New Essentials in Practice for the Treatment and Management of Advanced Melanoma

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Release Date: March 27, 2012
Expiration Date: March 27, 2013

Expected time to complete this activity as designed: 60 minutes
There are no fees for participating in or receiving credit for this online activity.

Program Overview

Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer for males and sixth most common for females. Women aged 39 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer. In the United States, incidence of many common cancers is falling, but the incidence of melanoma continues to rise at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers. While melanoma accounts for less than 5% of skin cancer cases, it causes more than 75% of skin cancer deaths.

Until recently, common agents for advanced melanoma in community practice were limited to dacarbazine, temozolomide, high-dose interleukin-2 and paclitaxel with or without carboplatin or cisplatin. It has been suggested that the poor response rates and lack of impact on overall survival, characteristic of these older agents, led to the absence of consensus regarding a standard therapy for advanced melanoma patients. However, representing a major advance, two new treatments have recently become available with the approval of ipilimumab, an anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody, and vemurafenib, a BRAF kinase inhibitor for advanced melanoma. Clinical trials exploring these two novel therapies have demonstrated that they offer significant improvement in patient survival, thus addressing a critical medical need. As such, a broad consensus of best practice regarding advanced melanoma is now emerging. These recently approved agents work differently and have unique efficacy, safety, and response profiles. This activity explains the differences between these two options and how to tailor therapy specifically to individual advanced melanoma patients to optimize outcomes including sequencing of these drugs, monitoring requirements, anticipated types of responses, time to response, and duration of response, as well as side effects and methods to mitigate their occurrence and/or severity.

Target Audience

This activity is designed for physicians, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurses, and other health care professionals who have an interest in enhancing their clinical skills in the treatment of advanced melanoma.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this educational activity, participants should be able to:

  • Compare and contrast mechanisms of action as well as efficacy and safety data for new systemic therapies for advanced melanoma
  • Propose treatment plans that incorporate appropriate practices for advanced melanoma including appropriate screening tests, monitoring of responses to treatment, and risk evaluation and mitigation strategies


Safety and Efficacy Data for New Systemic Therapies for Advanced Melanoma − John M. Kirkwood, MD
Advanced Melanoma Patient Cases Studies Keith T. Flaherty, MD

Instructions for Participation and Credit

This activity is eligible for credit through March 27, 2013. After this date, this activity will expire and no further credit will be awarded.
1. Read the target audience, learning objectives, and faculty disclosures.
2. You may be asked to complete a short pre-test before accessing the educational content. This must be completed in order to move forward in the activity.
3. Complete the educational content as designed.
4. Complete the post-test. To receive a certificate, you must receive a passing score of 70%.
5. Complete the activity evaluation survey to provide feedback and information useful for future programming.
6. Certificates may be printed immediately after successfully completing the post-test and activity evaluation.

Faculty Biographies

John M. Kirkwood, MD
Division of Medical Oncology
Department of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dr. John Kirkwood received his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He then completed an internship in medicine and a residency in internal medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital, as well as a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. Dr. Kirkwood is currently director of the Melanoma Center, University of Pittsburgh, and a consulting attending physician at the Pittsburgh VA Medical Center.     

Dr. Kirkwood is certified by National Board of Medical Examiners (Part I, II, III) and American Board of Internal Medicine (medicine and medical oncology). He holds memberships in numerous professional and scientific organizations including the American Federation for Clinical Research, American Society for Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG), and the National Cancer Foundation, just to name a few. Dr. Kirkwood has written hundreds of peer-reviewed journal articles and abstracts on the treatment and management of melanoma.

In addition, Dr. Kirkwood conducts research on the molecular and biological changes moles undergo as they transform into melanoma. These studies are aimed at providing earlier detection methods and means to prevent this cancer. He is leading a number of clinical trials with cancer vaccines to spur the body’s own immune system into recognizing and destroying melanoma. Dr. Kirkwood has also received international acclaim for leading a multicenter study of his pioneering work with biological treatments for treating patients with high-risk melanoma.

