A severe form of cancer, melanoma is commonly known as skin cancer. The population residing at higher altitude levels or in the close proximity to the equator, is the most susceptible to melanoma, as the symptoms are prominently initiated post-exposure to UV radiation that results in blistering sunburns. If diagnosed early in stage 0, melanoma can be surgically cured to almost 100%; however, when the disease metastizes in a body, it becomes strenuous to treat it due to the availability of a restricted range of treatment options. The selection of treatment line or systemic drug therapy entirely depends on the stage of melanoma.
Metastatic melanoma is the most severe stage (IV) of skin cancer that occurs when melanoma penetrates the skin deeper to reach various parts of a body, predominantly the subcutaneous tissue layer under the skin, lungs, bones, liver, brain, and lymph nodes. In the most severe case of metastasis, the gastrointestinal tract, adrenal glands, spleen, and heart can also be affected. Currently, only a limited set of therapies are available to promisingly treat burgeoning cases of metastatic melanoma patients. The disease thus requires more efficient and effective treatment options.
The prevalence of skin cancer in rising since the past few years (American Academy of Dermatology), which prompts at the growing demand for treatment options. The global metastatic melanoma market is driven by proven diagnostics and therapeutics, and has positive prospects following the ongoing research findings to treat the disease and extend patients’ life span. Technological developments and improving sophistication in healthcare facilities worldwide is a major factor supporting the market growth. Government initiatives related to early diagnosis and treatment awareness are playing a key role in pushing the metastatic melanoma market. Growing penetration of premium drug products and emergence of effective immune-therapies are also boosting the market further.
A new class of therapies is currently trending in the metastatic melanoma market, including targeted chemotherapy, targeted immunotherapy, targeted MAP-kinase therapy, anti-angiogenesis, and vaccines. While these therapeutic options individually aim to prolong patient life and maximize benefit, clinical trials are persisting in order to discover their combined benefits. Moreover, several new drugs and therapies are being invented and introduced to the market. In the near future, metastatic melanoma market may witness significant innovations in therapeutics, with a strong possibility of discovering customized therapy options.
For the stage IV melanoma, the U.S. FDA had approved only two drugs, including Dacarbazine (DTIC) and high-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2). However, both of these drugs have a range of side effects, and record successful treatment only in a negligible patient population. The market clearly needs a more effective class of treatments targeted to extended patient life span, substantial tumor shrinkage, and improved overall survival rate.
The recently approved drugs – BMY’s Yervoy (Ipilimumab) and Zelboraf (Vemurafenib) have entered the market with a promising outcome. The antitumor effects associated with these drugs are also being explored by researchers. Drugs such as Ipilimumab, Imatinib, and PLX4032 can be used in combination with a suitable therapy may result in an effective treatment for metastatic melanoma. In addition to drugs, several vaccines are trialled as well. The market may witness a new force of promising therapeutics in the near future.
As per the regional analysis, the global market for metastatic melanoma is more pronounced in North America – especially in the U.S., as melanoma is one of the top cancer types affecting cancer patients in the U.S. The treatment rate is relatively higher as well. Europe is also a significant market, owing to rapid premium drugs invasion and increasing treatment rate. Asia Pacific is gradually emerging as a sizeable market for metastatic melanoma diagnostics and therapeutics.
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Some of the key players in the global metastatic melanoma market are Abbott Diagnostics, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Agilent Technologies, Novartis, Merck, Sanofi, Pfizer, and Bristol-Myer Squibb.