Immunotheray Can Be Active in Treating Mucosal Melanoma


1-  Using the immunotherapy drug Pembrolizumab for the treatment of Melanoma, including Mucosal Melanoma, is effective.

Three clinical trials of the immunotherapy Pembrolizumab have been shown to be active in the treatment of the rare cancer, Mucosal Melanoma.  Mucosal Melanoma is a cancer of the moist surfaces that line the body cavities like airways, the digestive tract and the genitourinary tract.

Less than 1% of all diagnosed Melanomas are of the mucosal type.  There is a very poor prognosis for patients diagnosed with metastatic disease as they usually survive less than 1-year. 

In a clinical trial called KEYNOTE it was found that sixteen patients (19%) of the trial sample responded to Pembrolizumab treatment.  Their prior treatments included at least one other treatment, including 39% who had been treated with ipilimumab (Yervoy), another immunotherapy treatment.  Of the sixteen people who responded, 12 are still alive a the time of this post.  The longest response time to date has been 27 months. 

In other types of advanced Melanomas KEYNOTE showed that even with one dose of Pembrolizumab people had robust responses.  Thirty three percent (33%) of the 1,483 Melanoma Patients on the trial responded to the treatment; 72% are still alive without disease progression at the time of this post.  The median overall survival was nearly 2 years and the overall survival for patients with Mucosal Melanoma was 11.3 months.

Joel T. Nowak, MA, MSW wrote this Post.  Joel is the CEO/Executive Director of Cancer ABCs.  He is a Cancer Thriver diagnosed with 5 primary cancers - Thyroid, Metastatic Prostate, Renal, Melanoma and a rare cancer, Appendiceal Cancer.