Keith T. Flaherty, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Director of Developmental Therapeutics
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Keith Flaherty received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University. He completed his internship and residency in medicine from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and his fellowship in medical oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Flaherty’s is currently associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, as well as director of developmental therapeutics at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center.

Since arriving at MGH, the focus on Dr. Flaherty’s research has been to understand the mechanisms of resistance to BRAF targeted therapy. He was recently awarded a grant from the Melanoma Research Alliance to support these investigations. In addition, he is principal investigator of numerous first-in-human clinical trials with novel targeted therapies. In his outpatient practice, Dr. Flaherty takes care of patients with advanced melanoma (either metastatic or high-risk for recurrence).

Dr. Flaherty is senior editor for Clinical Cancer Research, a member of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Melanoma Staging Committee, the Melanoma and Genitourinary Cancer Steering Committees for the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG), and American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). He received the Jane Alavi Award for the outstanding clinical researcher in the Abramson Cancer Center and the ECOG Young Investigator Award. Dr. Flaherty is internationally known for expertise in clinical and translational research directed against signal transduction pathways in melanoma.


Accreditation Statement: MediCom Worldwide, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
Designation Statement: MediCom Worldwide, Inc. designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity

MediCom Worldwide, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. This activity is acceptable for 1.0 contact hour of Continuing Education Credit. Universal Activity Number: 827-0000-12-312-H01-P. Knowledge-based CPE activity.

In order for CPE Monitor to authenticate credit, pharmacists/technicians must provide their e-Profile ID number from NABP and date of birth (in MMDD format) when registering for a CPE program. Please make sure to provide this information in your Member Profile accessed through the Member Center on the home page of this site.

Accreditation Statement: MediCom Worldwide, Inc., 101 Washington Street, Morrisville, PA 19067 is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP11380. MediCom designates this CNE activity for 1.0 contact hour.  Program Number: 12-312-281


As an organization accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and California State Board of Registered Nursing, MediCom Worldwide, Inc. requires everyone who is a position to control the content of an educational activity to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest. The ACCME defines “relevant financial relationships” as financial relationships in any amount, occurring within the past 12 months, including financial relationships of a spouse or life partner, that could create a conflict of interest. Accordingly, the following disclosures were made.

Faculty Disclosures

Dr. John Kirkwood has received honoraria related to speakers’ bureau activities from GlaxoSmithKline plc and Merck & Co., Inc.

Dr. Keith Flaherty has received honoraria as a consultant from F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. and GlaxoSmithKline plc.

Planning Committee Disclosures

The individuals listed below from MediCom Worldwide, Inc. reported the following for this activity: Joan Meyer, RN, MHA, executive director, and Eugene Tombler, PhD, medical director-oncology have no relevant financial relationships.

Peer Reviewer Disclosure

In accordance with MediCom Worldwide, Inc. policy, all content is reviewed by external independent peer reviewers for balance, objectivity and commercial bias. The peer reviewers have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Off-Label Disclosures/Investigational Disclosures

This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA. The opinions expressed in the educational activity are those of the faculty. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings. Further, attendees/participants should appraise the information presented critically and are encouraged to consult appropriate resources for any product or device mentioned in this program.

Dr. Kirkwood and Dr. Flaherty have indicated that they intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics or diagnostics approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the US.

Dr. Kirkwood and Dr. Flaherty have indicated that they intend to discuss investigational drugs, mechanical devices, biologics or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the US.

Hardware/Software/Internet Requirements

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If you have any questions or concerns regarding this activity, please contact MediCom Worldwide, Inc. at 1-800-408-4242 or email us at

Provided by MediCom Worldwide, Inc.

This activity is supported by an educational grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb

©2012 MediCom Worldwide, Inc., 101 Washington St., Morrisville, PA 19067, 800-408-4242.
No portion of this material may be copied or duplicated without the expressed permission of MediCom Worldwide, Inc.

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