[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies have reported an association between sun exposure and improved cutaneous melanoma (CM) survival. We analysed the association of UV exposure with prognostic factors and outcome in a large melanoma cohort.
A questionnaire was given to 289 (42%) CM patients at diagnosis (Group 1) and to 402 CM patients (58%) during follow-up (Group 2). Analyses were carried out to investigate the associations between sun exposure and melanoma prognostic factors and survival.
Holidays in the sun two years before CM diagnosis were significantly associated with lower Breslow thickness (p=0.003), after multiple adjustment. Number of weeks of sunny holidays was also significantly and inversely associated with thickness in a dose-dependent manner (p=0.007). However when stratifying by gender this association was found only among women (p=0.0004) the risk of CM recurrence in both sexes was significantly lower in patients (n=271) who had holidays in the sun after diagnosis, after multiple adjustment including education: HR=0.30 (95%CI:0.10-0.87; p=0.03) conclusions: Holidays in the sun were associated with thinner melanomas in women and reduced rates of relapse in both sexes. However, these results do not prove a direct causal effect of sun exposure on survival since other confounding factors, such as vitamin D serum levels and socio-economic status, may play a role. Other factors in sun seeking individuals may also possibly affect these results.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e78820. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prognosis in patients with sentinel node (SN)-positive melanoma correlates with several characteristics of the metastases in the SN such as size and site. These factors reflect biologic behavior and may separate out patients who may or may not need additional locoregional and/or systemic therapy.
Between 1993 and 2008, 1,080 patients (509 women and 571 men) were diagnosed with tumor burden in the SN in nine European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) melanoma group centers. In total, 1,009 patients (93%) underwent completion lymph node dissection (CLND). Median Breslow thickness was 3.00 mm. The median follow-up time was 37 months. Tumor load and tumor site were reclassified in all nodes by the Rotterdam criteria for size and in 88% by the Dewar criteria for topography.
Patients with submicrometastases (< 0.1 mm in diameter) were shown to have an estimated 5-year overall survival rate of 91% and a low nonsentinel node (NSN) positivity rate of 9%. This is comparable to the rate in SN-negative patients. The strongest predictive parameter for NSN positivity and prognostic parameter for survival was the Rotterdam-Dewar Combined (RDC) criteria. Patients with submicrometastases that were present in the subcapsular area only, had an NSN positivity rate of 2% and an estimated 5- and 10-year melanoma-specific survival (MSS) of 95%.
Patients with metastases < 0.1 mm, especially when present in the subcapsular area only, may be overtreated by a routine CLND and have an MSS that is indistinguishable from that of SN-negative patients. Thus the RDC criteria provide a rational basis for decision making in the absence of conclusions provided by randomized controlled trials.
Journal of Clinical Oncology 06/2011; 29(16):2206-14. · 18.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immunogenicity of tumour cells, immunomodulation and direct targeting of signalling pathways are promising avenues and matter of dated and innovative research in melanoma. Unfortunately, tumour cells are considered to be antigenic, but not immunogenic, either due to presentation of weakly recognized antigens or to the inability of the immune system to recognize them. However, spontaneous complete remission can be rarely observed in patients affected by melanoma, which are mainly attributed to the immune response against the tumour. Also, an elevated frequency of spontaneous humoral immune responses against tumour antigens was occasionally found in patients. These data confirm the existence of an interaction of the immune system with the tumour which can be used as a promising pathway for intervention and incorporates all portions of the immune system. The cancer immunotherapy approach is based on artificial activation of the immune system against the tumour and groups several types of treatments including immunization/vaccination but also modulation of immunity by cytokines or antibodies. Immunization approaches could either be based on undefined tumour antigens (e.g. whole tumour cells, tumour cell lysates, or tumour-antigen enriched fractions) or aimed at eliciting T-cell responses against specific tumour antigens. Novel and contemporary antigen-targeted therapy strategies, mainly directed to Cancer Testis and Heat Shock Proteins, leading to a possible active immunization against melanoma through T-cell specific activation, are discussed in this review.
Current topics in medicinal chemistry 01/2011; 12(1):11-31. · 4.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Electroporation uses pulsed, high-intensity electric fields to temporarily increase cell membrane permeability by creation of pores, through which small molecules, such as chemotherapeutic agents, can diffuse inside cells before they reseal. The combination of electroporation with the administration of otherwise low-permeant cytotoxic drugs is known as electrochemotherapy (ECT). The two most commonly used drugs are bleomycin and cisplatin. ECT has already been proven to be effective in diverse tumor histotypes, including melanoma and basal and squamous cell carcinoma, Kaposi sarcoma, and breast cancer, also in those cases nonresponding to classical chemotherapies or other loco-regional treatment modalities, with a good safety profile. ECT can be proposed as loco-regional therapy for disseminated cutaneous and subcutaneous tumor lesions as alternative treatment modality to conventional therapies or as palliative care, in order to improve patients' quality of life.