June 4, 2018 – Who Responds?


Anchor lead: Targeted therapies have a role in the treatment of melanoma, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Therapies targeting a pathway known as ‘programmed cell death’ or PDL-1 have been shown to be beneficial in people with advanced melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, a recent study found. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says that was true even if the tumor tested negative for this pathway.

Nelson: That’s actually a very interesting aspect of this study. There have been attempts to figure out ways to predict who is likely to respond and not likely to respond. In this particular study, the majority of the cancers had evidence of the PDL-1 expression. Having said that there was no difference in the benefit of whether that was present or not. The PDL-1 negative cancers also showed a significant benefit.  :26

Nelson says this may be because the pathway is operational in tissues other than the cancer itself. Research is underway to understand these pathways better. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.