New Dye Could Tag Melanomas That Aren't Dark

Surgeons may be able to see—and remove—skin cancers completely, thanks to a new compound that tags tumors. Called BLZ-100, the experimental compound combines a fluorescent dye with a protein fragment that binds cancer cells. A phase I clinical trial of intravenously injected BLZ-100 will soon be underway in Australia, enrolling up to 30 people with basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, or melanomas that lack the dark pigment melanin, making them hard to diagnose. In addition, U.S. clinical trials are expected for other kinds of tumors by the end of 2014.


Noninvasive Melanoma Diagnosis May Cut Biopsies

A new way to detect melanomas sidesteps the discomfort and disfiguration of biopsies by letting dermatologists look directly into intact skin. Called confocal microscopy, the method shows cells deep enough to distinguish most skin cancers—including melanomas, basal cell carcinomas, and squamous cell carcinomas—from benign lesions that do not need treatment. According to a dermatologist who is trained in this method, confocal microscopy could ultimately spare half of patients from biopsies.


Plexxikon updates Zelboraf Phase 1 data on BRAF V600E mutation-positive melanoma

Plexxikon today announced that updated Phase 1 clinical data of Zelboraf (vemurafenib) were presented at the Society for Melanoma Research (SMR) 2012 Congress, held November 8-11 in Los Angeles, CA.


Combined BRAF and MEK Inhibition Improves Outcome in Metastatic Melanoma

The combination of dabrafenib and trametinib is safe and effective in BRAF-mutant melanoma.


PLOS ONE: The Prognostic Value of BRAF Mutation in Colorectal Cancer and Melanoma: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

PLOS ONE: an inclusive, peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE. Reports of well-performed scientific studies from all disciplines freely available to the whole world.


How necessary is a sentinel node biopsy for melanoma?

A new report weighs the pros and cons of a sentinel node biopsy for melanoma patients.


National Cancer Institute Report shows cancer death rates dropping for most but not all cancers

The Annual Report on the status of cancer shows a decline in cancer deaths from major cancers including lung, colorectal, prostate, and breast, but some cancer deaths continue to increase specifically for men with melanoma as well as for those with liver, uterine, and pancreatic cancers.


Sorafenib does not improve survival in metastatic melanoma Phase III Trial Shows

Sorafenib plus chemotherapy did not improve the overall survival of metastatic melanoma patients not previously treated with chemotherapy. The trial results are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.


Wound Complications after Inguinal Lymph Node Lower Than Previously Reported Than in Previous Single Institution Trials

Of 281 cutaneous melanoma patients undergoing inguinal lymph node (ILND) dissection, 14% had wound complications, a rate much lower than those reported in previous single institution studies. In a multivariable model, obesity, and diabetes were significantly associated with wound complications. There was no difference in the rate of reoperation in patients with and without wound complications. The study concludes that the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) appears to underreport the actual incidence of wound complications after ILND.