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.You can find out more about ocular melanoma at the Ocular Melanoma Foundation ocularmelanoma.org. You can read more about the study at ASCO.
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