Smartphone Applications for Melanoma Diagnosis Are Not All Ready for Primetime

Researchers assessed latest apps that claim to help diagnose questionable moles as melanoma. The performance of the apps is highlight variable- 3 of 4 apps incorrectly classified one-third of melanomas as “not concerning”.

New Driver Mutations of Malignant Melanoma Discovered

Researchers at the Dana-Farber and Broad Institute in Boston identified 2 mutations that collectively occur in 71 percent of malignant melanoma tumors making them more common than the BRAF mutation. These highly “recurrent” mutations may be the most common mutations in melanoma cells found to date. The mutations are located in non-protein-coding DNA that regulates the activity of genes, both located in the promoter region of TERT, the telomerase enzyme

IL-17E immunotherapy from Lorus Therapeutics in Partnership with Cancer UK is Prepping for Cancer Clinical Trials

Still in the pre-clinical stages, IL-17E immunotherapy is slated to enter clincial tirals as monotherapy and combo therapy for cancers including melanoma, pancreatic, gastric, colon, ovarian, breast, and lung cancers.

Melanoma Researchers Advocate for Targeted Therapy-Immunotherapy Combination Approaches

Melanoma researchers from the U.S. and Australia highlight that the recent success of targeted agents and immunotherapies for treatment of melanoma should be tested in combination clinical trials, particularly in the adjuvant setting

Long-term Follow-up and Survival of Patients Following a Recurrence of Melanoma After a Negative Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Result

Retrospective analysis of 520 melanoma patients with a negative sentinel lymph node biopsy showed an overall recurrence rate of 16%, with median follow-up of 61 months. For recurrences in the sampled nodal basin, the false-negative rate was 4%. Age, Breslow thickness, ulceration, and head and neck lesions significantly predicted recurrence.

Which drug, and when, for patients with BRAF-mutant melanoma?

Review of the available data to best guide initial treatment choice and the sequence of treatments for patients with BRAF Val600 mutant melanoma.

Dabrafenib Bests Chemotherapy and May be Safer than Vemurafenib

A clinical trial found that dabrafenib, a BRAF inhibitor, was far more effective in treating melanomas that have BRAF mutations than the chemotherapy drug dacarbazine, according to a report at an American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. Patients treated with this drug lived without getting worse for 70% longer than those treated with dacarbazine (5.1 vs. 2.7 months, respectively). Moreover, compared to those treated with vemurafenib in other studies, dabrafenib-treated patients had less risk of another kind of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. This suggests that dabrafenib, which is experimental, could be safer than vemurafenib, which is FDA approved.

Ipilimumab Could Treat Small Melanomas in the Brain

A study in The Lancet shows that the drug ipilimumab could treat melanomas that have spread to the brain, particularly in people who do yet not have neurological symptoms. Of 51 such patients treated with ipilimumab, 12 had tumors in the brain that shrank or did not get worse and 14 had tumors outside the brain that shrank or did not get worse. Ipilimumab (Yervoy) is an immune system booster that the FDA has approved for treating advanced melanomas.

Primary source:

Drug Targets Two Common Melanoma Mutations

An experimental drug could help control some melanomas that have BRAF or NRAS mutations, according to a report at an American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. Tumors shrank or did not get worse in 8 out of 35 patients with the most common BRAF mutation (V600E), and in 6 out of 28 patients with NRAS mutations. This is the first targeted treatment for melanomas that have NRAS mutations. BRAF and NRAS mutations can activate a protein called MEK that is involved in cell division. The experimental drug, which is called MEK162, is a MEK inhibitor. The side effects of MEK162, which included diarrhea, rashes and swelling, were manageable.