In a nutshell
The authors assessed the effect of vemurafenib (Zelboraf) in metastatic (spread to other areas of the body) melanoma patients prior to surgery. The authors found that surgery to remove metastatic tumors is safe and effective during or just after treatment with vemurafenib.
In advanced melanoma (stages 3 to 4), cancer spreads from the skin to other parts of the body. This is called metastasis. Surgical removal of metastatic tumors is often the standard treatment. Targeted therapy has shown improved outcomes at these stages of the disease. Targeted therapies focus on specific genes, such as BRAF, that are often mutated (changed) in melanoma patients. BRAF inhibitors, such as vemurafenib, block certain proteins in melanoma cells containing mutated BRAF genes.
It is not clear whether treatment with vemurafenib prior to surgery improves outcomes in advanced melanoma.
Methods & findings
The authors aimed to evaluate the outcomes in melanoma patients who underwent surgery after treatment with vemurafenib.
The records of 19 patients were reviewed in this study. All patients underwent surgery within 30 days of treatment with vemurafenib.
Moderate or severe surgical complications occurred in 19% of patients. 1 patient died during the surgical procedure. The average survival following surgery was 7 months. There was improved survival in patients who had treatment with vemurafenib for a longer period. Improvement was also seen in patients having elective surgery (not a medical emergency).
The bottom line
The authors concluded that surgery to remove metastatic tumors in melanoma patients pretreated with vemurafenib was safe and effective. Longer treatment with vemurafenib improved survival.
The fine print
A larger patient population is needed for the results to be widely applied.
Published By :
Jun 17, 2015