Consensus statement released for treating melanoma patients with immunotherapy


  • Carrie Printz

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) has published the first evidence-based consensus statement on tumor immunotherapy for treating patients with melanoma, providing patients and physicians evidence-based recommendations for the use of different immunotherapies, including interferon-a2, pegylated interferon, interleukin-2 (IL-2) and ipilimumab.[1]

Michael Atkins, MD, of the Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, DC, and coauthor of the article, says that cancer immunotherapy is underused, and many patients who might benefit from it are not given the opportunity. The goal of these guidelines is to change that scenario and provide a comprehensive resource on how and when immunotherapy should be used for patients with melanoma.

Prior to the publication of this consensus statement and its evidence-based guidelines, both obstacles and discord among practicing oncologists made the use of immunotherapy in melanoma patients more difficult. According to corresponding author Howard Kaufman, MD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, the statement addresses knowledge gaps and develops guiding principles for the treatment's use. The authors made recommendations particularly in areas where data were weak or missing.

The consensus statement was completed by the SITC Immunotherapy Guideline Task Force, which was established in 2010 and included more than 30 experts in the melanoma field. As cancer immunotherapy continues to rapidly evolve, the task force will update its statement when new findings and results from clinical trials or the approval of drugs from the US Food and Drug Administration are released.

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