low doses of interferon for an extended period to patients
with high-risk melanoma does not significantly reduce the
chances of recurrence or improve overall survival rates,
according to a study by the United Kingdom Coordinating
Committee on Cancer Research.
results of what is known as the AIM HIGH Study, which involved
674 patients with radically resected stage IIB and III
melanoma, were released online on December 9, 2003 and are set
to be published in the January 2004 issue of the Journal of
is an aggressive type of skin cancer which, if not found and
treated early, can spread to other parts of the body.
Interferon, on the other hand, is a protein that
increases the capacity of cells to fight disease.
The alpha type, in particular, is considered effective
against certain types of cancer.
the AIM HIGH study, three megaunits of alfa-2a interferon were
given three times a week to randomly selected patients for two
years or until recurrence of the disease.
interferon-treated group had a five-year overall survival rate
(OS) of 44% and a five-year recurrence-free survival rate (RFS)
of 32%. These
rates did not differ significantly from the OS and RFS of
patients who received no further treatment following surgical
removal of the malignant tumor.
being male and the involvement of the regional lymph node were
found to be significant factors affecting the OS of patients,
age was not. Moreover,
analysis showed that factors such as age, sex and stage of the
disease did not cause any significantly difference between
patients treated with interferon and those left simply to
observation in terms of OS and RFS.
resulting interferon treatment, such as fatigue, were modest,
but still caused 50 patients to withdraw from the trials.
results of the study, participated in by several universities
and hospitals in the United Kingdom, suggest the need for
further clinical trials to determine methods of optical care
for melanoma patients and for better ways of identifying
patients who are at risk of recurrence.
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