Welcome to the CURE OM Forum, a community bulletin board designed to address the needs of the ocular melanoma community – patients and caregivers alike. Here you’ll find answers to questions about OM diagnosis and treatment, and support from people from all stages, levels of treatment and from all over the world.

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edamaser's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 7/3/2012 - 9:39am
Replies by: paperdetective, RobC

Combination Small Molecule MEK and PI3K Inhibition Enhances Uveal Melanoma Cell Death in a Mutant GNAQ and GNA11 Dependent Manner

  1. Jahan S. Khalili1,
  2. Xiaoxing Yu1,
  3. Ji Wang2,
  4. Brendan C. Hayes1,
  5. Michael A. Davies3,
  6. Gregory Lizee4,
  7. Bita Esmaeli5, and
  8. Scott E. Woodman6,*

+ Author Affiliations

  1. 1Melanoma Medical Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center

  2. 2Thoracic and Cardiovascular surgery, MD Anderson cancer Center

  3. 3Melanoma Medical Oncology and Systems Biology, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

  4. 4Melanoma Medical Oncology, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

  5. 5Head and Neck Surgery, Section of Ophthalmology, MD Anderson Cancer Center

  6. 6Melanoma Medical Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  1. *Corresponding Author:
    Scott E. Woodman, Melanoma Medical Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, South Campus Research Building, SCR 2.3022, 7455 Fannin St., Houston, TX, 77054, United States

Purpose: Activating-Q209L/P mutations in GNAQ or GNA11 (GNAQ/11) are present in ∼80% of uveal melanomas (UM). Mutant GNAQ/11 are not currently therapeutically targetable. Inhibiting key downstream effectors of GNAQ/11 represents a rational therapeutic approach for UMs that harbor these mutations. The MEK/MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways are activated in UM. In this study, we test the effect of the clinically relevant small molecule inhibitors GSK1120212 (MEK inhibitor) and GSK2126458 (pan class I PI3K inhibitor) on UM cells with different GNAQ/11 mutations. Experimental Design: We use the largest set of genetically annotated uveal melanoma cell lines to-date to perform in vitro cellular signaling, cell cycle regulation, growth and apoptosis analyses. RNA interference and small molecule MEK and/or PI3K inhibitor treatment were employed to determine the dependency of cells with different GNAQ/11 mutation backgrounds on MEK/MAPK and/or PI3K/AKT signaling. Proteomic network analysis was performed to unveil signaling alterations in response to MEK and/or PI3K inhibition. Results: GNAQ/11 mutation status was not a determinant of whether cells would undergo cell cycle arrest or growth inhibition to MEK and/or PI3K inhibition. A reverse correlation was observed between MAPK and AKT phosphorylation after MEK or PI3K inhibition, respectively. Neither MEK nor PI3K inhibition alone was sufficient to induce apoptosis in the majority of cell lines; however, the combination of MEK + PI3K inhibitor treatment caused marked apoptosis in a GNAQ/11 mutant-dependent manner. Conclusions: MEK + PI3K inhibition may be an effective combination therapy in uveal melanoma given the inherent reciprocal activation of these pathways in UM.

  • Received December 14, 2011.
  • Revision received May 30, 2012.
  • Accepted June 1, 2012.
  • Copyright © 2012, American Association for Cancer Research. 

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On Sunday, August 12th, lace up your sneakers and join the Melanoma Foundation of New England at the starting line for the 2012 New Balance Falmouth Road Race. You can help spread awareness and educate others in the fight against melanoma.

Runners have been raising funds and awareness for the Melanoma Foundation of New England since 2004. Running for Cover, the Foundation's running team, has been running Falmouth for the past four years. We aim to raise more than $15,000 this year! Runner will be required to raise a minimum of $1,000 to help us reach our goal.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in joining Running for Cover, please visit our website, apply online, or email

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When you have been recently diagnosed with ocular melanoma, I believe there is nothing more inspirational to help one deal with it than Steve Job's (Apple's new deceased CEO) 2005 Stanford commencement speech, just after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The video is heer

The text is here

And if you want more inspiring details on Steve Jobs, I recommend the approved biography by Walter Isaacson.


