Thin melanomas missed in lockdown; Dermatology COIs; Nanoparticle injections for SCC

Wednesday, 10 Feb 2021


Thin melanomas missed during pandemic

Melanoma referrals were reduced by almost 50% during the Victorian lockdown, new figures show.

Referrals to the Victorian Melanoma Service for new diagnoses of primary melanoma decreased by 48% between April and August 2020 compared with previous years. Reductions were greatest for patients referred with melanoma in-situ (MIS) and thin melanomas. The average Breslow thickness of invasive melanomas referred during lockdown was increased (2.70 mm vs 2.06 mm prior to lockdown).

Writing  in AJGP, Dr William Berry and colleagues from the VMS said the reductions suggested that fewer thin melanomas were detected due to decreased skin checks during face-to-face appointments and because of the shift to telehealth.


How many dermatology trials have financial conflicts?

Almost 70% of dermatology clinical trials have financial conflicts of interest (COIs) that may bias findings, a study has found.

Potential financial COIs were identified in 69% of 83 multinational randomised controlled trials reviewed by dermatologists at the Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust.

Industry payments were reported for 55% of academic and/or clinical first/final authors, with most 77% over US$10,000 and the median payment being US$28,746. The five highest payments exceeded $300,000.

Almost all industry-funded trials (46/47) had COIs, most of which were personal payments to an academic/clinical author and employees/stockholders as authors (96%).

The review authors said some payments  to trial investigators may  reflect  fair  compensation  for  expert  advice  and  facilitation  of  clinical  research over several years that can offer great societal benefit.

“However, such payments have the  potential  to  influence  authors,  either  consciously  or  subconsciously,” they wrote in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology.


Nanoparticle double whammy for BCC and SCC

Dermatologists in the US are injecting polymer-based nanoparticles carrying a chemotherapy agent into basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma as a potential alternative to surgery. Dr Michael Girardi, professor and vice chair of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine says the key to the treatment’s success is that the nanoparticles are bioadhesive, binding and accumulating in tumor matrix for long enough to kill a significant number of the cancer cells.

And in a two-pronged approach the nanoparticles can be combined with an agent that stimulates the  immune system to react against cells that may not have been killed directly. They said an nanoparticle injection-based therapy would also mean that patients could have multiple tumours treated in a single visit.

The results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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