Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill or slow down the growth of cancer cells. While chemotherapies are no longer used very often in the treatment of cutaneous melanoma with the recent advances in immunotherapy and targeted therapies, chemotherapies are utilized in some cases where melanoma is resistant to these newer approaches. In addition, chemotherapy is emerging as a potential tool in the treatment of metastatic uveal and mucosal melanomas.
What is Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill or slow down the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs work by interfering with the ability of cancer cells to divide and multiply. Chemotherapies can be administered as a pill, by mouth, or as an injection/infusion into a blood vein.
Some types of chemotherapy agents that can be used to treat melanoma include:
- Dacarbazine (also called DTIC)
- Temozolomide (Temodar)
With the latest advances research, chemotherapies are seldomly used, outside of clinical trials, for patients with cutaneous melanoma. They are however used in the treatment of metastatic uveal melanoma that has spread to the liver.
Newest Chemotherapy Approach for Metastatic Uveal Melanoma
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved one chemotherapy for the treatment of melanoma:
The Melanoma Research Alliance is the largest, non-profit funder of melanoma research worldwide. Since 2007, we have directly funded over $150 million in innovative grants to improve prevention, detection, and treatment of melanoma. We have also leveraged an additional $415 million in outside funds for research. Learn more about our funded research.
Last updated: August 2023