MPIP: Melanoma Patients Information Page

The MPIP is the oldest and largest community of people affected by melanoma hosted through the Melanoma Research Foundation. It is designed to provide support and information to caregivers, patients, family and friends. Once you have been touched by melanoma—either as a patient or as a family member or friend of a patient—you become part of a community. It is not a community anyone joins willingly. But if you must be part of this group, you will find no better place to find the tools you need in your journey with this cancer, and the friends who can make that journey more bearable.

The information on the bulletin board is open and accessible to everyone. To add a new topic or to post a reply, you must be a registered user. Please note that you will be able to post both topics and replies anonymously even though you are logged in. All posts must abide by MRF posting policies.

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bigb0624's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 12/19/2012 - 10:40pm

I was diagnosed in July, 2012 with Stage 4 melanoma in my stomach that metasticized to my liver.  In Aug. 2012 i found i was BRAF pos i started Zel and have had great success with it.  Tumors have shrunk, no new "hot spots", and feeling good.  This past week  after my PET scan showed great results my doctor wanted to plant the IPPI seed that i might have to make that switch sometime in the near future unless the Zel does continue to work for longer than the average.  The side effects of IPPI scare me.  Anyone have the this same scenario?

Big B 

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lou2's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 12/19/2012 - 9:53pm
Replies by: lou2, POW

Letter to the Editor

Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2013) 133, 274–276; doi:10.1038/jid.2012.268; published online 16 August 2012

Topical 5-Fluorouracil Elicits Regressions of BRAF Inhibitor–Induced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Amaya Viros1,2, Robert Hayward1, Matthew Martin1, Sharona Yashar3, Clarissa C Yu4, Berta Sanchez-Laorden1, Alfonso Zambon5, Dan Niculescu-Duvaz5, Caroline Springer5, Roger S Lo4 and Richard Marais1,6

  1. 1Signal Transduction Team, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK
  2. 2Seccio Dermatologia, Departament de Medicina, Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
  4. 4Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
  5. 5Gene and Oncogene Targeting Team, CR-UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit, The Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, Surrey, UK
  6. 6Molecular Oncology Laboratory, The Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, Manchester, UK

Correspondence: Richard Marais, E-mail:


CuSCCs, cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas; DMBA, 7,12-dimethylbenz-(a)anthracene; KA, keratoacanthomas; MAPK, mitogen-activated protein kinase; TPA, 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate; 5-FU, 5-fluorouracil


[Sorry, no abstract, but the title says it all.]

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Ali's picture
Replies 17
Last reply 12/19/2012 - 9:07pm

Just wanted to let you know how things are going for me.  I am happy to read some good reports from a lot of you.

A brief history:

3b 2007, 9 months of interferon

Feb 3c 2011, surgical excision (there weren't as many clinical trials out there for in transit lesions at this time, dang it!) watch and wait

Jan 2012, routine scans show multiple subqs, liver lesions, bones lesions

Jan 2012, radiation to femur and ichium

Feb 2012, high dose IL-2.  All 6 weeks.  Mixed response.  Many tumors gone by the end, many new tumors found in...

June 2012, 100ish subq tumors, 25 brain mets

June 2012, IPI and Temodar.  Within days tumors obviously shrinking.  Diarrhea also within days.

Sept 2012 scans show no brain tumors, only 4 tumors left in the body.  I only had one dose of IPI because of diarrhea, continuing on Temodar

Nov 2012 scans show resolution of one tumor, growth in the other three

My first option was an Anti-pd1 trial.  Just got back from Oregon trying to get into the BMS phase 1 comparing those who have had IPI and those who haven't.  i was rejected!  Because I couldn't finish all my doses of IPI (diarrhea).

This is lose-lose.  I would have responded, and they could have marked that response on their charts.  So I think we will radiate a couple of these and see if my immune system can pick up on the remaining tumors.  If that doesn't work we will try something else.  I am also BRAF positive (luckily), but I am trying to get as much immune response as I can before I go that route. 

