Treatment of Metastatic Melanoma—Evolution from Monotherapy to Combination Therapies


The most prevalent genetic alteration identified in melanoma is a mutation in the BRAF gene that increases the activity of the BRAF protein. As many as 50% of melanoma tumors express a BRAF mutation; the most common is the V600E mutation, found in 80% to 90% of BRAF-mutant patients. The first targeted therapy developed for melanoma, vemurafenib, directly inhibits the BRAF protein. In August 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vemurafenib for treatment of metastatic melanoma with the BRAF V600E mutation. Now, a second BRAF inhibitor, dabrafenib, and a MEK inhibitor, trametinib, have been filed with the FDA for treatment of metastatic melanoma and several late-stage dabrafenib plus trametinib combination trials are underway. Continue reading…


Using Gene Expression to Predict Chemotherapy Benefit in NSCLC


The decision to seek additional treatment after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) can be difficult, because chemotherapy responses can be highly patient-specific and are often accompanied by serious adverse symptoms. Discovering genetic signatures that are associated with good treatment outcomes could help identify patients who are likely to benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. A new study in Clinical Cancer Research used this approach to isolate 12 genes that predict chemotherapy success in early-stage NSCLC. Continue reading…