Hepatitis C therapy increases relapse-free survival in melanoma patients

July 3, 2007

Rotterdam, Netherlands - A new study suggests that long-term treatment with pegylated interferon alfa-2b in stage III melanoma has a significant impact on relapse-free survival (RFS), PRNewswire reports.

Rotterdam, Netherlands - A new study suggests that long-term treatment with pegylated interferon alfa-2b in stage III melanoma has a significant impact on relapse-free survival (RFS), PRNewswire reports.

The study, led by the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), is the largest adjuvant trial ever conducted in patients with stage III melanoma.

The researchers enrolled 1,256 patients with stage III melanoma. Participants were given pegylated interferon alfa-2b at a dose of 6 microgram/kg a week for an eight-week period, followed by 3 microgram/kg a week in the maintenance phase, for a total treatment duration of five years. Median RFS was 34.8 months in the pegylated interferon alfa-2b group, as compared with 25.5 months in the observational group. Median distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) was 45.6 months in subjects receiving pegylated interferon alfa-2b therapy versus 36.1 months in observational group.

The response to therapy appeared to be most pronounced in a subgroup of subjects with only microscopic nodal involvement.

The study notes that pegylated interferon alfa-2b is not approved in the United States for treatment of melanoma, though it is indicated for use alone or with ribavirin for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in patients with compensated liver disease who have not been previously treated with interferon alpha and who are at least 18 years of age.