Stage III Melanoma


If your melanoma is shown to have a BRAF mutation when it is sent for genetic testing, then targeted therapy with a BRAF inhibitor drug is a suitable option for you.  Approximately 40% patients are found to have this mutation.  BRAF inhibitor drugs have not been shown to work unless you have a BRAF mutation. A BRAF inhibitor (dabrafenib) is usually given in combination with a MEK (another building block) inhibitor drug (trametinib).  They are both protein inhibitors that target tumour growth pathways, slowing down cell growth and division, thereby blocking the growth and the spread of the melanoma.  They are tablets or capsules which are taken daily.



  • Dabrafenib and Trametinib used in combination form a double blockade and the combination of the two inhibitors (BRAF inhibitor and MEK inhibitor) has shown significantly improved survival.Dabrafenib + Trametinib taken orally with a recommended dose and schedule of Dabrafenib 150 mg (2 of 75 mg capsules) twice daily with Trametinib 2 mg tablet once daily.
  • For stage III disease, adjuvant treatment is given for 1 year or unless unacceptable side effects occur.
  • For unresectable stage III and stage IV disease, the treatment will be continued until the treatment doesn’t work or unacceptable side effects occur.

Your doctor will discuss with you the probabilities of treatments working and the potential side effects.  More information on dabrafenib and trametinib, including potential side effects, can be found here


All cancer drug therapies are associated with some side effects that may impact on daily life to a lesser or greater extent.

The most common side effects associated with dabrafenib include skin dryness, soreness or itching, headaches, feeling sick, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, loss of energy, fever, joint pain and light sensitivity.  More information on dabrafenib, including potential side effects, can be found here.

The most common side effects associated with trametinib include rashes, diarrhoea, tiredness, feeling sick, joint pains, swelling of the ankles and feet and skin problems.  More information on Trametinib, including potential side effects can be found here