Int J Dermatol 2014 Nov 6;53(11):e499-506. Epub 2014 Mar 6.
ACORN Research, LLC, Memphis, TN, USA.
Background: The primary systemic treatments for advanced melanoma have been chemotherapy and immunotherapy. New agents are currently in development.
Objectives: This study aimed to characterize treatment patterns and outcomes across several lines of therapy and to illustrate the treatment landscape prior to the approval of new therapies. The study endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and best overall response within line of therapy.
Methods: A retrospective chart analysis was conducted at 11 community oncology practices in the USA. Data for patients aged ≥18 years and diagnosed with stage IV and/or metastatic melanoma during 2006-2010 were analyzed. Primary endpoints were PFS within line of therapy and OS from the diagnosis of metastasis.
Results: Data on a total of 202 patients were collected. The sample was mostly male (60%) and Caucasian (88%), with a mean age of 61.3 years. Of the 202 patients, 56 (28%) never received any systemic therapy. In the remaining 146 patients, systemic therapies included temozolomide-based regimens (n = 68), platinum-based regimens without temozolomide (n = 16), other regimens (n = 23), and research regimens (n = 39). Of the 146 patients who received systemic therapy, not all did so immediately after the diagnosis of metastasis: 102 (51%) patients did so shortly after diagnosis and before first disease progression, and 44 (22%) did so after first disease progression. Response rates were very low (≤5%) and did not differ across treatment groups. Progressive disease was the most frequent best overall response category identified, with rates of 83, 78, and 89% in the first to third lines of treatment, respectively. In 146 patients receiving first-line systemic therapy, median PFS was 3.25 months. Median OS in the entire sample was 7.66 months.
Conclusions: Findings provided little evidence for any beneficial effects of the treatments available in the timeframe referred to in this study. Few patients (≤5%) responded to treatment, PFS among treated patients was short (3.25 months in first-line treatments, less in later lines), and there was no evidence of a differential effect of treatment regimens on PFS. There was no evidence of shorter survival in patients who never received systemic therapy. The high proportion of patients who did not receive any systemic therapy highlights the lack of effective therapies and underscores the unmet medical need in this patient population.