GlaxoSmithKline's Melanoma Drug May Extend Survival

Published: Jun 26, 2012

New research suggests that a new drug does a better job of combating advanced skin cancer in melanoma patients than chemotherapy. However, patients typically still got worse after only a few months on the drug. The drug, called dabrafenib, blocks a signaling protein and is used to treat melanomas with a specific genetic mutation. About half of melanoma patients have this mutation. In a phase 3 trial funded by the drug's maker, GlaxoSmithKline, an international group of researchers led by Dr. Axel Hauschild of the Schleswig-Holstein University Hospital in Kiel, Germany, gave dabrafenib or the most common existing treatment, dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome), to 250 patients with spreading or inoperable melanoma. About half responded partially (47 percent) or fully (3 percent) to dabrafenib; the response rate among the dacarbazine group was just 6 percent.

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