Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at the MAGE-3 vaccine for advanced melanoma skin cancer (EORTC 16032-18031)
This trial was looking at the new MAGE-3 vaccine for advanced melanoma that cannot be removed with an operation.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. Doctors usually treat it with surgery and sometimes with biological therapy, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. The MAGE-3 vaccine is a new treatment that doctors think may be useful for melanoma that has continued to grow following treatment.
Immune system cells can seek out and kill cancer cells but they often don’t do this very well. Vaccines can help the immune system cells to recognise the cancer cells. The vaccine in this trial teaches immune cells to spot a protein called MAGE-3 found in cancers, particularly in malignant melanomas. To help the vaccine work, substances called ‘adjuvants’ are added to it. Two adjuvants called AS15 and AS02B were tested in this trial.
The aims of this trial were to find out
- Whether the vaccine stimulates the immune system cells
- Whether the vaccine slows down the growth of melanoma
- Which adjuvant worked best
- More about the side effects
Summary of results
The researchers found that that the MAGE-3 vaccine worked better with the AS15 adjuvant than with AS02B.
The trial recruited 75 people who had stage 3 or 4 melanoma with the MAGE-3 protein.
Half the people had the MAGE-3 vaccine with AS15 and half had the vaccine with AS02B. Side effects, such as a skin reaction at the injection site, were similar with both adjuvants.
There were more
The melanoma didn’t get any worse (
When the researchers presented their results at a large cancer conference in 2008, they said the MAGE-3 vaccine with the AS15 adjuvant should be studied more.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr Paul Lorigan
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer