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Melanoma Patient Network Europe

The latest developments 

in Melanoma therapies 

Melanoma therapies evolve- thankfully- fast. Unfortunately, this means that websites are easily out of date.

For this reason, this page is only intended for basic information on the new and effective Melanoma therapies that have been approved since 2011.

We post and discuss the latest developments in our MPNE forums:

Join our MPNE facebook group - questions are always welcome.

Please note this a closed group for Melanoma patients and advocates only.

know what to look for

With so many new drugs in Melanoma, it can be difficult to keep an overview.

Same drug, different names

When a new drug is first tested in a clinical trial, it usually only has an identifier- a letter combination with a number. 

Once it proves useful, the substance gets a NAME.

And once that drug is approved by the regulatory authorities like EMA in Europe or FDA in US and gets commercialised (sold), it gets a further commercial name: the one you see on the packet.

Finding relevant information can therefore be complicated- the same drug can go by 3 different names!  

Two different classes of Melanoma therapies

Broadly, new Melanoma drugs fall into 2 categories: targeted therapy and immunotherapies. And neither of them is chemotherapy!

The links behind the names will lead you to the EMA website where you can find out when the drug was approved and under which conditions.

Targeted therapies

Currently available in Melanoma for patients whose tumors carry the BRAF mutation. Drugs are small molecules coming in the form of pills that one needs to take daily and that specifically block the mutated protein- so they only work for these patients.

In the future, there will hopefully also be other targeted therapies for patients with BRAF wild-type, NRAS- or c-KIT mutated Melanoma available.

Combining a BRAF inhibitor with a MEK inhibitor has been shown to increase the effect on the signalling pathway the Melanoma crucially depends on, the MAP-Kinase pathway- it's a double road-block instead of a single one.

BRAF inhibitors

VEMURAFENIB , marketed as Zelboraf.

DABRAFENIB, marketed as Taflinar.

ENCORAFENIB, marketed as Braftovi.

MEK inhibitors

TRAMETINIB, marketed as ​Mekinist.

COBIMETINIBmarketed as Cotellic.

BINIMETINIBmarketed as Mektovi.

Immune therapies

Immune therapies use the bodies own immune system to flight Melanoma. Watch the video for a good explanation and an overview of common side effects.

Checkpoint inhibitors 

Normally, our immune system has in-built 'brakes' to prevent over-shooting immune activity (this would be an auto-immune disease). Checkpoint inhibitors block specific 'brakes' in the immune system- so the body continues to attack the Melanoma. 

Checkpoint inhibitors are antibodies requiring a perfusion every 2 or 3 weeks.  There are a number of different schemes, some with an induction and/ or maintenance. 

CTL-4 antibody

IPILIMUMABmarketed as Yervoy.

PD-1 antibodies

PEMBROLIZUMAB, marketed as Keytruda.

NIVOLUMAB, marketed as Opdivo.

Other immune therapy


A modified Herpes virus that gets injected into the tumour and helps the body to recognise and attack the Melanoma. Marketed as Imlygic.

​Further- these are therapies that are currently tested but not approved yet, will get finished when I find the time-

- ​Immuntherapies using T-cells or dendritic cells from the patients' own body.

- Local injections into tumors with different substances in order to stimulate an immune-response.

last updated 17th October 2018 BR

Know the latest melanoma drugs