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New drug helps melanoma cancer patients live longer: Australian study

Xinhua, April 20, 2015 Adjust font size:

A new Australian study showed more patients with advanced cancer melanoma lived longer when given a new drug than those on the standard treatment.

The research from Sydney's Macquarie University showed more than 70 percent of patients given the newer drug, Keytruda, lived for one year, whereas only 58 percent of those on Yervoy lived an extra year.

Associate Professor Georgina Long from the Melanoma Institute of Australia said it was a ground-breaking development for melanoma patients and all cancer patients.

"The results are world-first, where two effective immunotherapies are directly compared, and we significantly improve outcomes for patients even further," she said in a statement Monday.

"This really is important as this new drug works much better. To show such a large improvement is outstanding."

Doctors said the new drug was appropriate to use in patients with advanced melanoma, where cancer has spread or where it cannot be removed by surgery.

Because of its outdoor lifestyle, Australia has the highest incidence of skin-cancer melanoma in the world, with an Australian dying from the disease every six hours. Endi