~ 090909 Malignant Melanoma May Respond To Breast Cancer Drug

Melanoma tumors with particular genetic mutations might respond to the drug lapatinib, already licensed for treating breast cancer tumors. Such a therapy would treat malignant melanoma in advanced stages with the common mutation called ERBB4 or HER4.

The study, conducted by the US National Human Genome Research Institute opens the door to pursuing specific therapies that may prove useful for the treatment of melanoma with ERBB4 mutations. It also highlights a new approach to cancer research and treatment in which cancers are categorized according to the pattern of genetic mutations present.

Drugs that can target precise mutations could then be selected to personalize treatment to a tumor's genetic characteristics. Tumors occuring in different parts of the body might sometimes be amenable to similar treatment strategies if they share similar genetic mutations, such as the breast and the skin.

News source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/medicine/article6815648.ece

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