BRAF Gene in Melanoma

Last Modified: May 20, 2011

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I've seen in the media recently the new drug that targets the BRAF gene in melanoma and how it is having unprecedented success for this patient population. Can you talk to what exactly this means and how patients can find out if they are eligible for these clinical trials?

Answer

Leslie A. Fecher, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Abramson Cancer Center, responds:

The BRAF gene has been found to be abnormal, or mutated, in roughly half of all melanomas. There are drugs, called BRAF inhibitors, currently under investigation in clinical trials that target this mutated protein and have shown great success. These trials are for people with advanced melanoma, not for people whose tumors have been removed surgically. If you have advanced melanoma, please speak with your doctor to determine if you may be a candidate for one of these trials or for referral to a hospital that is participating in a study. Alternatively, you may contact a participating hospital on your own for information. Testing a tumor for the presence of the BRAF mutation can be done in some hospitals and many trials require BRAF testing as a part of the study.

There are more questions and answers related to melanoma from the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat on melanoma & sun safety. View View the entire transcript on Sun Safety.



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