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Immunotherapy Versus Targeted Therapy for Advanced Melanoma

Adil Daud, MD
Published Online:9:15 PM, Mon December 2, 2019

Adil Daud, MD, a clinical professor in the Department of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology) at the University of California, San Francisco and director of Melanoma Clinical Research at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, compares the roles of immunotherapy versus dabrafenib (Tafinlar) plus trametinib (Mekinist) targeted therapy combinations in patients with advanced melanoma. The latter combination is appropriate and even preventative in select patients, but the decision between checkpoint immune therapy and immunotherapy comes down to what is best for each patient.

There are pros and cons to either treatment, says Daud. On one hand, patients can receive an oral treatment with a greater incidence of adverse events (AEs) that are more reversible. However, patients also have access to a treatment with a lower incidence of AEs that may be long-lasting and irreversible.

The combination of dabrafenib plus trametinib has demonstrated promising 5-year overall survival (OS) data, notes Daud, and immunotherapies have led to some exciting relapse-free survival data that is relatively short. Daud concludes the issue is extrapolating that to 5-year OS data to see how the 2 treatments could compare in patients with melanoma.
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