Abstract Background Conventional therapeutic agents are largely unsatisfactory into the treatment of malignant melanoma. Recently, an innovative approach based on inhibitors of the mutated BRAF gene (which represents the most prevalent alteration in melanoma patients) appears very promising from the clinical point of view. On this regard, a new compound, dabrafenib (GSK2118436), has been demonstrated to be effective in patients carrying the BRAFV600E/K mutations. We here tested dabrafenib for its capability to inhibit cell growth on primary melanoma cell lines, established from patients' tumour tissues and carrying the BRAFV600D/R mutations. Methods Three melanoma cell lines were tested: M257 wild-type BRAF, LCP BRAFV600R and WM266 BRAFV600D. The MTT assays were performed using standardized approaches. To evaluate the inhibition of MAPK pathway and the consequent inhibition of cellular proliferation, the phosphorylation of ERK was examined by Western Blot analysis performed on total protein extracts from cell lines after treatment with dabrafenib. Results Our experiments demonstrated an effective action of Dabrafenib (GSK2118436) and the inhibition of MAPK pathway in melanoma cell lines carrying BRAFV600D/R mutations. Conclusion These results could be helpful to enlarge the number of melanoma patients who may benefit of a more effective targeted treatment.