Melanoma Coverage from Every Angle

Talimogene Laherparepvec in Unresectable Locoregional Melanoma

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2019

According to findings published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, talimogene laherparepvec, a genetically modified herpes virus, was well tolerated among patients with unresectable stage IIIB or IV melanoma. The authors suggested that the virus acts on the body’s immune system without the severe side effects of chemotherapy and observed similar efficacy results in real-world treatment compared with previous results from clinical trials.

“It’s a different world now in metastatic melanoma, because instead of the traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy that not only kills cancer cells but also kills normal cells, we’re stimulating the immune system to attack the cancer cells,” noted David W. Ollila, MD, FACS, of University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, in an American College of Surgeons press release.

The researchers reviewed the clinicopathologic characteristics, treatment data, and outcomes of 121 patients treated with talimogene laherparepvec across 3 institutions. Of them, 80 patients were evaluable. Patients had stage IIIB disease, stage IIIC disease, clinical stage IIID disease, or cancer that spread to a distant site at the time of treatment.

The authors observed complete responses in 22 patients (28%) and partial responses in 14 patients (18%). Of those who achieved a complete response, 29 patients (37%) showed no evidence of disease at the last follow-up.

Side effects were generally mild and most commonly included flu-like symptoms (n = 22). Talimogene laherparepvec was applied to sites including the head and neck, upper extremity, torso, and lower extremity, suggesting it may be safe across anatomic sites that cannot be treated with other local therapies.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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