What is melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of cancer that is also called skin cancer. It starts in pigment cells (called melanocytes) that are most commonly found in the skin. Melanoma can develop at any location on a person’s body.
What causes melanoma?
The exact cause of melanoma is not known. For many people, melanoma has been linked to sun exposure (also known as ultra violet light) and/or tanning beds. Some other known risk factors for melanoma include having:
- Fair skin that tends to burn and/or freckle
- Light hair and eyes
- One or more blistering sunburns
- Many moles and/or abnormal moles
- A family history of melanoma
What is metastatic melanoma?
Metastatic melanoma occurs when cancer spreads from where it originally started to other parts of the body.
Are there different stages of melanoma?
Yes, there are 5 stages of melanoma (stage 0 to stage 4). Regional metastatic melanoma is classified as stage 3 (cancer that has spread to nearby lymph nodes and/or lymph vessels near the initial tumor). Distant metastatic melanoma is classified as stage 4 (cancer that has spread to other organs and body areas far away from the initial tumor).
Can metastatic melanoma be treated?
Yes. There are several different treatments for metastatic melanoma. Your doctor/oncologist will tell you if you may be a candidate for:
• Immunotherapy, such as Proleukin
• Targeted therapy
• Radiation therapy
You can also ask your oncologist if there is a possibility of enrolling in a clinical study for a new treatment.
Can metastatic melanoma be cured?
Some treatments may help slow or stop the progression of cancer for a while. Proleukin is one of those therapies. After Proleukin treatment, some people’s tumors completely disappeared and did not return (called a durable complete response).*
What is Proleukin?
Proleukin (aldesleukin) is a synthetic protein that is very similar to natural IL-2, an important protein that your body produces. IL-2 activates certain white blood cells (called lymphocytes) to help your immune system fight against diseases and infections. Learn more.
How does Proleukin work?
Proleukin stimulates the immune system by encouraging the growth of certain types of cells in the immune system that attack and kill cancer cells. Learn more.
How might Proleukin help?
Some people with metastatic melanoma have had their cancer tumors completely disappear for over 10 years after treatment with Proleukin.*
How is Proleukin administered?
Proleukin is administered by intravenous infusion at a specialized IL-2 Treatment Center. Usually, you’ll receive two 5-day treatment cycles (constituting 1 course of therapy) with Proleukin, with 9 days of rest in between. During each 5-day treatment cycle, Proleukin is typically provided once every 8 hours. If Proleukin is working against your cancer after just 1 course, your oncologist may—or may not—suggest 1 or 2 more courses.
Are side effects severe with Proleukin?
Not always. Everyone is different. Fortunately, side effects can be managed by a team of experts at the IL-2 Treatment Center. And most side effects should subside a few days after treatment with Proleukin. Please see full Prescribing Information for a complete list of side effects.
How can I learn more about melanoma?
If you have any medical questions, talk to your oncologist. You can also access many helpful resources here.
*In 6% of patients (17/270), tumors completely disappeared (called durable complete response). In 10% (26/270) of patients, tumors shrank (called partial response).