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Extended Interferon Not Found Beneficial in Melanoma

In intermediate, high-risk cases, treatment beyond 18 months doesn't improve survival

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with intermediate and high-risk primary melanoma, continuation of low-dose interferon therapy beyond 18 months is not beneficial, according to a study published online Jan. 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Axel Hauschild, M.D., of the University of Kiel in Germany, and colleagues studied 850 patients who were randomly assigned to receive low-dose interferon therapy three times a week for either 18 or 60 months.

The researchers found that there were no significant group differences in relapse-free survival (75.6 versus 72.6 percent), distant-metastasis-free survival (81.9 versus 79.7 percent), and overall survival (85.9 versus 84.9 percent).

"In conclusion, the results of our trial indicate that low-dose interferon alpha for patients who are lymph node negative should not be extended beyond the routine duration of 18 months," the authors write.

The study was supported by Roche Pharma AG, Grenzach-Wyhlen, and Roche Austria GmbH; several authors reported financial relationships with these companies.

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