Dacarbazine is a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat advanced melanoma. However, the cancer often continues to grow despite this treatment. In this study, researchers want to compare the drug nilotinib (Tasigna) with dacarbazine for the treatment of patients with metastatic or inoperable melanoma that harbors a mutation in the c-Kit gene.
Patients will receive one drug or the other. If patients initially receive dacarbazine and the cancer continues to grow, they will have the opportunity to then receive nilotinib.
Nilotinib is already approved for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), but its use in patients with melanoma is considered investigational. It works by blocking the c-Kit protein. Imatinib — a drug like nilotinib that is also used to treat CML — has been shown to slow or stop the growth of c-Kit-mutated melanoma in some patients.