Melanoma patients can afford to have a glimmer of hope with a new treatment. The trial treatment known as PLX4032, also called RG7204, has shown significant reduction in the size of tumors in more than 80% of patients. It has been used on those who had advanced skin cancer.
The disease is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and there has been little to no advancement in the treating of it over the last twenty or so years. Paul Chapman, MD, senior author of the study and an attending physician on the Melanoma and Sarcoma Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering said “What has changed is that we learned that half of melanomas are addicted to a mutated gene called BRAF; this new targeted drug inhibits BRAF and shuts off these tumors. We have seen many tumors shrink rapidly and, in some patients, quality of life improved dramatically. This is the beginning of personalized medicine in melanoma.”
The drug has been reported to have some minor side effects that include rash, nausea, photosensitivity, fatigue, and low-grade skin tumors called squamous cell carcinoma, the keratoacanthoma type. However, these side effects are easily removable. None of the side effects reported caused a patient to come off the treatments.
This is a glitter of hope for melanoma patients since Melanoma is currently the sixth most common form of cancer in men. The cancer is the seventh most common in American women and the leading cause of cancer death in women aged 25-30.