Navigation Links
Drug shows promise for the first time against metastatic melanoma of the eye
Date:6/19/2014

NEW YORK, NY (June 19, 2014) For the first time, a therapy has been found that can delay progression of metastatic uveal melanoma, a rare and deadly form of melanoma of the eye.

Results from a multicenter clinical trial show that a new drug called selumetinib increases progression-free survival, the length of time during and after treatment that a patient with metastases lives with the disease without it progressing. The findings were published today in the online edition of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Although the effects of the drug were modest, we now know that we can influence the course of the disease, and we expect to build on this success with other drugs, including some already in development," said senior author, Gary K. Schwartz, MD, professor of medicine and chief of hematology/oncology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and associate director of its Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. (At the time of the trial, Dr. Schwartz was chief of the melanoma and sarcoma service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.)

Uveal melanoma is a cancer of the iris, ciliary body, or choroidstructures in the eye collectively known as the uvea. Uveal melanoma (which is biologically distinct from skin melanoma) arises from the uvea's melanocytes, the pigment cells that give the eye its color. Once the disease has spreadmost metastases appear in the liverexisting treatments are largely ineffective. About 1,500 cases of uveal melanoma occur in the United States each year, usually among older adults. The median survival rate for patients with metastatic uveal melanoma is 12 months.

Several years ago, researchers found that 80 percent of patients with uveal melanoma had mutations to GNAQ or GNA11, genes that activate signals in the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Dr. Schwartz and others subsequently demonstrated that inhibition of MEK, a key enzyme in the MAPK pathway, can inhibit the growth of uveal melanoma cells in the laboratory. Dr. Schwartz's laboratory was the first to show this with selumetinib.

In 2013, Dr. Schwartz and his colleagues launched the first large-scale, Phase II, randomized trial of selumetinib. One hundred and one patients with metastatic uveal melanoma at 15 centers in the United States and Canada were randomized to receive either selumetinib or standard chemotherapy. Those in the chemotherapy group could receive selumetinib at any time if they showed signs of disease progression.

Median progression-free survival among patients receiving selumetinib was more than double that of patients receiving chemotherapy (15.9 weeks vs. 7 weeks). Forty-nine percent of patients treated with selumetinib exhibited tumor regression, compared with none in the chemotherapy group.

Median overall survival for patients on selumetinib was 11.8 months, compared with 9.1 months for those on chemotherapy, but the difference was not statistically significant. "We suspect that there may have been improvement in survival in the selumetinib group, but it was unclear, because patients who didn't respond to chemotherapy were allowed to cross over to selumetinib," said Dr. Schwartz. "That's something we hope to clarify in a follow-up study that is now under way."

The vast majority of patients taking selumetinib experienced side effects, including rash, swelling, and visual changes. Most of the side effects were considered manageable, although 37 percent of patients required at least one dose reduction and 6 percent discontinued therapy.

Dr. Schwartz thinks that treatment of uveal melanoma will ultimately involve rational drug design and a combination of drugs, similar to the approach used to combat HIV infection. "In preclinical studies, we've shown that when a MEK inhibitor was combined with an Akt inhibitor, which affects another cancer-related pathway, the results were better than when using MEK alone," he said.

"Overall," Dr. Schwartz added, "the study underscores the importance of rational drug design, in which drugs are designed to interact with specific molecular pathways involved in a particular disease. This is a huge improvement over chemotherapy, which is basically a blanket approach to cancer that does not directly address the underlying biology."


'/>"/>

Contact: Karin Eskenazi
Ket2116@columbia.edu
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. BU-lead study shows surprising spread of spring leaf-out times
2. Study shows race a factor in mortality in heart attack patients on anti-clotting drug
3. Arctic warming linked to fewer European and US cold weather extremes, new study shows
4. New study shows that oatmeal can help you feel full longer
5. Saving trees in tropics could cut emissions by one-fifth, study shows
6. Doing more means changing less when it comes to gene response, new study shows
7. Research shows compassion and euthanasia dont always jibe
8. Study shows impact of tart cherries on inflammation and oxidative stress after cycling
9. Marijuana shows potential in treating autoimmune disease
10. Study shows tale of 2 prognoses in pediatric brain tumor, pilocytic astrocytoma
11. ALK, ROS1 and now NTRK1: Study shows prevalence of new genetic driver in lung cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Drug shows promise for the first time against metastatic melanoma of the eye
(Date:2/1/2016)... Feb. 1, 2016  Wocket® smart wallet ( www.wocketwallet.com ) announces the ... Joey Fatone . Las Vegas , where ... --> Las Vegas , where Joey appeared at ... The new video ad was filmed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES2016) ... Wocket booth to meet and greet fans. --> ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... January 22, 2016 ... addition of the  "Global Behavioral Biometric ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has ... Behavioral Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report to ... and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... JOSE, Calif. , Jan. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... developer of human interface solutions, today announced sampling ... controller solution for wearables and small screen applications ... such as printers. Supporting round and rectangular shapes, ... S1423 offers excellent performance with moisture on screen, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... New FDA action date of July 22, 2016 ... 22, 2016   --> - New ... - Lifitegrast has the potential to be the only product ... signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in adults --> ... in the U.S. in the past decade indicated for the treatment of signs ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016 Beike Biotechnology, the ... medical institutions attended a ceremony in late 2015 to ... cell therapy in 2016. --> ... Translation Platform for Personalized Cell Therapy" was hosted by ... Production Center, both subsidiaries of Beike Biotechnology Co., Ltd. ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016 ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... the development and commercialization of targeted antiviral therapies, announced ... Investor Conference 2016, to be held February 8-9, 2016, ... Group,s 2016 Disruptive Growth & Healthcare Conference, taking place ... 10-11, 2016. James Sapirstein , Chief Executive ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... 4, 2016 Strasbourg, France ... --> Strasbourg, France , to the ... PharmaVentures is pleased to announce that it acted as an ... unit in Strasbourg, France , to the ... --> --> Transgene (Euronext: TNG), a member ...
Breaking Biology Technology: