Researchers at Melanoma Institute Australia have reported positive results from two clinical trials, COMBI-AD and CheckMate 238, conducted to stop and prevent melanoma progression.

The international trials demonstrated successful prevention of the spread of the skin cancer in stage III patients whose tumours were removed surgically and had a high risk of disease progression.

Melanoma Institute Australia conjoint medical director professor Georgina Long said: “These results will change the way we treat melanoma patients, as well as their quality of life.

“Until now, stage III melanoma patients who have had their tumours surgically removed have simply had to play the waiting game, to see if their melanoma would metastasise or spread.

“Results from these clinical trials suggest we can stop the disease in its tracks, effectively preventing it from spreading and saving lives.”

"Results from these clinical trials suggest we can stop the disease in its tracks, effectively preventing it from spreading and saving lives."

Subjects in the COMBI-AD trial were administered with dabrafenib and trametinib targeted combination therapy or placebo over a period of 12 months.

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Aimed at BRAF positive patients, the combination therapy prevented the recurrence of resected stage III melanoma and improved overall survival.

In the CheckMate 238 trial, high-risk stage III and stage IV patients were given nivolumab or ipilimumab immunotherapy for 12 months.

Irrespective of BRAF mutation status, nivolumab is reported to have minimised the chance of relapse and demonstrated a superior safety profile compared to ipilimumab.

Professor Long further added that based on these results, the disease can be effectively addressed at an earlier stage, in turn decreasing patient anxiety on progression of the cancer to a terminal stage.