New Guidance Issued on Treating Metastatic Melanoma During COVID-19

January 11, 2023
New Guidance Issued on Treating Metastatic Melanoma During COVID19 image

Metastatic melanoma patients should continue systemic therapy during the ongoing pandemic.

Metastatic melanoma patients taking systemic therapy should stay on treatment whenever possible, even during Covid-19 pandemic.

This is the main takeaway from new research paper in Oncotarget's Volume 13 on the impact of COVID-19 in the management of patients with metastatic melanoma, especially those who are taking immunotherapy, targeted therapy or chemotherapy. The risk of Sars-CoV-2 infection and severity for patients on these treatments has been unknown.

In this study, researchers from University Hospital ZurichUniversity of Zurich and ETH Zurich analyzed all patients with metastatic melanoma receiving therapy at the University Hospital Zürich who developed Covid-19 between February 2020 and February 2022.

Of the 350 patients with metastatic melanoma, 25 had Covid-19. The median age at the time of Covid-19 diagnosis was 66 years (range 36–86), 10 patients were female, and 15 patients were male. The treatment regimen during infection was immunotherapy in 12 cases, followed by targeted therapy (n = 8), chemotherapy (n = 2) and TVEC injections, follow-up and palliative therapy in 1 case each. 

The severity was mild in 17 patients, and 8 had a moderate to critical course. Patients with a severe Covid-19 course were often older and had more comorbidities than patients with a mild infection. Many of the patients had a mild Covid-19 course despite having metastatic melanoma and systemic therapy. 

“We therefore recommend continuing systemic therapy whenever possible, even in such exceptional situations as the Covid-19 pandemic,” the resarchers conclude.


Figure 1: Demographic factors, comorbidities and therapy regime of the patients in percentage, age in years.

PHOTO CREDIT: 2022 Welti et al.

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