Interferon Reduces Quality of Life for Advanced Melanoma

-- A. Agrawal, PhD

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WEDNESDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with advanced melanoma who are treated with pegylated interferon-alfa-2b have an improvement in recurrence-free survival but a reduction in quality of life compared with observation alone, according to a study published online May 11 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Andrew Bottomley, Ph.D., from the Institut Jules Bordet in Brussels, Belgium, and colleagues compared health-related quality of life (HRQOL), using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire C30, in 1,256 patients with stage III melanoma who were randomly assigned to observation or adjuvant pegylated interferon-alfa-2b.

After a median follow-up of 3.8 years, the researchers found a significant improvement in recurrence-free survival in patients treated with pegylated interferon-alfa-2b (hazard rate, 0.82). However, patients receiving interferon also had reduced global HRQOL after three months and after two years. The most important differences occurred for social and role functioning on the functioning scales, and appetite loss, fatigue, and dyspnea on the symptom scales.

"These data are important but disappointing and do not support a conclusion that using pegylated-interferon-alfa-2b, at least with the schedule used in EORTC 18991, will either greatly improve the tolerability or significantly increase the feasible duration of treatment for adjuvant interferon in high-risk melanoma," John Glaspy, M.D., and colleagues from the University of California in Los Angeles write in an accompanying editorial.

The study was supported by Schering Plough Research International. The pegylated interferon alfa-2b was provided free of charge. Several of the authors have disclosed financial or advisory relationships with Schering Plough.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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