In a nutshell
This article investigated the safety and effectiveness of BRAF inhibitors like vemurafenib (Zelboraf) and dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and immunotherapy such as ipilimumab (Yervoy) in a real-world setting for patients with advanced melanoma. The authors concluded that this therapy is safe and can improve the overall survival of these patients.
Melanoma is cancer of melanocytes. These are a type of skin cell responsible for skin color. BRAF inhibitors are a standard treatment for melanoma. They work by shrinking or slowing the growth of tumors. They have been sown to give good responses but the effects do not last long.
An alternative treatment after BRAF inhibitors immunotherapy. This treatment causes the immune system to fight cancer. This provides longer lasting results but has less good responses in clinical trials. The long term effects of these types of drugs in a real-world setting remain under investigation.
Methods & findings
The study involved 1170 patients with metastatic (spread) melanoma. 745 patients were treated with either vemurafenib (VEM) or dabrafenib (DAB) as first-line therapy. As second and further therapies, patients received either VEM or ipilimumab (IPI).
The overall response to BRAF inhibitors was slightly better with VEM (42%) compared with DAB (30%). Both drugs showed a similar rate (98% with DAB and 96% with VEM) of disease control (tumor shrinkage or stable disease). The response to VEM treatment was similar when given as first, second or further lines of therapy. IPI treatment resulted in 98% stable disease.
The most common side effects reported with all drugs were anaemia, liver, and kidney problems.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that BRAF inhibitors and immunotherapy is effective and with manageable side effects in patients with advanced melanoma.
The fine print
This study was based on medical records of patients. Some information might have been missing. This can influence the findings.
Published By :
European journal of clinical pharmacology
Nov 01, 2018