Immunotherapy Treatment for Melanoma and Renal Cancer

Jeffrey A. Sosman, MD, discusses how immunotherapies work in patients with melanoma or renal cancer.

Jeffrey A. Sosman, MD, professor of medicine, director, Melanoma and Tumor Immunotherpay Program, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, discusses how immunotherapies work in patients with melanoma or renal cancer.

Sosman says that though response rates to interferon and interleukin-2 are low, these responses are long-lasting. In this scenario, Sosman believes, the patient’s immune response is gaining memory.

Patients with renal cancer that have been treated with interleukin-2 and have gone into a complete remission are less likely to relapse compared to a patient who has been free of disease after a nephrectomy, Sosman says.

The best example of the change in immune response memory, Sosman says, is seen in patients with melanoma who develop vitiligo after responding to treatment. Those responses remain consistent, suggesting that the memory has been induced.

Clinical Pearls

  • Although response rates to interferon and interleukin-2 are low, these responses are long-lasting
  • Patients with renal cancer that have been treated with interleukin-2 and have gone into a complete remission are less likely to relapse compared with a patient who has been free of disease after a nephrectomy
  • The best example of the change in immune response memory is seen in patients with melanoma who develop vitiligo after responding to treatment