New data reveals long-term benefit of adjuvant therapy for Stage III melanoma.

Research reveals long-term benefit of adjuvant therapy for Stage III melanoma

3 September 2020

Updated results published today in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine herald the long-term effectiveness of a targeted combination drug therapy given after surgery in patients with high risk early melanoma.

The international study reports that in patients with Stage III BRAF-positive melanoma who were treated with adjuvant targeted therapy, there can be a long-lasting benefit from the treatment in preventing the disease from recurring.

In the Phase III trial, known as COMBI-AD, patients were treated with either a combination of a BRAF inhibitor (dabrafenib) and a MEK inhibitor (trametinib) or placebo given after surgery. The trial demonstrated early promising results after 12 months of treatment and significantly improved recurrence-free survival.

This latest publication revealed the effects of treatment have continued to be sustained after five years. In patients who received the combination therapy, 52% had no disease recurrence after five years. By comparison, only 36% of those patients on placebo – which was the standard of care at the time - had no disease recurrence during this time.

“Our research has demonstrated that many patients have long-term benefit on adjuvant combination targeted therapy, and it may be curative in most of those patients,” says co-senior author and Co-Medical Director of Melanoma Institute Australia Professor Georgina Long AO.

The study shows that adjvuant targeted therapy for patients with the BRAF mutation prevents recurrence in high-risk stage III melanoma.

“Melanoma Institute Australia is working closely with our international collaborators to take major steps forward in cancer treatment,” says Professor Long. “These results take us even closer to reaching our goal of zero deaths from melanoma this decade.”


Journal publication:

Reinhard Dummer, M.D., Axel Hauschild, M.D.,Mario Santinami, M.D., Victoria Atkinson, M.D., Mario Mandalà, M.D., John M. Kirkwood, M.D., Vanna Chiarion Sileni, M.D., James Larkin, M.D., Ph.D., Marta Nyakas, M.D., Caroline Dutriaux, M.D., Andrew Haydon, M.B., B.S., Ph.D., Caroline Robert, M.D., Ph.D., Laurent Mortier, M.D., Ph.D., Jacob Schachter, .D., Thierry Lesimple, M.D., Ruth Plummer, M.D., Kohinoor Dasgupta, Ph.D., Eduard Gasal, M.D., Monique Tan, M.D., Georgina V. Long, M.B., B.S., Ph.D., and Dirk Schadendorf, M.D.

(2020) Five-Year Relapse-Free Survival With Adjuvant Dabrafenib Plus Trametinib in Stage III BRAF-Mutant Melanoma. NEJM. 

Read online here