Which drug, and when, for patients with BRAF-mutant melanoma?

Review of the available data to best guide initial treatment choice and the sequence of treatments for patients with BRAF Val600 mutant melanoma.

Silibinin, found in milk thistle, protects against UV-induced skin cancer – Colorado Cancer Blogs

Two University of Colorado Cancer Center studies show that silibinin protects against UVB damage and kills cells damaged by UVA — but is not at all toxic in healthy cells. Sibinin is a milk thistle extract now shown to kill skin cells mutated by UVA radiation and protects against damage by UVB radiation, potentially protecting against UV-induced skin cancer and photo-aging.

Phase III Trial of Immunotherapy Antibody Tremelimumab Versus Chemotherapy Fails to Improve Survival

Phase III trial of treatment-naive metastatic melanoma comparing tremelimumab with physician’s choice standard-of-care chemotherapy failed to show an improved overall survival for the immunotherapy antibody.

New Study Suggests Novel Combination Therapy with BRAF Inhibitor

Study finds phosphorylation of Mps1 by BRAFV600E prevents Mps1 degradation and contributes to chromosome instability in melanoma. The results raise the possibility that targeting the oncogenic BRAF and S281-phosphorylated Mps1, especially when used in combination could potentially provide great therapeutic opportunities for cancer treatment.

MicroRNA Identified as Potential Tumor Suppressor in Melanoma

Unlike other cancer types, melanoma tumors do not frequently have p53 gene mutations. Now, scientists have identified a microRNA that when overexpressed, targets the p53 pathway to re-activate p53. Targeting the microRNA has potential in diagnostic and prognostic biomarker applications for patients with melanoma according to the researchers.

EMA Grants Trametinib Accelerated Review for Metastatic Melanoma

The European Medicines Agency has granted an accelerated review process for GSK’s trametinib, a MEK inhibitor, for treatment of metastatic melanoma. GSK has filedresults from the monotherapy phase III METRIC trial as well as phase I/II trial results of the combination of trametinib plus dabrafenib, a BRAF inhibitor. Phase III combination trials of trametinib plus dabrafenib both versus the current approved BRAF inhibitor, vemurafenib, and against dabrafenib alone are in progress.

Addition of elesclomol to paclitaxel does not improve PFS in advanced melanoma patients, phase III trial shows

Results of the phase III SYMMETRY trial in stage IV metastatic melanoma patients don’t show an improvement in PFS when elesclomol was added to paclitaxel chemotherapy. But, patients with normal LDH levels did have a statistically significant improvement in median PFS for the combination therapy.

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