Thus far the development of adjuvant therapies in melanoma has suffered greatly from the lack of effective drugs in stage IV melanoma. Chemotherapy, cytokines, vaccines, and combinations of drugs have been used with minimal success. This has led to adjuvant therapies that are not used uniformly or widely because of the rather marginal benefits, as no consistent and clinically significant impact on survival has been demonstrated. A new development for interferon-based adjuvant therapy seems to be the observation that better effects are observed in patients with lower tumor load and in patients with an ulcerated primary melanoma. A benefit for patients with more advanced lymphnodal involvement is quite unsure, clearly requiring new drugs to be explored. A new era in the treatment of melanoma treatment has arrived with the anticytoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (antiCTLA-4) monoclonal antibodies. The randomized trial in advanced metastatic melanoma demonstrated a clear benefit with prolongation of survival. The antiCTLA-4 monoclonal antibody ipilimumab has finally changed the landscape. It is therefore only logical that a worldwide adjuvant trial with ipilimumab versus placebo, the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) 18071, is ongoing in patients with lymph node metastases, and that another adjuvant trial with ipilimumab compared to high-dose interferon (HDI) is planned in the United States. The EORTC 18071 trial will reach full accrual in 2011 and thus results are expected in 2013 or 2014.
ASJC Scopus subject areas