Melanoma Disease Management Group Research
At Perlmutter Cancer Center, the Melanoma Disease Management Group (DMG) investigates ways to reduce morbidity and mortality of melanoma patients by developing more precise diagnostic tools for those at risk and improving treatment strategies.
Our multidisciplinary team of investigators and clinicians includes medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, dermatologists, pathologists, pharmacologists, environmental medicine experts, cell biology investigators, chemists, biostatisticians, immunologists, geneticists, and basic scientists.
Our investigators work together to develop new predictive and prognostic models that integrate molecular biomarkers with clinical variables for patients with primary melanoma. We investigate melanoma’s biologic heterogeneity, with an emphasis on molecular alterations associated with disease progression and drug resistance. We also develop and integrate emerging novel immunotherapeutic approaches to chemotherapy and biological therapies.
Melanoma Research Leadership
Janice Mehnert, MD
Director, Melanoma and Cutaneous Medical Oncology
Richard L. Shapiro, MD
Professor, Department of Surgery
Benjamin Cooper, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
Melanoma Research Areas of Focus
The Melanoma DMG has studied treatment outcomes for immunotherapy and targeted therapies for metastatic melanoma of unknown primary (MUP), which is seldom reported in clinical trials. We have helped demonstrate that EZH2 upregulation is common in acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM), suggesting that it may play a role in metastatic progression. We have also found that nodular melanoma and superficial spreading melanoma show divergent mutational patterns that may contribute to their clinical behaviors and responses to BRAF targeted therapy.
We have also been leaders in the clinical trials that brought immunotherapy to the melanoma forefront for both metastatic and high-risk disease. Furthermore, we have been integral in identifying biologic characteristics that may impact responses to immunotherapy.