Using anti-PD-1 therapy pre-surgery in melanoma patients can identify those most likely to benefit
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CHICAGO – Checkpoint inhibitors that block the protein PD-1 are used in melanoma patients after they’ve had surgery to remove their cancer, but not all patients benefit from the immunotherapy. Now a new study from the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania found that shifting use of anti-PD-1 drugs to before surgery may provide clues about which patients will benefit and which may be at increased risk for recurrence. Researchers will present their data in a symposium at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in Chicago on Tuesday (Presentation #CT181).

“Building on our previous research that shows the effect of anti-PD-1 therapy can be seen in patients’ blood as early as three weeks after treatment, we gave patients a single dose before surgery, and then looked for anti-tumor activity in the resected tumor three weeks later,” said the study’s lead author Alexander C. Huang, MD, an instructor of Hematology-Oncology in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. Tara C. Mitchell, MD, an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology at Penn, is the study’s senior author.

Melanoma is a rare form of skin cancer, but it accounts for a large number of skin cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates

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