Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

Font Size

ALS Drug Slows Melanoma Growth

Study Shows Riluzole Shrinks Tumors Without Toxic Side Effects

Tumors Shrink, Even Disappear

Goydos says that he was amazed at some of the results. One of the first patients "had a large growth in the groin area," he says. "When the pathologists examined the tissue after the treatment, all they could see was scar tissue -- there was no tumor. We thought there was a mistake."

Another patient had a "large painful lymph node on his neck and could barely move his head. One week in, the node shrank, and he was very comfortable, even without pain medication," Goydos says.

Other researchers are enthusiastic about the approach. "What is exciting about these very preliminary results is that it is an outgrowth of a novel observation that showed that melanoma appears to be dependent on glutamate," says Stuart Lessin, MD, head of dermatology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

"As far as metastatic disease goes, metastatic melanoma is very recalcitrant to treatment. This really provides a potential new avenue, a new target for treatment. [It] could work by itself or more likely in combination with other treatments," he tells WebMD.

The next step will be a study of even sicker patients -- those whose disease has spread to other organs, like the liver. The dosage will gradually be increased to determine the most effective dose and identify possible toxic side effects.

(Do you want the latest news about cancer sent directly to your inbox? Sign up for WebMD's cancer newsletter.)

1|2

Today on WebMD

Woman checking out tan lines
SLIDESHOW
Cancer Fighting Foods Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
Could Caffeine Help Fight Skin Cancer
VIDEO
 

12 Ways to Protect Your Skin from Melanoma
ARTICLE
precancerous lesions slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
Do You Know Your Melanoma ABCs
VIDEO
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
ARTICLE
 

screening tests for men
SLIDESHOW
Vitamin D
SLIDESHOW
 
Is That Mole Skin Cancer
VIDEO
Brilliant sun rays
Quiz
 

WebMD Special Sections