According to clinical trials, BRAF kinase inhibitors in combination with MEK kinase inhibitors are among the most promising chemotherapy regimens for the treatment of advanced BRAF-mutant melanoma, though the rate of BRAF mutation gene-bearing cutaneous melanoma is limited, especially in the Asian population. In addition, drug resistance sometimes abrogates the persistent efficacy of combined therapy with BRAF and MEK inhibitors. Therefore, recent pre-clinical study-based clinical trials have attempted to identify optimal drugs (e.g., immune checkpoint inhibitors or histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors) that improve the anti-melanoma effects of BRAF and MEK inhibitors. In addition, the development of novel protocols to avoid resistance of BRAF inhibitors is another purpose of recent pre-clinical and early clinical trials. This review focuses on pre-clinical studies and early to phase III clinical trials to discuss the development of combined therapy based on BRAF inhibitors for BRAF-mutant advanced melanoma, as well as mechanisms of resistance to BRAF inhibitors.
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