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Recent Research Shows, Testing For A Specific Protein May Help BRAF Mutant Melanoma Patients, With Treatment Decisions

Last updated July 8, 2015

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD MPH

A recent research study presented at 2013 AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, held between October 19-23 in Boston, MA, showed that testing for a specific protein may help BRAF mutant Melanoma patients with treatment decisions.


Summary of study:

A recent research study presented at 2013 AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, held between October 19-23 in Boston, MA, showed that testing for a specific protein may help BRAF mutant Melanoma patients with treatment decisions.

The research was conducted initially on mice melanoma tissue, and then confirmed on human melanoma cells from tissue biopsies.

The study showed that there was a decreased phosphorylation of a protein, called S6, in patients who responded well when treated with vemurafenib. Vemurafenib is a drug used to treat advanced melanomas that have BRAF-mutant melanoma cell lines.

Potentially, in the future, this study could help determine whether an individual is going to respond to treatment with vemurafenib or not. Individuals who respond to this drug have beenshown to have higher duration of survival.

Malignant melanoma accounts for 4% of all cancers in the western world. The incidence of malignant melanoma is increasing.

For early-stage malignant melanoma, a complete surgical excision is the treatment of choice. Complete cure can be achieved with early stage melanomas, and also with melanoma in situ cases.

Advanced stages of melanomas, such as stage IV, have very poor prognosis. With advanced melanomas, such as melanomas with distant metastasis, surgical excision is often not an option. In these situations, chemotherapy is needed. Currently, newer medications are available to treat advanced stages of malignant melanoma. Such medications are approved by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration)

The United States FDA has approved two types of such medications, called Vemurafenib and Dabrafenib (BRAF kinase inhibitors). These drugs are called targeted drug therapy. These medications improved the response rate and also increased overall survival duration in patients with advanced melanomas.

DoveMed resources:

Comprehensive information on surgical excision of melanoma:

http://www.dovemed.com/common-procedures/procedures-surgical/melanoma-removal/

Reference used for current medical news:

http://www.aacr.org/home/scientists/meetings--workshops/molecular-targets-and-cancer-therapeutics.aspx

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Oct. 25, 2013
Last updated: July 8, 2015