Australian researchers believe they've found a way to stop melanoma from spreading to distant organs.
Two international drug trials conducted by investigators at Melanoma Institute Australia have proved successful in preventing the spread of the disease in Stage III melanoma patients whose tumours had been surgically removed.
The "breakthrough" will change the way the skin cancer - a disease that kills one Australian every five hours - is treated as well as vastly improve the quality of life of patients, Professor Georgina Long, Conjoint Medical Director of Melanoma Institute Australia, says.
"These clinical trials show we now have ammunition to prevent melanoma spreading and progressing, which until now was a critical area of disease behaviour where we had no control," Prof Long said.
The results are to to be presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress in Spain on Monday.
Stage III melanomas are tumours that have spread to regional lymph nodes. Until now, these patients were at a high risk - 40 to 70 per cent - of their disease progressing to advanced and fatal melanoma.