New Targeted Therapies for Advanced Melanoma Patients

Two new targeted therapies, which each focus on a different way to block cancer growth signaling, delayed disease progression in advanced melanoma patients.

Two new targeted therapies, which each focus on a different way to block cancer growth signaling, delayed disease progression in patients with advanced, BRAF-mutated melanoma, according to results from separate phase 3 trials.

The METRIC study is the first phase 3 trial to evaluate the efficacy of trametinib, which blocks a protein that’s part of the BRAF signaling pathway. Patients who took trametinib experienced a median progression-free survival of 4.8 months versus 1.5 months for patients on dacarbazine or paclitaxel.

The BREAK-3 study found that dabrafenib, which acts against the mutated BRAF protein, extended median progression-free survival in comparison with dacarbazine: 5.1 months versus 2.7 months.

Currently, Zelboraf (vemurafenib), another BRAF inhibitor, is the only approved targeted therapy for the treatment of advanced melanoma, although many patients’ cancers eventually develop resistance to it or have serious side effects. A small phase 1 trial, which combines the two experimental therapies, has found a trend toward delaying disease progression.