Common Medications and Treatments for Metastatic Melanoma
Treatment goals include:
- Prolonging life
- Shrinking growth of known metastases
- Preventing spread at new sites
- Giving emotional as well as physical support
Depending on the nature of metastases, treatment may involve drugs, surgery and/or radiation. Generally, a cure is not possible.
|Treatment Category||How the Treatment Works|
|Works with your immune system to slow or stop cancer cell growth
1) Interleukin-2: Stops growth for as much as 5 years. Given three times a day for 5 days, twice each month as inpatient
2) Ipilimumab: Stimulates the immune system to react against melanomas, given once every 3 weeks for a 4-dose total.
(E.G. vemurafenib, dabrafenib, trametinib)
|Inhibits specific enzymes or molecules needed by cancer cells
Blocks the specific protein made by cells containing a specific mutation in one gene (BRAF).
May also block the pathway that the protein stimulates for tumor growth, making the tumor shrink.
|Chemotherapy||Stops or slows cancer cell growth by inhibiting cell division or reproduction
This is not as effective as immunotherapy and so it’s not used as primary treatment with advanced disease.
|Surgery||Option used when spread limited to one or a few sites. Rarely curative and approach used to relieve pain or discomfort (as in brain or lungs)|
|Radiation Therapy||Shrinks tumors and prevents development of new tumors.|
|Hospice||Suggested when patient deemed to have only 6 months to live.
Support is to reduce suffering and family as well as patient needs.