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Exploring Treatment Options for Patients With Advanced Melanoma

Georgina V. Long, BSc, PhD, MBBS, FRACP
Published Online:5:46 PM, Thu January 9, 2020


Georgina V. Long, BSc, PhD, MBBS, FRACP, co-medical director of Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA), chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology and Translational Research at MIA and Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney, discusses the current treatment options that are approved around the world for patients with advanced melanoma. These treatments include both immunotherapies, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors, and targeted therapies.

Targeted therapies like the BRAF or MEK inhibitors work for patients harboring a BRAF mutation in their tumor. BRAF-mutated disease accounts for about 40% of all cases of advanced melanoma, Long says. However, immunotherapies are potentially available for all patients, whether they are BRAF wild-type or BRAF-mutated.

In terms of immunotherapies, immune checkpoint inhibitors are available, including drugs like the anti–CTLA-4 agent ipilimumab (Yervoy) or the anti–PD-1 agents, nivolumab (Opdivo) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda). Long adds that the combination of ipilimumab plus nivolumab is also available for the treatment of this patient population.

In conclusion, patients with BRAF-mutant advanced melanoma can receive a targeted therapy, such as a BRAF inhibitor. For those patients with BRAF wild-type disease, they can receive a checkpoint inhibitor as either a single-agent or in combination with another checkpoint inhibitor, Long concludes.
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