Recorded during the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Peter Hofland and Sonia Portillo, the team behind The Onco’Zine Brief, interview Dr. Robert Andtbacka, associate professor in the Division of Surgical Oncology, at the Department of Surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine, and surgeon and investigator with the Intermountain Healthcare and Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Andtbacka is a member of the Experimental Therapeutics Program, and he specializes in surgery for melanoma, soft tissue sarcomas, and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.

His research interests include novel techniques to identify how melanoma spreads through the lymph and vascular systems; resistance to targeted therapies in soft tissue sarcomas, including gastrointestinal stromal tumors; and novel therapeutics for solid tumors.

In this interview Peter Hofland, Sonia Portillo and Robert Andtbacka discusses some of the exciting research presented at this year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, or ASCO, which took place June 2nd to 6th in Chicago, Illinois.

Andtbacka addresses current standards of care in melanoma, and the challenges that come with treating this disease, especially once it has metastasized to the brain. He also discusses some of the approaches that are being tested and developed for melanoma, and explained why combination therapies are showing he most promise both early and late-stages of the disease.

Some data presented at ASCO supports the combination of new drugs that can enhance existing therapies by altering the microenvironment of the tumor and making it more susceptible to treatments.

Andtbacka talks about why therapy combinations have really transformed oncology in recent years by offering patients long term survival benefit that were previously unseen.