Has anyone gotten into a pd1 trial after taking IPI (other than this one of BMS that I know they won't let me in)?  Any guesses on when this drug will be approved, are we talking years and years?  If we ever see it as compasionate use, will those who have a braf mutation be able to use it as compassionate use, even though there is that other (zelboraf) option out there?

This is a crazy journey.  So grateful to spend another holiday season with family.  Hope there are lots more to come for all of us.

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Sherron's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 12/19/2012 - 11:34am

I have heard nothing from her and getting concerned.

Take Care,

Sherron, wife to Jim FOREVER

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POW's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 12/19/2012 - 11:13am
Replies by: POW

My brother has run into a financial SNAFU between the VA, Medicare, Medicaid, and Moffitt. (Talk about David and Goliath!)  I posted about it on the Caregiver forum under the title Help! "Financial 'Catch 22'". I'd appreciate it if you would take a look and see if you can offer any suggestions. 

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_Paul_'s picture
Replies 12
Last reply 12/18/2012 - 7:28pm

I just found out this morning that I have been accepted into the GVAX trial at Johns Hopkins!

I originally tried in Sept. but the MRI found a tiny enhancement on my skull under where the primary was. I don't have the results of the second MRI that was taken just a few days ago, but apparently they are confident enough that it isn't a skull met that I can be in the trial.

Who knows if the trial will help me. What I do know is that it feels damn good to be doing something about it, plus regardless of the outcome these trials help expand our knowledge and get us closer to a cure. Even if something doesn't work its helpful since we know not to pursue that avanue further.

My heart goes out to all the people on this site and you are all in my prayers.

- Paul.

To exist is beyond fantastic.

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Angela C's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 12/18/2012 - 3:03pm
Replies by: TSchulz, aldakota22, POW, Swanee

Hey everyone.

Just wanted to put an update out here that I started on a new trial this week. It's a MEK and PI3K inhibitor trial. The drugs are MEK162 and BMK120. I'm in the trial at Massachusetts General. Yesterday was my first day of the trial. I'm already experiencing some vision side effects, which is a little concerning, but the doctor said that my body will adjust to the medicine as I continue to take it and the vision should get better. I feel like I have some light sensitivity, but they said it's most likely fluid buildup behind my retina. Eye side effects are a well known issue with these drugs and I'm seeing an eye doctor ever one or two weeks.

Does anyone out there have experience with a MEK and PI3K trial? I'm not sure that there have been a whole lot of people on these trials yet for Melanoma.


Be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle. -Plato

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sharmon's picture
Replies 15
Last reply 12/18/2012 - 10:02am

The Merck Anti pd 1 trial is allowing the tumor in his lung and side to enlarge, the pain to increase, and the anxiety to rise. This is less than half way through the trial and no one seems concerned. They are staying the course of the the third infusion on the 26th . They are saying it is too soon toknow for sure if it is growth or inflamation. Please pray this works like it is designed .

Login or register to post replies.'s picture
Replies 5
Last reply 12/18/2012 - 9:25am
Replies by: POW, buffcody, Gene_S, Anonymous, Josh

I'm scheduled for my first Yervoy treatment, and I'm nervous. What should i expect form the oncologist? Advance prescriptions for possible side effects? Or?

I think my oncologist knows his field, but isn't communicating the patient side of things. How do I know when another doctor would be better, and how important is having someone in the area I live in versus a hundred miles away  for that process?

Thank you very much.



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Chicago_Michelle's picture
Replies 16
Last reply 12/18/2012 - 1:20am

Hello! My mother just got diagnosed last week with melanoma. She has recently moved to the Chicago area. We don't know what stage it is yet. The next step is the surgery to remove the larger area. She also has a couple of places on her back -- one of these she was told to get checked out a year ago but she never did. 

We have an appt with Dr. Choi at the University of Chicago and another appt this week with Dr. Bines and Dr. Kaufman at Rush. We have an appt with MD Anderson on Nov 2.

