News and Events

Role of Tumour Mitotic Rate in Melanoma Staging

14 May 2015

A paper published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology “should influence future staging of melanoma and improve the prognostic accuracy from future melanoma data sets”, according to Dr Ben Tallon, one of its authors. Dr Tallon is a Tauranga-based consultant dermatologist and dermatopathologist who is a member of the MelNet Executive Committee.

US study finds low sunscreen use

9 May 2015

Sunscreen use is low, especially among certain demographic groups, according to an analysis of cross-sectional data in the United States. The study authors conclude that their findings can inform sun-safety interventions and the interpretation of surveillance data on sunscreen use.

Poor Practices in New Zealand’s Sunbed Industry

8 May 2015

More than 40 per cent of sunbed operators involved in a recent mystery shopper survey failed to implement key safety checks, according to Consumer NZ. One operator also allowed a 14-year-old to use a sunbed, despite the industry’s voluntary standard restricting sunbed use to people 18 years and over. Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said the results show regulation of the sector is needed.

Health Committee Rejects Sunbed Ban

5 May 2015

A ban on commercial sunbeds in New Zealand has been rejected by the Health Select Committee, despite strong recommendations for such a ban by a number of agencies. While the Committee does support a ban for people under 18 years old, it makes no further recommendations for the regulation of sunbeds, e.g., by mandating adherence to standards for their operation, which remain voluntary.

Improved Outcome with Combination Treatments

26 April 2015

Combination treatment with ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab (Opdivo) led to higher response rates and longer progression-free survival (PFS) versus ipilimumab-only therapy, according to results published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The randomized, double-blind phase II clinical trial evaluated the combination therapy versus monotherapy with ipilimumab in patients with BRAF wild-type advanced melanoma and those with BRAF-mutant advanced melanoma.

Pembrolizumab versus Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma

23 April 2015

The findings of a recent study comparing two drugs for metastatic melanoma represent "the most important development in the treatment of this disease ever, and a landmark in terms of cancer treatment in general," according to Professor Rick Kefford of the Melanoma Institute Australia. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study found that the anti–PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab prolonged progression-free survival and overall survival and had less high-grade toxicity than did ipilimumab in patients with advanced melanoma.

Prevention and Control of Skin Cancer: Live Webcast

23 April 2015

The prevention and control of skin cancer featured in a live webcast of the April session of the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) Public Health Grand Rounds. The session, which is now available on the CDC website, addresses a range of topics, including evidence-based preventive interventions and the status of their implementation.

The Burgeoning Cost of Cancer in NZ

18 April 2015

The total cost of treating cancer in the public health system was $880 million, which is 26 percent greater than the Ministry of Health estimate (of $526 million) for the same period (based on data collected between 2010 and 2011), according to researchers from the University of Otago Department of Public Health. The researchers found the cost varied greatly by cancer type. Melanoma is one of the cheapest cancers to treat at $8000 per diagnosed and treated.

Melanoma’s ‘Safe Haven’ Targeted for Shut-Down

15 April 2015

Melanoma cells become drug resistant by using surrounding healthy cells to provide a 'safe haven' from treatment, according to new research published in Cancer Cell. "It's clear that the 'safe haven' offered by the surrounding cells is triggered as a response to the same drugs that target this class of melanoma. Knowing more about this relationship means we can start to improve treatment." - Dr Erik Sahai, lead researcher.