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Melanoma Patient Characteristics Affect Choice of Therapy

Certain patients more likely to choose high-dose interferon alfa-2b treatment

MONDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Gender and sentinel lymph node status strongly influence high-risk melanoma patients' acceptance of interferon alfa-2b treatment, according to a report in the January issue of Dermatologic Surgery. High-dose interferon is associated with significant toxicity.

Tracy Bramlette, M.D., M.P.H., of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues sought to determine which prognostic factors and characteristics of melanoma patients affect their decision to undergo interferon therapy.

The investigators found that female gender and positive lymph node status were linked to a greater than twofold odds ratio for acceptance. Also, younger patients, those who are more influenced by their physician and those less affected by depression and side effect profile were more likely to choose interferon therapy.

"The choice for high-risk melanoma patients to undergo or decline high-dose adjuvant interferon therapy is complex," the authors write. "Dermatologists can help to guide patients facing this difficult decision by addressing the issues explored in our study."

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