Does anyone have any insight into any of these doctors or any other recommendations? We will go wherever we have to go.



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akkcak's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 12/18/2012 - 1:19am

I am stage 3 and currently in my 3rd month of interferon. I was told the new guidelines say no scans unless there is evidence. This concerns me. Wondering if others were told this by their doctor?

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jaredmiller16's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 12/18/2012 - 1:15am
Replies by: tuneseo, clientcommon, jupeter41, Anonymous

I am in Afghanistan right now, otherwise, I would have just asked my doctor, which I intend to when I get back in a few months.

I had a mole on my cheek. Although I have several questionable moles, this one was never in question. Just there.

I noticed it has raised a week ago and sure enough, it looked like there was a pimple in it. 100% sure it was a pimple.

Regretfully, I had a meeting with a General that day and did not want to have this massive pimple type mole thing on my cheek, so I popped it.

However, its been a week, the scab feel off and the mole is not even threre anymore.

How bad did I screw things up?

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NYKaren's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 12/18/2012 - 1:13am
Replies by: tuneseo, clientcommon, jupeter41, NYKaren, Anonymous

Hi all,

As most of you know, I just began a trial at Rockefeller University Hospital.  It is a trial of a topical drug called DPCP; if you Google DPCP + Melanoma + Australia, you will see that the drug has had good results in Australian trials. 

They are looking for about 10-12 more recruits.  The team came highly recommended by my docs at Sloan Kettering.  The trial # for is NCT01711684.

I went this morning for "Day 0 Visit".  They took 2 biopsies, one each of a mel met and of healthy skin on my leg.  Also did ultrasound, etc.  They put sensitizing doses of the drug on a few places, now I get to watch and wait and hope for a reaction in 14 days.  Yup, hoping for a rash!

I hope this is of help to someone(s).

All the best,


Don't Stop Believing

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awillett1991's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 12/18/2012 - 1:08am

Literally JUST finishing my 2nd dose of IPI and got scheduled for a brain MRI Thursday and extra labs to check pituitary due to extremely low (.03)!! TSH and very minor headache. Cortisol and Total T4 are completely normal. My doc actually called my labs"wacky". Talking about steroids again although I just got off these for stopping Zel. Can anyone shed any light on this? If you have pituitary problems and need steroids can you continue on Yervoy??


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NYKaren's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 12/17/2012 - 9:06pm

Hi everyone,

I read on here (I think) that someone was retested for BRAF and came back positive.  So I went to Dr. Wolchok and said that I'd read that someone was re-tested after a recurrence...long story short, he called me tonight and told that I AM BRAF POSITIVE!!!  He was surprised, and so was Dr. Halpern (my onc derm who did the biopsy) and they couldn't wait to give me the news!  Needless to say, I burst out in tears on the phone.  I really love my team at Sloan.

So I am to start Zelboraf.  As many of you know, I'm stage IIIc unresectable--had an immediate recurrence after resection, so I've had mel for 2 years now.  thankfully, unless something shows on next week's PET scan, it's remained cutaneous,  but is goes from my scalp down under my chin and one side of my neck.  It is also in my ear canal and I'm at high risk for losing my hearing and my ear.  It has noticeably traveled further down the canal recently.  

I'm in in a clinical trial for DCPC, I actually have an appointment tomorrow...I am due for a biopsy there, and Dr. Wolchok says it's up to them if they want to keep me.  I can't put my hands on the trial documents, so I don't know if I'm allowed to be on another treatment at the same time.   It's pretty early in the game to see if the DCPC is working, but I'm certainly not going to let an opportunity to be on Z go by.  

Dr. W. confirmed that they are using a new BRAF test, we we really don't know if it's because I'm dealing with recurrence or it's the test.

I'll keep you posted.

Hey Al, maybe it was your good vibes!

hugs to everyone,


Don't Stop Believing

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