Melanoma is a type of cancer that starts in the cells that make melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its color. Melanoma can develop in your eyes, which have melanin-producing cells. 

A New Combination Treatment For Eye Melanoma Improved Patient Survival

Ocular melanoma is another name for eye melanoma. Uveal melanoma is a rare type of malignant melanoma that emerges in the pigment cells of the eye rather than the skin.

A New Combination Treatment For Eye Melanoma Improved Patient Survival In A Clinical Trial

Eye melanoma may not show any signs or symptoms at all. When signs and symptoms of eye melanoma do appear, they can include:

  1. In your vision, you may notice flashes or flecks of dust (floaters)

On the iris, a dark patch is growing.

  1. The black circle (pupil) in the middle of your eye changes form.
  2. One eye has poor or fuzzy vision.
  3. Peripheral vision loss

Whenever you see any signs or symptoms that concern you, make an appointment with your doctor. Sudden changes in your vision indicate an emergency, so get medical attention right away.

 Immunotherapy with “checkpoint inhibitors” has been shown to be beneficial in many cases of cutaneous melanoma, but not in intraocular melanoma. 

It is believed that about 80 people are identified with uveal melanoma each year, and half of them develop metastases, most commonly in the liver. Patients with metastatic uveal melanoma often die within a few months after being diagnosed. Those who are above 40 can be prone to this disease at a higher level compared to the youth. As per research, a combination of treatments can prove much useful in countering the level of this disease and prevent it from spreading said a team member of the research team that carried out this research on different samples across the area. 

Uveal (intraocular or eye) melanoma, is a rare type of cancer, with a high fatality rate once it has spread. 

Researchers and physicians from the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital report in Nature Communications that new combination treatment can decrease tumors and prolong survival in a restricted subgroup of patients with metastatic uveal melanoma.

In this Phase II trial, 29 patients with metastatic ocular melanoma were given a combination of two inhibitor medicines that target HDAC (histone deacetylase) and PD-1 (a T-cell checkpoint protein).

 The tumors reduced dramatically in four of these patients, while the disease progressed more slowly in others. 

Surprisingly, three years after the trial began, several of the patients are still alive.

Lars Ny, a senior lecturer at the University of Gothenburg and physician specializing in oncology at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, explains, “Our hope was that the HDAC inhibitor would reprogram hidden cancer cells so that they could be detected by immune cells, thus making immunotherapy with PD-1 inhibitors effective.”

“The clinical trial fulfilled our expectations in general, however, it does not appear to be a curative treatment. We used genetic analysis to figure out why there were so large disparities in how well patients responded. These results demonstrated that the treatment was more effective against tumors with active and intact BAP1 genes. 

This gene is frequently inactivated in metastases, but we now know that it’s linked to a better immunotherapy response “Jonas Nilsson, a professor at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy and a researcher at the Sahlgrenska Center for Cancer Research and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in Perth, Australia, agrees.

The research team is constantly researching why patients with uveal melanoma developed resistance to immunotherapy after losing the BAP1 gene, as well as what other changes in blood components can predict improved survival following immunotherapy to have some better results.