Friday, May 18, 2012

Melanoma and Pathway Blocking

In a recent ASCO news release there is a report of blocking of BRAF and MEK in melanoma thus having the BRAF block the melanoma pathway and the MEK blocking the secondary squamous cell cancer pathway.

The release states:

Results from an expanded Phase IB trial show that combination therapy with two investigational targeted drugs – the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib and the MEK inhibitor trametinib – stalls cancer progression and with a lower level of skin side effects than published studies of the current standard single-agent BRAFtargeted therapy, vemurafenib (Zelboraf), have shown. The analysis included patients with advanced melanoma who had a V600 BRAF mutation and who had no previous BRAF-targeted treatment. Approximately half of all melanomas harbor a V600E mutation in the BRAF gene; in those patients, the nearby MEK pathway is also highly active. While the approval of vemurafenib last year represented a major research achievement, most patients eventually develop resistance to the drug. It is hoped that simultaneously targeting the two active pathways – BRAF and MEK – will provoke a stronger anti-cancer response and prevent, or further delay, treatment resistance.

The result is not unexpected but it does presage a broader application of multiple pathway inhibiting profiles.