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Barwon Health Cancer Services Trials Unit sees reduction in cancer return after new adjuvant therapy

Friday, 30 September 2022

Barwon Health Cancer Services Trials Unit (CSTU) have taken part in a successful clinical trial of an immunotherapy agent (Opdivo) that saw a significant reduction in the return of melanoma after its surgical removal.

Stage II melanoma is a skin cancer that extends beyond the very outer layer of skin into the thicker layer of the skin, but has not spread to other parts of the body. These melanomas are treated by surgical removal, however in some cases microscopic cancer cells remain in the body after the surgery, causing a higher risk of the melanoma returning.Anna Lomax2

To try and reduce this risk, adjuvant (additional) therapies are given to patients after surgery to stimulate the body’s immune system to fight any remaining cancer cells.

Dr Anna Lomax (pictured) and the CSTU team were key investigators in the global phase 3 trial of adjuvant Opdivo, developed by Bristol Myers Squibb. The trial found that Opdivo as an adjuvant therapy in patients with completely removed stage IIB/C melanoma demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically meaningful benefit in recurrence-free survival.

“Helping to prevent cancer recurrence is vital. Our aim is to provide opportunities to access therapies in the clinical trial setting at Barwon Health that may benefit our patients. We sincerely thank our participants in the study,” said Dr Lomax.

The Barwon Health CSTU is currently involved in 40 active trials featuring 150 patients, with over 20 more now open for recruitment and more to commence soon. These trials span a range of cancer types including lymphoma, leukaemia, myeloma, breast, melanoma, lung, prostate, and urology. To find out more about the CSTU and other research at Barwon Health, please click here.