Treating melanoma with thymosins – long-term effect on patients

In journal “Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy” was published article in which overall survival (OS) of metastatic melanoma patients was analyzed. Patients were treated in different periods between June 2004 and August 2011, cut-off point of this review was 1 July 2017. They were treated by Italian doctors in two ways: first consisted of using thymosin alpha 1 (Ta1) and dacarbazine and second using immune checkpoint blockade antibodies, mostly ipilimumab (IPI) which bonds with antigen CTLA-4 on surface of Lymphocytes T resulting in increasing activity of T cells.

First described group was 61 patients with melanoma in majority with metastasis. 40 were cured using Ta1 and in 21 IPI was added. Among them 24% had received previous treatment for this disease.

Median OS for Ta1-IPI patients was 57.8 months while for Ta1 patients was only 7.8 months. Median OS for whole group was 13.3 months.

In second part of the study 17 out of 95 patients received Ta1 before IPI. Also, in this case difference was observed as median OS for groups treated with Ta1-IPI and only with IPI was 38.4 and 8 months respectively. Another result of this study was survival rates at 3, 4, and 5 years among patients treated with Tα1-IPI and patients treated with IPI and no Tα1 before were 52.9% and 16.9%, 41.2% and 14.3%, and 41.2% and 13.0% respectively. Meanwhile no statistical significance difference was discovered at 1 year.

Outcome of both analyses points to synergetic effect of both preparations and authors call interaction between Ta1 and IPI “immune-partnership” which is sophisticated and complex and needs more research.

Whole article is available here: