My Malignant Melanoma

Seanty's experiences with Metastatic Malignant Melanoma. Part of Email us direct at

Monday, 28 September 2009


A new era

With a number of promising drugs advancing through trials, the president of the European Cancer Organisation is calling this a new era in melanoma treatment.

You can see a video of an interview with him about this, as well as the relevant presentations to the ECCO conference here.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009



Another snappy blog title...There's a new trial of the promising drug formerly known as PLX4032 or RG7204, now known as RO5185426, as Hoffmann-Roche have a collaboration agreement with the original developer (Plexxikon)

There is a phase 2 trial just started, details here. It is encouraging that this is a phase 2 trial, but they haven't published the results of the previous Phase 2 trial yet.

It's looking reasonably hopeful, as I reported back in June., and there are a couple of people on the melanoma board hoping to go on the trial.

New results for the Phase 1 extension trial are more hopeful still than the initial phase 1 trial I reported on earlier. 70% response rate (compared with about 15% for the standard treatment), one complete response (cure), and an approximate average of 30% tumour shrinkage. Other treatments have looked good at this stage, so let's not get over-excited, but looking good so far.

When viewing the response rate, it should be borne in mind that if your tumours do not have a mutation (
BRAFV600E ) which is present in 50% of melanomas, you won't get the drug, so it is only perhaps twice as good as the standard treatment in terms of response rates. The manufacturer are developing a test kit for the mutation alongside the drug to screen for people it might help.

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Thursday, 17 September 2009


No Melanoma Epidemic

The latest British Journal of Dermatology has a study which says that the rise in the number of MM cases is as a result of doctors looking too hard, rather than a genuine rise in cases.

It claims that pretty much all of the rise is accounted for by misdiagnosis of benign marks on the skin as stage 1 MM, and notes that death rates have not risen during the period, as one would expect if MM rates were genuinely higher. Abstract.

The idea that melanoma diagnosis is something of a lottery is not a new one, as an article called Pathology as Art Appreciation discussed back in 1997.

This new study obviously means that the attempts to explain away the supposed rise by reference to the increase in high intensity UV exposure during the period are unnecessary, an explanation in search of something to explain.

Of course, we cannot endorse the attempts by the Indoor Tanning Association to claim that this proves UV is not related to MM. No such conclusion is drawn by the study, though as was discussed in the BMJ a short while ago, the idea that MM is mostly caused by sun exposure is nowhere near as conclusive as it is for other skin cancers.

Saturday, 12 September 2009



I've been back from retreat for a week now, and nothing much has happened. Just before I went away I had a checkup at Notts, and I'm now three years NED. Which is nice.


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