Navigation Links
Two Drugs Shown to Prolong Survival in Advanced Melanoma Cases
Date:6/6/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Two new drugs prolong the lives of patients with advanced melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer and one that is notoriously difficult to treat, let alone cure.

The first treatment, vemurafenib, inhibits a gene mutation harbored in half of all melanoma patients, but is not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The other drug, Yervoy (ipilumumab), is an immune system therapy that won approval in March.

Research on both drugs was presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago while also being published simultaneously online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"This is really a huge step toward personalized care in melanoma," Dr. Paul Chapman, lead author of the first study and the attending physician in the melanoma/sarcoma service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, said in a statement. "This [vemurafenib] is the first successful melanoma treatment tailored to patients who carry a specific gene mutation in their tumor, and could eventually become one of only two drugs available that improves overall survival in advanced cancers."

The second study was also led by doctors from Sloan-Kettering.

"Having two trials that show a benefit in survival in patients with melanoma, both of these in first-line settings -- we weren't here just a few years ago," said Dr. Stephen Hodi, director of the Melanoma Center at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "These are huge, paradigm-shifting results for the field."

"The March FDA approval of ipilumumab [Yervoy] was the first new drug approval for melanoma in 13 years," said Tim Turnham, executive director of the Melanoma Research Foundation.

In the vemurafenib trial, sponsored by the drug's makers, researchers randomly assigned 675 patients with advanced, inoperable melanoma to receive either the chemotherapy drug dacarbazine or vemurafenib. Vemurafenib targets the V600E mutation in the BRAF gene.

At the three-month mark, patients taking vemurafenib were 63 percent less likely to die and 74 percent less likely to die or see their cancer return, compared to patients taking dacarbazine alone.

Few patients had side effects in the vemurafenib group, although some did develop squamous cell carcinoma, a less dangerous form of skin cancer.

This is the first drug that has been proven superior to chemotherapy in this group of hard-to-treat patients, the researchers said.

"There was such a substantial benefit that we recommended that patients cross over," Chapman said at a Sunday news briefing. "It's unprecedented to report a trial this early. The median follow-up time was three months." Yet the differences between the two groups became evident almost immediately.

Dr. Lynn Schuchter, co-moderator of the briefing and division chief of hematology-oncology at Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, said symptoms subsided in some patients almost immediately, enabling them to cut back on pain medication in just 72 hours.

"The median time to progression with dacarbazine was 1.6 months versus 5.3 months with vemurafenib, which is a huge difference," said Chapman.

In the second study, about 500 patients were randomly picked to receive Yervoy plus dacarbazine or dacarbazine alone.

Those taking both drugs lived a median of 11.2 months compared to 9.1 months for those taking dacarbazine alone. Time to recurrence of disease was about the same for both groups: 2.8 months and 2.6 months, respectively.

Almost half of those taking the combination therapy were alive after one year, compared to 36.3 percent in the other group. After two years, the rates were 28.5 percent and 17.9 percent, respectively.

By three years out, 20.8 percent of those in the combination group were alive compared with 12.2 percent of those taking chemotherapy alone.

The study was sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb, which makes Yervoy.

This is the first study to combine chemotherapy and immunotherapy both safely and effectively; a study to test vemurafenib in combination with Yervoy has already begun.

"Neither one are the real answers, but they are steps forward and that's what we need," said Turnham, who added that he thinks the real answers will come in combination therapies.

"We need to be nimble about combination studies," he said. "In the two years that we've known we need to study vemurafenib and ipilumumab [Yervoy], 18,000 people have died of melanoma in the U.S. We can't afford to wait. We're very excited about the positive news, but we have a long way to go."

More information

The Skin Cancer Foundation has more on melanoma.

SOURCES: Tim Turnham, Ph.D., executive director, Melanoma Research Foundation; Stephen Hodi, M.D., director, Melanoma Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston; June 5, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine, online; June 5, 2011, presentations, American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, Chicago; June 5, 2011, news conference with Paul Chapman, M.D., attending physician, melanoma/sarcoma service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, and Lynn Schuchter, M.D., division chief of hematology-oncology, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia


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

Related medicine news :

1. Epilepsy Drugs Risk of Birth Defects May Be Dose-Dependent
2. Widely Used Heart Drugs Linked to Better Breast Cancer Outcomes
3. Illegal Drugs Easy to Buy on the Internet, U.K. Study Finds
4. CT angiography for low-risk heart patients leads to more drugs and tests without benefit
5. Younger Docs More Likely to Prescribe Drugs for Heart Disease: Study
6. Standard Heart Drugs Wont Ease Pulmonary Hypertension
7. Half of prostate cancers could potentially benefit from new type of cancer drugs, U-M study finds
8. Kids Taking ADHD Drugs at Low Risk for Heart Problems: Study
9. Younger doctors prescribe more drugs to reduce heart risk but offer less lifestyle advice
10. Abcc10 may be effective in extending the effectiveness of anticancer drugs
11. Researchers move closer to identifying new class of asthma, COPD drugs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Two Drugs Shown to Prolong Survival  in Advanced Melanoma Cases
(Date:3/29/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 29, ... ... Manufacturer Alliance (GRMA) is growing as it continues developing an ANSI-approved, consensus-based ... industry. The organization, which plans to publish the first ANSI-approved GMP standard ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... Curio Wellness , a premium ... finalization of the company’s executive management team with prominent executives from both inside and ... Wellness’ Chief Operating Officer, Ted Dumbauld , who has more than twenty years ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... The assembly of synthetic ... involve many repetitive steps and often scientists require many different versions of DNA. ... and results in a lower error rate and cost saving for reagents and ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... ... have easier access to the robotic-assisted total-hip and partial-knee replacement surgeries that ... surgeons at Forbes Hospital and Jefferson Hospital recently started performing these surgeries ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... 2017 , ... AvePoint , the Microsoft Cloud expert, is pleased to ... located at the Riverfront Plaza, 901 East Byrd Street. AvePoint is celebrating with a ... Northam and Mayor of Richmond Levar M. Stoney. , Founded in 2001, AvePoint employs ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/29/2017)... , March 29, 2017  The leader in ... that Drs. Sam Daher , Manal Ibrahim ... and David Couchat will be the featured microlecture presenters ... upcoming American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) Annual Session, April ... attend the microlectures beginning daily at 11:20 a.m. On ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... Texas , March 29, 2017  Maxor National ... today announced that it has named Leah Bailey ... for all divisions of the company. With ... including the previous 8 years focused on health care, ... During her tenure at Prime, Bailey advised the PBM, ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... JOSE, Calif. , March 29, 2017  Designers ... now significantly reduce solution size by 50% and extend ... Q ) power management integrated circuit (PMIC) from Maxim ... wearable PMIC supports a low input voltage of just ... Zinc Air and Silver Oxide, as well as the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: