HUNDREDS of patients with the most aggressive type of skin cancer could benefit from a drug after it was approved for use on the NHS.
Drug company Novartis said the combination of dabrafenib and trametinib has been recommended as a treatment option for the treatment of adult patients with stage III melanoma with a BRAF V600 mutation, following surgery.
More than 500 people are diagnosed with BRAF-mutated stage III melanoma in the UK every year.
Stage III melanoma means that cancer cells have spread into skin, lymph vessels or lymph glands close to the melanoma but not to more distant parts of the body.
Until now, there were no reimbursed drug treatments that offered clear benefits for these patients following surgery, and as a result, nearly half (44%) of those with BRAF V600 mutated melanoma suffer a recurrence within a year after surgery, with the risk that the cancer progresses to an incurable state.
Novartis said clinical trial results showed the drug combination reduced the risk of melanoma returning or death by more than 50%.