Mutations in the NRAS gene, such as the NRAS Q61 mutation, result in the production of an abnormal protein that can fuel the growth of melanoma. The purpose of this study is to compare the effectiveness of an investigational drug called MEK162 with a standard chemotherapy drug for melanoma, dacarbazine, in patients with inoperable stage III or metastatic (stage IV) melanomas that contain the NRAS Q61 mutation
MEK162 inhibits a protein called MEK1/2, which drives cancer growth. Preliminary evidence suggests that MEK162 may be effective against melanoma in patients with the NRAS Q61 mutation. In this study, patients will be randomly assigned to receive either MEK162 (two-thirds of the patients) or dacarbazine (the remaining third), but not both.
MEK162 is taken orally (by mouth), while dacarbazine is given intravenously.