What have you heard or experienced with Vaccine Treatments?

Posted By
7/17/2017 2:02am
Replies: 2

What have you heard or experienced with Vaccine Treatments?

Hi everyone, this is my first post on the forum. My dad has Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma. I am seeking advice on new treatments that have shown results of improved quality of life and survival outcomes. I have done some background research of my own on treatments and this is what I have found so far:

It seems that one of the most common methods of treatment of malignant metastatic melanoma is chemotherapy with Dacarbazine, or DTIC. It is a cytotoxic drug and one of the few drugs approved by the FDA for treating cancer¹.

There have been studies on the use of Temozolomide, or TMZ, which has shown efficacy at least equivalent to DTIC in patients with melanoma. But overall, TMZ showed an advantage in terms of improvement in quality of life¹.

Another area of treatment focuses more on the immune system. One study MD Anderson Cancer Center researched a three drug combination of cisplatin, vinblastine, and DTIC. The Phase II and III trials suggested a benefit of cisplatin when added to DTIC for patients with the metastatic disease¹.

Combination therapy with Oblimersen sodium and DTIC has shown a significant survival benefit¹.

Biochemotherapy is another area of treatment that has been investigated. Overall, this method of treatment has indicated improved response rates, but not in survival rates. One study by Eton et al investigated CVD (combination treatment with cisplatin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine) vs CVD with intravenous IL-Z and subcutaneous IFN-d¹.

The research on vaccines as a treatment option are of particular interest to me. So far, no vaccines have been approved for prevention or treatment of cancer. However, the use of allogeneic (involving cells that are genetically dissimilar) whole-cell-based vaccines has become more popular². Up to date, the most successful vaccine has been Canvaxin, which contains three irradiated (being exposed to radiation), allogeneic melanoma cell lines between them expressed over 20 different melanoma antigens (toxic/foreign substance that induces an immune response)².

Even though it seems that there has been increasing interest to research vaccines for cancer treatments, there has not been exceedingly substantial progress. This is in part due to investing, but also taking into consideration the high production costs associated with vaccines. Some studies have been halted in later phases of clinical testing because the results have not shown improved survival outcomes². On the other hand, a decent amount of preclinical studies focusing on immunotherapeutics, including vaccines have been shown to enhance anticancer immune responses². The numerous studies of vaccines seem to have varying results, due to the altering the constituents of the vaccine itself.

I have just begun my research on new treatment options, but does anyone have any suggestions on studies to look into or any clinical trials that my dad could participate in? In addition, do you know of anyone who has participated in any vaccine trials? Thanks!


I'm sure others will respond, but it appears you have left out any of the new advances in melanoma treatment in the last five years. 

Is your Dad seeing a melanoma specialist?  Most important question of all!!!  Chemo is used more as a last resort nowadays.  Vaccines are typically used in clinical trials but there doesn't seem much progress on this front yet especially as a front line treatment.  Biochemo has been used at a few centers but again, it's now not typically the first line of treatment.  Does your father have the BRAF mutation in his tumor?  That gives you access to specific drugs which work quickly, but tend to quit over time.  Good for higher tumor burden.  Then there are the immunotherapy drugs which, to date, have the best survival numbers.  If you search on this site for BRAF, Taflinar, Mekinist, Ipi, Yervoy, Opdivo, Keytrude, Nivo.... these are the direction most people are going and there is tons of info about side effects and what to expect.

Agree with everything the above poster said. Googling treatment for melanoma tends to bring up websites that are out of date, so they are not actually giving you the real deal as far as what works for melanoma and what is being prescribed these days. A melanoma specialist is very important, these oncologists deal with melanoma very closely and understand all of the advances, and all of their quirky side effects, which makes for better care. As abover poster said, immunotherapy are the main drugs being used for melanoma: Yervoy/Opdivo (Ipi/Nivo) and Keytruda. There are the targeted treatments as well if he has the genetic mutation for it. 

Jenn - stage IV NED - Completed Ipi/Nivo (Yervoy/Opdivo) + surgery