Navigation Links
New Melanoma Drug May Extend Survival
Date:2/23/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Melanoma that has spread to other areas of the body is almost always fatal, but a new drug appears to double survival for those with a certain type of this skin cancer, researchers report.

A mutation in the BRAF protein occurs in about half the people who develop melanoma. Researchers say Zelboraf (vemurafenib), a drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011, blocks that mutation, thereby killing the cancer cells.

"We demonstrated in a large group of patients overall survival approached 16 months, which is far beyond what we have seen in other trials," said lead researcher Dr. Jeffrey Sosman, a professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Survival for people with advanced melanoma is usually six to 10 months. Some new drugs have extended that to maybe 11 months, "but this is the first time we have shown such a long extension in survival," he said.

All of the patients had late-stage (stage 4) melanoma. Sosman said it's hoped that Zelboraf will work even better when given sooner.

"If we use it in an earlier stage, then we are hoping to cure patients who would not be cured otherwise," he said.

Results of this phase 2 trial -- undertaken to assess the effectiveness and safety of the drug -- are published in the Feb. 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

For more than a year, Sosman's team followed 132 patients with previously treated metastatic melanoma, meaning the cancer had spread and was considered inoperable.

Zelboraf is a pill that patients take twice a day, and more than half who took the drug responded to it, the researchers said.

A response meant more than a 30 percent reduction in the size of tumors. Only 14 percent of patients failed to show any response to Zelboraf whatsoever, meaning their disease continued to progress.

Previously, no more than 10 percent of patients responded to any of the other available treatments, the researchers said.

The main limitation with Zelboraf is that tumors eventually become resistant.

Side effects include joint and muscle aches, which are fairly easy to manage in most patients, Sosman said.

Some patients also experienced skin changes, including sun sensitivity and rashes. "Patients develop incredible photosensitivity so patients have to be very careful about direct sunlight and use sunscreen as well as just staying out of the bright sun," Sosman said.

Also, the drug indirectly causes squamous cell cancers of the skin in some patients. "These generally never spread and are easy to remove, and patients who have gotten them can remain on treatment," Sosman said.

The drug costs around $10,000 a month, Sosman noted. "It's comparable to other cancer drugs that have shown improvement in survival, but like a lot of cancer drugs, it's expensive," he said. "You probably need to take the drug for an indefinite period of time."

Drug maker Hoffmann-La Roche funded the study.

About 70,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma each year. Of these, about 8,000 will die from the disease.

Dr. Michele Green, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the study is a leap forward. "This finding is significant in that there is nothing right now for this kind of cancer. It's basically a death sentence," she said.

That the researchers showed improved survival is clinically significant, she said, even though "the survival wasn't that much longer."

If the drug were given for early-stage melanoma, it's possible it would improve survival even more, Green said. Eventually, she said the research will lead to a cure for melanoma.

"There's new hope every single day for melanoma," she said. "I think in our lifetime we are going to see cures for this cancer."

More information

For more information on melanoma, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Jeffrey Sosman, M.D., professor of medicine, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, Tenn.; Michele Green, M.D, dermatologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Feb. 23, 2012, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Scanning for skin cancer: Infrared system looks for deadly melanoma
2. Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers in the Millions and Rising
3. Late-stage melanoma results in economic burden
4. Clinical trial to test whether vaccine can effectively treat melanoma
5. Wistar scientists explain the persistence of melanoma through dynamic stemness
6. Tanning Beds Can Greatly Boost Melanoma Risk
7. U of M study definitively links indoor tanning to melanoma
8. Indoor Tanning Beds Increase Risk of Melanoma
9. Novel Drug Combats Advanced Melanoma
10. Combination treatment regimen not effective against advanced melanoma
11. New treatment method safe, effective for advanced melanoma patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New Melanoma Drug May Extend Survival 
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... ... affiliations and de novo development, today announced Cumberland Skin Surgery and Dermatology ... Surgery and Dermatology, with offices in both Hermitage and Lebanon, Tennessee, provides comprehensive ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Paul Vitenas, MD, FACS , is honored to announce ... list identifies the nation’s top physicians, in a variety of specialties. This marks the ... of Castle Connolly’s coveted ranking. , Castle Connolly is the nation’s trusted provider of ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... SGNA Standards of ... every reprocessing cycle, both between patient procedures and before storage, is a requisite ... as important to the prevention of disease transmission and nosocomial infection as cleaning ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... , ... August 16, 2017 , ... ... $5.99, eBook, 9781498499620    ) shares that during the time of a cancer diagnosis, surgery ... of God's love, and all the many ways God shows love to those ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... ... an opportunity for men and women to train as hospice volunteers. Volunteers provide ... life-limiting illness. For over 30 years, the agency has trained volunteers to be ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:7/31/2017)... Tenn. , July 31, 2017 Three Tru-D SmartUVC ... Yongsan, South Korea . Tru-D, short for "Total Room ... and operating rooms after an environmental services (ES) professional cleans the area ... ... "Although the ...
(Date:7/28/2017)... 2017 Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. ("Hill-Rom") (NYSE: HRC), ... ended June 30, 2017, and updated its financial outlook ... For the fiscal third quarter, Hill-Rom reported earnings ... diluted share in the prior-year period. These results reflect ... diluted share primarily related to the non-cash write-down of ...
(Date:7/27/2017)... WARSAW, Ind., July 27, 2017  Zimmer Biomet Holdings, ... the quarter ended June 30, 2017.  The Company reported ... of 1.1% over the prior year period, and an ... approximately 240 basis points of contribution from the LDR ... from the second quarter of 2016, or 0.3% on ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: