Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of two new treatments for metastatic melanoma: a MEK inhibitor, trametinib, and a BRAF inhibitor, dabrafenib. The Melanoma Research Foundation celebrates these approvals, as there is a dire need for new treatment options for people with this deadly skin cancer.
Approximately half of cutaneous melanomas (melanoma of the skin) have a BRAF gene mutation. The now-approved MEK inhibitor can be used in patients whose tumors do not have the BRAF mutation, and also is being tested in uveal melanoma (melanoma of the eye). This is the first MEK inhibitor approved for people with metastatic melanoma.
Early data has shown the biggest use, however, will likely be in combining the BRAF and MEK inhibitors. Studies have shown that patients with the BRAF mutation who were treated with the combination had better response, longer response, and fewer side effects.
This is positive news for the melanoma community. We still have much work to do in terms of providing additional treatments for people fighting advanced melanoma, but this is an important step forward.
Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States and can strike men and women of all ages, all races and skin types. With a one in 50 lifetime risk of developing melanoma, nearly 77,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2013, resulting in over 9,400 deaths. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25- to 29-years-old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15- to 29-years-old.
The majority of melanomas occur on the skin; in fact, melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. Melanoma can also occur in the eye (ocular, or uveal melanoma), in mucous membranes (mucosal melanoma), or even beneath fingernails or toenails.
About the Melanoma Research Foundation
The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma. Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and the treatment of melanoma. The MRF is an active advocate for the melanoma community, helping to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. The MRF’s website is the premier source for melanoma information seekers. More information is available at www.melanoma.org. Find the MRF on Facebook and Twitter.