We have been talking about new drugs and trial results (new drug for breast cancer, common drug for three cancers) being discussed at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Well, we have one more to add to the bandwagon of breakthrough medications, this new drug prolongs lives of patients suffering from advanced stages of melanoma.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Caroline Robert was excited when she told New York Times,
In melanoma, we are living something incredible.
The new drug being discussed is GlaxoSmithKline’s trametinib. Patients with metastatic melanoma with BRAF mutations responded positively to trametinib, an oral selective MEK inhibitor. The study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The phase 3 open-label trial involved 322 patients with metastatic melanoma with BRAF mutations. Participants of the trial were randomly allocated in a 2:1 ratio to receive trametinib or chemotherapy. Participants in the chemotherapy group, who had disease progression were allowed crossover to trametinib. The researchers found that progression free survival was higher in the trametinib group. The overall survival rate after 6 months was 81% in the trametinib group despite the crossovers while it was only 67% in the chemotherapy group. Commonly observed toxic effects included rash, diarrhea, and peripheral edema which were managed by dose interruptions and reductions.
Trametinib blocks MEK downstream of the BRAF signal cascade. Blocking BRAF has been found to cause secondary skin cancers, while MEK inhibitors do not. Hence, using a combination of the two could very well prove beneficial to melanoma patients.
Glaxo is developing its BRAF inhibitor, dabrafenib, which has also been presented at the ASCO.
- Approval of Zelboraf (PLX4032) A BRAF Mutation Specific Targeted Therapy For Melanoma
- Vemurafenib and Ipilimumab — buying time for Melanoma sufferers
- FDA Gives Green Light To Zelboraf (PLX4032) and Yervoy Two New Drugs For Melanoma Treatment
- Gefitinib Improves Survival In Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Maintenance Treatment: INFORM Study
- Melanoma (Skin Cancer) Prognosis (Life Expectancy)