BY ELIZABETH WHITTINGTON | JUNE 3, 2013
In a cancer that doesn't have many treatment options, any gains are considered a success.
Uveal melanoma, although rare, is the most common eye cancer in adults, affecting nearly 2500 individuals a year. While surgery and radiation are standard treatments, once the disease becomes metastatic it is almost impossible to treat successfully.
Researchers decided to test a MEK inhibitor, selumitinib, in this patient population. The thought was that because most of these tumors express a certain gene mutation it would respond to this particular targeted drug.
No standard treatments exist, which made a control group hard to create, says lead author. Instead of making it a placebo-based trial, researchers compared the MEK inhibitor with a temzolomide, a brain cancer drug that has been used to treat skin cancers.
Details of the clinical trial can be found at clinicaltrials.gov.
Richard D. Carvajal, MD, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center describes the results of the selumetinib study. Photo by ©ASCO/Scott Morgan 2013