Peter L in NH

diagnosed jan 2012, biopsied class 1b cells feb 2012,  proton beamed feb 2012, currently no mets, central vision on tumor eye virtually gone, vision in other (lazy) eye also part compromised

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Looking for trials of anti-pd-1.  Does anyone know of any that accept ocular primary and previous yervoy?  Tried Moffitt, but looking for something closer to TN.  All help is welcome.  Thanks, Margaret

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margaretrogers57's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 6/19/2012 - 10:04am
Replies by: ThatHomeschoolDad

Looking for trials of anti-pd-1.  Does anyone know of any that accept ocular primary and previous yervoy?  Tried Moffitt, but looking for something closer to TN.  All help is welcome.  Thanks, Margaret

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ThatHomeschoolDad's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 6/26/2012 - 5:33pm

I'm not talking about studies -- that's another topic and then some.  I mean articles, online or print, that should be in the Welcome Basket for any new OM patient.  What must-reads have you found?  I'll start us off:


CURE Today article on super survivors, that is, "terminal" patients who are re-writing the odds.  Does not discuss OM, but useful anyway:


The Median Isn't the Message, the smartest, most thoughtful essay ever on statistics. A must for anyone Googling their disease.  Should be a laminated handout in every oncologist's office:


Postcards From Beyond the Zero, another great one from's Statistics section.  Actually, the whole Statistics section is a must-read:

Keep Rowing!

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ThatHomeschoolDad's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 6/23/2012 - 8:25am
Replies by: eyecancerny, RobC

What a great conference in Philly.  Now I'm all revved up!  Anyway...

For those of us who chatted afterward, and for anyone else who'd like the info, here some links I mentioned regarding talking to kids about cancer:

YouTube BBC animated series on the body -- Search for "Once upon a time in the body" or go to the member page of the one user who seems to have uploaded nearly the whole series --

 It is, as they say, absolutely brilliant.  Also free. -- Search on "cancer" and you'll get two or three good animated vids for kids.  You may have to sign up for the free trial to access it.  I’d post the vids, but they are embedded Flash.

I thought there might be one link for Gilda’s Club, but each chapter seems to have its own site, so you’ll have to Google based on your location.  The Wellness Community, which at least in NJ has merged with Gilda’s, does have a single national site, from which you can find local chapters:

We go to the parent / kids group Wellness runs in NJ, and it’s super.

The other resource to ask for at your local cancer center or hospital is a Child Life Specialist.   If she’s a Certified Play Therapist, all the better.  If not, try anyway.  If your hospital doesn't have one, look elsewhere.

Seriously, do it.

Monday would be good.

I'm still poking around for more.  Will post under this topic as acquired.


Keep Rowing!

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ALM's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 6/17/2012 - 8:50pm
Replies by: tommonoli, ALM

Hi Everyone

From what I have read my melanoma is fairly rare. Acral Lentiginous Melanoma. Is there anyone out there who has the same disease and can offer me any info? I am stage 4. The primary liesion was on the middle toe which was amputated. A year later another liesion appeared on the ankle which was surgically excluded. I would like to know if ALM is any more dangerous or aggressive than other types of melanoma or are all melanoma basically the same?

Thanks for any help.

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Hi Friends, 

I am just posting this here because I am tryign to do whatever I can to spread the work. Amanda was a CrossFit competitor who lost her life in 2010 to Melanoma. CrossFit honored her by naming a workout after her, a workout that is actually quite difficult. 

I have started a memorial fundraiser in her name called The Amanda Miller Memorial Wod,, and I am simply trying to raise awareness. 

there is also a facebook page,, so if you know ANYONE who does crossfit, please pass this information along to them, encourage them to register, and participate. We are trying to raise $20,000 (I know, not a lot but every bit helps) to donate to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Amanda's name, specifically for melanoma research. 

