Targeted therapy (Molecular targeted therapy) - a type of treatment that uses drugs aimed at specific molecules (usually proteins) involved in the growth of malignant cells, limiting their impact on healthy cells.
This type of treatment in the clinic Assuta recommended for inoperable or metastatic melanoma mutation BRAF V600.
Drugs targeted therapy for melanoma
About half of this type of tumors have mutations in the BRAF gene known as BRAF V600. They induce the synthesis of the modified protein BRAF, stimulating the growth and division of melanoma cells. Drugs have been developed aimed at the mutation, they are taken orally: vemurafenib (Zelboraf), dabrafenib (Tafinlar), trametinib (Mekinist).
A small part of this type of skin cancer have mutations in the C-KIT gene, which contribute to their growth. These changes are characteristic of melanoma in certain parts of the body:
- On the palms of the hands, soles of the feet or under the nails.
- Inside the mouth or other mucous membranes.
- In areas that receive constant exposure to ultraviolet rays.
Some drugs targeted therapies used to treat other cancers, such as imatinib (Gleevec) and nilotinib (Tasigna), have an effect on cells with mutations in the C-KIT. These drugs may be useful in the treatment of this type of skin cancer.
Side effects of targeted therapies for melanoma
Side effects of the treatment of melanoma characteristic of any type of therapy, however, not observed in every patient, moreover, have varying degrees of symptoms. Undesirable effects depend on the dose of the drug and the person's general health.
Time of their appearance is different: in the course of treatment, immediately after graduation, after several days or weeks. Most of the side effects goes away after treatment, but some of them remain. The occurrence of the most recent signs noted in a few months or even years.
It is important to notify the medical team about the presence of these phenomena, as doctors determine the degree of seriousness and coordinate the process of treatment.
Here are the most common side effects that occur in people with a targeted melanoma therapy . Patients may experience all of these, only some, or none, as well as other symptoms.
Nausea and vomiting
These unwanted effects of treatment occur within the first few hours after ingestion of drugs and usually last about one day. Later, however, nausea and vomiting may occur for several days after treatment.
Alopecia is a side effect of a targeted melanoma therapy . The degree and duration of the process is unpredictable. These factors depend on the type and dose of medications, as well as the individual characteristics of the organism. Hair loss can occur on all parts of the body, including the face and scalp. This side effect may begin in a few days or 2-3 weeks after starting treatment. Usually at the end of treatment the hair grows back.
During therapy of melanoma, do not expose the hair perm, straightening or coloring, since the procedures damage the body structure. It is recommended to wait for new hair growth to become stronger, and they return to the original state. It may take 6 months or more after the treatment of melanoma. On this issue, you should consult with your doctor.
Many drugs targeted therapy for melanoma can cause skin rash, itching or other pathological reactions. They usually develop slowly, from a few days to a few weeks. In the case of the doctors need to prescribe medication to relieve skin irritation.
Sensitivity to sunlight
This type of medication can make the skin very sensitive to sunlight. It is recommended to avoid UV rays during therapy of melanoma. Being outdoors, protect your skin from the sun by closing clothing and applying sunscreen.
Pain in the joints
Pain in muscles and joints are a common side effect of targeted therapy for melanoma. These symptoms often occur immediately after treatment, but decreases over time.