Denosumab Outshines Zoledronic Acid in Advanced Prostate Cancer

A phase III study evaluated two osteoporosis drugs, denosumab and zoledronic acid, for the treatment of skeletal problems in patients with bone metastases in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). The average time to first bone-related adverse event was 20.7 months with denosumab and 17.1 months with zoledronic acid, suggesting that denosumab was more effective in this group.

Primary source: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(10)62344-6/fulltext


Two Trials Provide New Answers for Treatment of Advanced Prostate Cancer

New findings from two prostate cancer trials will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting. One trial determined that men with advanced prostate cancer who receive intermittent hormone therapy survive an average of 5.1 years compared to 5.8 years for men who receive therapy continuously. The second trial determined that abiraterone (Zytiga) in combination with prednisone (a steroid) was effective for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in patients who have not yet received chemotherapy. Abiraterone is currently approved for patients who have not responded to chemotherapy.


Dabrafenib Bests Chemotherapy and May be Safer than Vemurafenib

A clinical trial found that dabrafenib, a BRAF inhibitor, was far more effective in treating melanomas that have BRAF mutations than the chemotherapy drug dacarbazine, according to a report at an American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. Patients treated with this drug lived without getting worse for 70% longer than those treated with dacarbazine (5.1 vs. 2.7 months, respectively). Moreover, compared to those treated with vemurafenib in other studies, dabrafenib-treated patients had less risk of another kind of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. This suggests that dabrafenib, which is experimental, could be safer than vemurafenib, which is FDA approved.


Ipilimumab Could Treat Small Melanomas in the Brain

A study in The Lancet shows that the drug ipilimumab could treat melanomas that have spread to the brain, particularly in people who do yet not have neurological symptoms. Of 51 such patients treated with ipilimumab, 12 had tumors in the brain that shrank or did not get worse and 14 had tumors outside the brain that shrank or did not get worse. Ipilimumab (Yervoy) is an immune system booster that the FDA has approved for treating advanced melanomas.

Primary source: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045%2812%2970090-6/abstract


Drug Targets Two Common Melanoma Mutations

An experimental drug could help control some melanomas that have BRAF or NRAS mutations, according to a report at an American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. Tumors shrank or did not get worse in 8 out of 35 patients with the most common BRAF mutation (V600E), and in 6 out of 28 patients with NRAS mutations. This is the first targeted treatment for melanomas that have NRAS mutations. BRAF and NRAS mutations can activate a protein called MEK that is involved in cell division. The experimental drug, which is called MEK162, is a MEK inhibitor. The side effects of MEK162, which included diarrhea, rashes and swelling, were manageable.