[4 min read] Breast cancer drug may treat mucosal melanoma

A drug typically used to treat breast cancer may also be effective in treating mucosal melanoma.

Mucosal melanoma is not linked to UV exposure and is extremely difficult to treat. It occurs on moist tissues inside the body, including the eyes, inside the mouth and nose, gastrointestinal areas and the genital tract.

There are no known risk factors for mucosal melanoma and the prognosis is very poor. Typical treatments for mucosal melanoma follow the same regime as for skin melanoma, but are not very effective. Less than 20 per cent of patients survive five years after diagnosis.

Now an international study – led by Melanoma Institute Australia and The University of Sydney – has uncovered genetic drivers for mucosal melanoma as well as potential treatments.

Utilising genome sequencing technology, researchers analysed samples of mucosal melanoma collected from around the world to learn more about the genetic abnormalities in the cancer.

The study identified that CDK4/6 – a drug inhibitor currently used to treat breast cancer – may be effective in some patients with mucosal melanoma.

This would have an immense impact on outcomes for patients diagnosed with the disease.

The next step is to develop a clinical trial to test classes of drugs and their effectiveness.

Read more recent research.

Source: Newell, F. et al. (18 July 2019.) Whole-genome landscape of mucosal melanoma reveals diverse drivers and therapeutic targets. Nature Communications. Volume 10, Article number: 3163 (2019).

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