Jason Luke, MD, FACP, on BRAF Mutations, Melanocytes and Melanoma Treatments

November 12, 2020
Jason J. Luke, MD, FACP

CancerNetwork spoke with Jason Luke, MD, FACP, at the SMR Conference regarding the latest updates on melanoma.

Jason Luke, MD, FACP of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center spoke with CancerNetwork about the latest developments regarding melanocytes, dysregulated pathways and melanoma at the SMR Conference.


Well it’s become quite clear from a number of elegant studies from people like Boris Bastian and Hunter Shane about the progression of melanocytes picking up serial dysregulated oncogenes and overexpression of certain pathways. One of the surprising features about melanoma is that the BRAF that we target with BRAF-directed targeted therapies actually develops very early in melanocytes. Even moles have BRAF mutations and obviously moles are not melanoma. It’s now becoming clear that there’s a series of stages that these lesions go through, and that really points to our ability potentially to intervene at different places in the therapeutic context. So, we’re learning more and more about that. One of the talks at the SMR Meeting is going to be about single-cell—a dissection of the melanoma tumor—and I think as we learn about which of those cells specifically, at which stages are developing those dysregulated pathways, that might tell us where to place different treatments hopefully to avoid the development of metastatic melanoma over time.