Malignant MelanomaThe most deadly form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma occurs when some cells in the skin begin to develop abnormally. If not treated early, the condition can spread rapidly to the lymph nodes and other organs. Tests performed to investigate the outlook of the condition include sentinel lymph node biopsy, completion lymph node dissection or completion lymphadenectomy.

A recent study carried out by researchers from the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute and the Institute of Cancer Research London has found two new chemicals that show anti-cancer properties for melanoma with a specific gene mutation that can make it resistant to existing treatments. The two promising compounds which inhibit melanoma development have shown successful results in laboratory tests and are now set for clinical trials.

The compounds, named CCT196969 and CCT241161, are part of a family called panRAF inhibitors. These inhibitors disrupt the messages a cancer uses to co-ordinate its growth but work using a slightly different mechanism from existing signaling inhibitors.

The team wanted to find new ways of treating malignant melanoma with specific mutation in the BRAF gene which is drug resistant. According to the researchers, existing inhibitors are initially effective to treat melanoma with specific mutation in the BRAF gene. However, in many cases the cancer returns as the drugs stop working, while in other cases, the drugs do not work very well.

The compounds were tested on mice, given orally as a liquid and an injection into a vein. Some experiments involved testing them on human cells cultured in the laboratory. The authors have said that the next stage for research is small-scale, clinical trials to determine if these chemicals have potential for being developed into drugs that could be available to treat people.