Dermatology trials transforming skin cancer treatment

The skin lymphoma team at BHP founder-member University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust have recently been involved in trials that have the potential to change treatment for patients with rare forms of skin cancer.

The MAVORIC trial, the largest clinical trial of its kind, compared a new treatment for two rare forms of skin cancer with the current standard treatment, recruited 370 patients across more than 60 centres worldwide.

The trial found the new treatment, mogamulizumab, led to survival rates doubling from three months to seven months for patients with mycosis fungoides and Sezary syndrome, two rare forms of skin cancer Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL).

Professor Julia Scarisbrick, UHB Consultant Dermatologist, said: “The results from the MAVORIC trial have been promising, and we are hoping that NICE will soon approve mogamulizumab for use across NHS hospitals.

“With an average progression-free survival rate of 7.6 months, mogamulizumab was shown to be more than twice as effective as vorinostat in treating mycosis fungoides or Sezary syndrome, in cases where at least one previous treatment had failed.

“For decades, these forms of CTCL have been difficult to treat, so the approval of mogamulizumab would fill a clear unmet need.”

The Alcanza trial, which UHB were the leading recruiters to, has led to the first new drug for skin lymphoma treatment being approved in 18 years. It compared a new antibody therapy – brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) – with the current standard treatments.

The results showed that Adcetris was better at stopping the form of skin cancer progressing, and also helped reduce the symptoms associated with skin lymphoma.

Professor Julia Scarisbrick said: “The approval of Adcetris by both the European Medicines Agency and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is fantastic news, as patients across the UK and Europe will now be able to be treated with the new, more effective treatment option.

“The trial has been a real collaborative effort, and it’s great that the work of our international colleagues and UHB colleagues has had such strong results and seen Adcetris approved for CTCL patients.”

Adcetris is now available for all patients with a specific type of skin lymphoma (CD30-positive cutaneous T-cell lymphoma) who have had at least one previous treatment.

You can find out more about the two trials via the links below.

> Research@UHB: ALCANZA trial

> Research@UHB: MAVORIC trial