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ECCO 2017 | Development of novel treatments in melanoma patients with BRAF mutations

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Dirk Schadendorf

Dirk Schadendorf, MD, PhD, from the University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany, discusses the development of novel drugs in the treatment of melanoma at the European Cancer Congress of the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO) 2017 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Approximately 40% of metastatic melanoma patients have BRAF mutations, and it can be difficult to decide what the best course of action is for these patients. Current available treatments include MEK, BRAF, and checkpoint inhibitors. There are clinical trials currently underway to address this problem, for example, a Phase II trial investigating the efficacy of the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab has shown that there is potential for 60% of patients to achieve a 2 year survival rate. MEK inhibitors and atezolizumab as monotherapies improve progression free survival by approximately 4-5 months, however, when combined, this can increase to more than a year. Despite these promising results, Dr Schadendorf states that clinical trials must continue, as they are the best way of getting access to innovation.

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