better than we thought," said lead researcher Dr. Jeffrey S. Weber of the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles. "We would want to do at least that well, if not better, in any future trials." The study followed 41 patients with advanced melanoma. All patients were treated with peptide vaccines after resection of distant sites of disease. It was found that 5-year survival rate was 45 percent, while survival after enrollment in the trial was 3.8 years. Weber and colleagues say that the median survival rate in melanoma is 7 to 9 months. However, the current study shows that it could be improved by using peptide vaccine therapy.