A new clinical drug in the early testing phase shows promise in the fight against skin cancer. The new pill, called PLX4032, targets a specific gene mutation of the BRAF gene – joining a long line of new cancer treatments that target specific genes.
While only the first phase of testing has been done (on a small group of participants), 70 percent of patients with the gene mutation experienced shrinking of their malignant tumors. Giving hope to the researchers for a breakthrough in skin cancer treatment, more testing has been scheduled for late 2009 and early 2010.
The BRAF gene mutation (which the new pill is hoping to treat) contributes to about 60 percent of melanoma cases. As you have read about in our previous blogs, melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer and patient survival rate is significantly smaller when the melanoma spreads. That is why it is so important to gets your moles checked regularly by a board certified dermatologist and to report abnormalities you find on your skin. For melanoma, you should look for dark, either brown or black lesions. Melanoma is usually in the shape of a mole, sore, lump, or growth on the skin so you should be observant of any moles changing size, shape, elevation, or color.
If you find a spot on your skin that is of concern or if you just need to come in for a routine mole check, contact the office of Dermatology Associates of Atlanta.