Drug combo shows efficacy in treating late-stage melanoma

BOCA RATON, Fla. – There are promising results from a study into a treatment approach for advanced melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Fromowitz said researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center tested the benefit of combining two existing drugs that target different aspects of the disease process.

“What we’re talking about here is the combination of an immune checkpoint inhibitor, pembrolizumab, combined with something called all-trans retinoic acid, and that combination, by creating synergy, created far better cure rates in patients who had been unresponsive to other therapies,” he said.

Fromowitz said researchers found that 71 percent of patients responded to the drug combination, which extended their survival, and 50 percent had complete remission.

Because the study was small, involving just 24 patients, the drug combination is now entering a larger trial with a more diverse patient population.

And a new report from the Center for Disease Control shows fewer visits to the emergency department end with prescriptions for opioids.

Between 2017 and 2020 the number of opioids prescribed at discharge fell from about 12 percent to eight percent.

The report found that receiving a prescription in the emergency department is a potential risk factor for long-term use.

About the Authors:

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.