Pharmacy and Wellness Review


Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is caused primarily by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Tumor formation occurs early in disease progression and can easily metastasize. The development of the disease can be described by one of four stages, characterized by tumor size and risk of spreading. The B-rafprotein plays an important role in cell proliferation and has the ability to develop a mutation for continuous activation, resulting in uncontrolled cell growth. Sixty percent of melanomas possess a V600E mutation in the BRAF gene. Recently, drug developers have turned the focus of melanoma treatments toward preventing the activation of the mitogenactivated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and, consequently, cell proliferation is decreased and leads to cell cycle arrest. Two of the newest U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)approved medications for the treatment of melanoma are trametinib (Mekinist®) and dabrafenib (Taflinar®). It is important for pharmacists to understand the benefits, side effects and potential warnings involved with trametinib and dabrafenib so they are better able to educate their patients on these innovations in melanoma treatment.



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