Metastatic melanoma maintains a growing presence around the world, and a steady disregard for treatment efforts. But two novel drugs presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, on Sunday, suggest that medicine might finally be ready to fight back against the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Skin Cancer (Nonmelanoma)
Scientists at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research have identified that squamous cell carcinomas can originate from hair follicle stem cells.
Study pinpoints factors that put post-transplant patients at risk for non-melanoma skin cancers.
Prepared by The Skin Cancer Foundation, www.skincancer.org,
and the American Academy of Dermatology
Concept and photographs:
The Skin Cancer Foundation, www.skincancer.org
The imaging technique has the potential to measure the extent and depth of skin lesions.
A virus discovered last year in a rare form of skin cancer has also been found in people with the second most common form of skin cancer among Americans, according to researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center–James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. Their findings were published online June 25, 2009, by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
Melanoma affects persons of all ages, causing more years of lost life than any other cancer except leukemia. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 68,720 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the US in 2009, with more than 8,650 deaths, and an estimated lifetime risk of 1 in 50 for whites, 1 in 200 for Hispanics, and 1 in 1,000 for blacks.
Annually, about 8,000 patients are found to have metastatic melanoma presenting as recurrence of an earlier primary melanoma, and this number closely approximates the annual number of deaths from the disease. This statistic illustrates the lack of progress that has been made in the treatment of stage IV melanoma over the past several decades.
The article by Bhatia and colleagues focuses on the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma using standard therapies, but it also includes a brief outline of recent treatment approaches using investigational agents. In addition, the authors describe prognostic factors for metastatic melanoma, highlighting the impact of the extent of tumor and the site of metastasis (eg, soft-tissue vs visceral metastases) on survival.