Early Detection and Surgery for Melanoma in Lymph Nodes May Increase Survival
For some melanoma patients, detecting the cancer in the lymph nodes and removing the nodes early in treatment may reduce recurrences and help patients live longer, researchers said while presenting preliminary findings from a clinical trial at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., May 13th-17th.
A simple outpatient procedure called a sentinel node biopsy (SNB), which is used to determine a patient's prognosis, can detect the cancer's spread before clinical signs appear, they said.
Melanoma is the most deadly of skin cancers, and it spreads to lymph nodes in about 20 percent of cases. Several previous trials have failed to show that the early detection of affected nodes and surgery can extend a patient's life. Read more
For Clinical Oncology, Not Just Evolution but a Revolution
As many of the impressive research findings presented at the ASCO annual meeting over the past 5 days demonstrate, we are now deftly applying all that we have learned about the complex biology and molecular underpinnings of cancer. New, targeted agents are showing success against a growing number of cancers, as are combinations of existing therapies with targeted agents and optimized use of standard therapies - all to the benefit of patients.
When such results are combined with those from studies elucidating biological and molecular factors that can guide treatment, we have convincing evidence that clinical oncology is in the midst of a revolution - a dramatic shift that is expanding the clinical oncologist's role from care provider to clinical scientist.
It's important to consider this revolution, however, in the context of another significant event on the horizon: the revamping of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) clinical trials program. During the ASCO meeting, several members of the NCI Clinical Trials Working Group (CTWG) presented a preview of the group's forthcoming recommendations for changing the clinical trials program in a way that will deliver on the promise of everything we have accomplished and learned over the past 3 decades. Read more