Monday, September 29, 2014

Combination treatment boosts melanoma treatment

OncoLetter YouTube – Sep 29, 2012
CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 25, 2014 – Patients with advanced stage melanoma had their cancer growth halted for an average of almost 10 months when treated with a combination therapy compared to a little more than 6 months for those treated with a single chemotherapy drug.

There were 495 patients in the study, they had melanoma with a specific gene mutation that occurs in about 40 percent of melanoma cancers, and all had cancer that had advanced past the stage of treatment with surgery. Half of them received a combination of vemurafenib (Zelboraf, Genentech) and cobimetinib (Roche and Genentech), the other half received vemurafenib alone. The study was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Zelboraf acts to block a mutant gene called BRAF while cobimetinib blocks the activity of the mutant MEK gene. Together they are thought to keep the tumor from becoming resistant to chemotherapy. In addition to halting the cancer progression longer, an interim analysis of survival showed that 81 percent of the combination therapy group had survived 9 months compared to 73 percent of the single therapy group. The study is funded by Hoffman – La Roche/Genentech. 

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