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New Biomarker Could Aid In Melanoma Treatment

11/1/2013 1:18 PM ET

A new biomarker has been discovered that could aid in the treatment of melanoma, according to researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School. The marker is a variation in the BRAF gene that could indicate whether a targeted treatment for the gene will be effective.

Roughly half of all melanoma patients suffer from a mutation of the BRAF gene and several BRAF-targeted medications are already on the market. Using the newly identified biomarker, doctors will better be able to predict which patients will respond to BRAF drugs.

"Our study has identified decreased phosphorylation of the protein S6 after treatment with BRAF-targeted drugs as a functional biomarker that predicts sensitivity of BRAF-mutant melanomas to these drugs," the researchers said.

"As a result, we think that we can quickly determine whether or not a patient is likely to respond to a BRAF-targeted drug and help speed up treatment decisions, although we need to verify this in larger clinical studies."

by RTT Staff Writer

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