Malignant melanoma

New therapies for malignant melanoma

Progress but no cure for malignant melanoma

Cutaneous melanoma is one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer, and is connected with the majority of skin cancer-related deaths. In recent years, therapy for cutaneous melanoma has advanced significantly through identification of new therapeutic targets and the development of novel immunotherapeutic agents. The identification of BRAF as well as other driver mutations, have allowed for targeted treatment. In addition, immune checkpoint inhibition has radically changed the treatment options over the past years. But there is still a high medical need to improve treatment and increase long term survival of melanoma patients.

Lower risk of melanoma recurrence with checkpoint inhibitor nivolimab

Early study results from the trial Checkmate-238 indicate that nivolimab may have reduced cancer recurrence rate in melanoma patients who have undergone surgical removal of the cancer.

AXL kinase inhibitor for treatment of advanced melanoma

AXL overexpression drives cancer formation, tumour angiogenesis, resistance to chemotherapeutic, and decreased antitumor immune response. Several AXL inhibitors are currently in preclinical and clinical development, also for the treatment of melanoma.

Next steps for improving melanoma survival

Clinical benefit of targeted therapies is usually transient in melanoma patients because of the rapid emergence of drug resistance. Identifying strategies to overcome resistance to targeted therapies and increase the proportion of responders to immunotherapies are the important next steps in melanoma drug discovery research.