Although safety and quality of life were improved with adjuvant intravenous, intermittent interferon alfa-2b (IFN-α-2b [iHDI]) compared with standard high-dose IFN-α-2b (HDI), there was no significant difference for survival and an increased risk for relapse with iHDI in patients with stage 3 melanoma, a new study published online ahead of print this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has shown.1

The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 73,870 people in the United States will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2015, and about 9,940 will die from the disease.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for the treatment of melanoma recommends adjuvant IFN-α as HDI for 1 year or as peginterferon α-2b for up to 5 years for certain patients with stage 1B to 4 melanoma.2,3

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“Side effects are quite long-lasting and stressful for the patients under standard HDI,” Peter Mohr, MD, PhD, said in an interview with Cancer Therapy Advisor.

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“From a phase 2 study, we had the impression that the regimen of iHDI was better tolerable and there were suggestions from [an] ECOG study that the IV part of that therapy is the active part of HDI,” Dr. Mohr said.

For the study, researchers enrolled 649 patients with stage 3 resected lymph node or in-transit metastasis from cutaneous malignant melanoma.