Study reports on patient’s opinions on optimal immunotherapy treatment in melanoma

Immunotherapy treatment has transformed the treatment outcome of melanoma and other cancers. The original treatment doses and frequency were pretty arbitrary and over the years more is known about the science of immunotherapy treatments and how these treatments are very different to what was standard chemotherapy.

Now, some clinical trials want to look at if a lower dose or a longer time can be given between immunotherapy doses, or if the immunotherapy can be stopped earlier (i.e. a shorter duration of treatment). These are known as optimisation trials with the aim of improving the patient’s quality of life, reduce the likelihood of side-effects and the cost-effectiveness to the NHS while maintaining the effectiveness of the treatment.

The OPTIC study was carried out with melanoma and renal (kidney) cancer patients to find out their opinions on these trials, and what would make them feel comfortable when changing the way immunotherapy treatment is given.

The 3 main themes were

1) “Treatment and clinic visits provide reassurance”

2) “Assessment of personal risk versus benefit”

3) “Pre-existing experience and beliefs about how treatment and trials work

The aim of the study was to understand  patients’ thoughts about the challenges of recruiting people  into these optimisation trials and therefore influence the design of future optimisation trials making sure that they are acceptable to patients.

Read the full OPTIC study and the results here.

A current optimisation trial that is recruiting patients is the REFINE study – head to the Melanoma TrialFinder to find out if you are eligible to take part.