Thank you 

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Heather's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 5/27/2012 - 2:10pm
Replies by: edamaser, tommonoli, Heather, lak

Hello, my name is Heather and I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 1995 at the age of 22. I have been very fortunate and have had no metastasis thus far. On my last CT of the chest two 3mm pulmonary nodules were found.  Upon re-evaluation of my scans the one was present on the previous years scan and showed no change....a good thing. I go next month for a follow up CT .  I am hopeful that this will turn out to be nothing, but as you all know it is scary. Until recently, I thought I was safe from metastasis since it had been so long(naive I guess).  After this most recent CT's results, I began to research and came across some people with very long gaps between initial diagnosis and metastasis. Just wondering if this is common? Thanks! Heather

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texaninlouisiana's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 5/17/2012 - 10:06pm
Replies by: texaninlouisiana

Good Evening - new poster (unfortunately) wanting to get some hopefully 1st or 2nd hand experience with desmoplastic melanoma.

My father was diagnosed last Friday, had the WLE and SLNB on Wednesday and everything is going along smoothly -- including the lymph nodes visibly not looking any different. We will get the official path report back next week so needless to say, we are praying it's not a combined form of DM, instead of pure.

The tumor was 2.7mm thickness, 2cm WLE was done, and SLNB with visibly clear sentinal node removed.

My question is for anyone who has had experience with this sub-type. I already know quite a bit about it by hours of research and findings but I just haven't found any credible personal info on any forums -- both here and -- it's really frustrating. My father has really good docs treating him, including one of the best oncologists around but I get a feeling that this type is not something they have dealt with before which is unsettling; not to mention my father trusts them completely. We have resources in the Houston area, meaning MD Anderson is somewhere we could go but he is so worried about the convenience factor (family is in Northeast Texas) of traveling, etc -- it's very frustrating.

Anyways, back on point...I'm reaching out to this larger forum to see if anybody has had experience with this. The only things I've read on here are other questions from folks wondering the same thing as me.

Thank You All in advance.

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edamaser's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 5/22/2012 - 3:15pm

Hi Everyone,

I had scans yesterday--mixed results.  From the neck down my numerous, multiple, and widespread lesions are stable or shrinking by tiny amounts (there is one new one in the neck).  Overall, Dr. Weber feels this is an indication that ipi is working, and wants to do nothing unless there is progression, in which case he thinks another ipi induction would be in order.  I agree, except that I would love to have a re-induction of ipi right now and not wait for progression.  But it's not my call.

The bad news is that the 4mm lesion in my brain, noted 3 months ago is now 6mm.  Also there is a 1mm spot in the brain which is non-enhancing (therefore not clear whether it is melanoma or not); this is new.  Tomorrow I will have a fancy MRI, a Novalis, which makes 1mm cuts of images rather then the usual 5mm.  So, stereotactic radiation is in order, at least for the 6mm one, and maybe both.  I have no symptoms whatsoever from any of the lesions, brain or otherwise.

I will follow up on stereotactic radiation at Moffitt asap.

Bad news, but no complaints.  It has been 9 1/2 years since my first liver lesions.  Life has been good to me during that time.  Life is still good, though I must say that these ups and downs are wearing...

I wish the best for all of you,


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My brother had a melanoma removed from his thigh 9 years ago and had a recurance a couple months ago. He saw a surgeon who removed the tumor and three lymph nodes in the groin, two of which tested positive and one neg. The oncologist said next would be interferon and then radiation. I was concerned that the oncologist wasn't a melanoma specialist and did some research online. I suggested my brother get a second opinion at Moffitt in Tampa because they had melanoma specialists. He saw them Monday and they diagnosed staged it 3c and disagreed with the previously suggested treatment. They want to remove all the lymph nodes from the right groin. I'm not that up on where the best melanoma centers are and think the folks at Moffitt sound pretty sharp. Anybody here know much about them?

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My husband has had om mets to liver since dec., 2010.  He's had resection, ablation, yervoy and gm-csf trial, y-90.  Last scan after y-90 showed bone mets and increased size of liver mets and new liver mets.  How long does yervoy have effect on tumors?  How long does it take for y-90 to show results? is 2 1/2 months too soon?  Worried what to do next.. Husband still feels good. We have appt. at vanderbilt next week to discuss temozolomide vs. AZD-6244 and @ the end of month @ moffitt to talk about anti-pd-1.  Anyone with experience in these drugs that could give us some pointers would be appreciated.  Really feeling a little lost at present.  Margaret

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