New Oral Melanoma Agent Boosts Progression-Free Survival

A new single agent called dabrafenib for the treatment of metastatic melanoma appears to significantly slow progression of the disease, according to reports from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting.

A new single agent called dabrafenib for the treatment of metastatic melanoma appears to significantly slow progression of the disease, according to reports from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting.

The BREAK-3 trial enrolled 250 patients with stage III, BRAFV600E-mutated metastatic melanomas, and participants were either given 150 mg of dabrafenib twice daily or 1000 mg of IV dacarbazine chemotherapy every 3 weeks. Patients were given the option to switch to treatment if they showed signs of disease progression, according to reports from Medpage Today.

Patients being treated with dabrafenib responded better to treatment than did the patients being treated with chemotherapy alone, with 3% showing a complete response, 50% exhibiting a partial response, and 40% maintaining stable disease state.

The lead author of the study, Axel Hauschild, MD, professor of dermatology, University Hospital in Kiel, Germany, said he believes that the combination of BRAF and MEK inhibition with dabrafenib and trametinib is promising not just for stage IV patients, but also for those in the adjuvant setting.

"It makes sense to believe that the combination of dabrafenib and trametinib produces better results, although superficially, the response rate appears to be the same," Hauschild told OncLive.

Dabrafenib is made by GlaxoSmithKline. The company announced it will apply for FDA approval for the drug for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Dabrafenib has a similar mechanism of action to vemurafenib (Zelboraf), which was approved in August 2011 for the treatment of late-stage or unresectable melanoma.

To see a video discussing combination therapy with dabrafenib and trametinib for patients with advanced melanoma, click here.