In a nutshell
This study examined the long-term effectiveness of vemurafenib (Zelboraf) as treatment for BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma. Researchers concluded that vemurafenib is associated with improved overall survival.
Over 50% of melanoma patients has a mutation (permanent change) in the BRAF gene. This can increase tumor aggressiveness. Vemurafenib is a BRAF inhibitor. This targeted therapy can block cancer growth, improving patient survival.
A prior study suggested that after 1 year patients treated with vemurafenib had an improved survival when compared to patients treated with dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome). It is not clear if this treatment is still associated with better outcomes after an extended follow-up period.
Methods & findings
The objective of this study was to investigate the outcomes of advanced melanoma patients after treatment with vemurafenib. 675 patients were randomly assigned to receive vemurafenib (337; group 1) or dacarbazine (338; group 2).
Progression-free survival (PFS; time from treatment to cancer progression) and overall survival (OS; time from treatment to death by any cause) were measured.
At 2 years, OS was 30% for group 1 and 24% for group 2. At 3 years, OS was 21% for group 1 and 19% for group 2. At a follow up of 4 years the OS rates for patients from group 1 were 17% and 16% for patients from group 2.
84 patients from group 2 switched to treatment with vemurafenib during follow-up. 52% of group 1 and 51% of group 2 received further anti-cancer treatment.
The bottom line
This study suggested that vemurafenib is associated with an improved tumor response in the long-term.
The fine print
This study was funded by F. Hoffmann – La Roche Ltd, the producer of vemurafenib.
Published By :
Annals of oncology : official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology
Oct 01, 2017