JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Vemurafenib: in unresectable or metastatic melanoma

Gillian M Keating
BioDrugs: Clinical Immunotherapeutics, Biopharmaceuticals and Gene Therapy 2012 October 1, 26 (5): 325-34
22946753
Vemurafenib is a first-in-class, small molecule BRAFV600E inhibitor. It is indicated in the US for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma with the BRAFV600E mutation, and in the EU as monotherapy in adults with BRAFV600 mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma. Oral vemurafenib improved overall survival (OS) [co-primary endpoint] in patients with unresectable, previously untreated, BRAFV600E mutation-positive, stage IIIC or IV melanoma, according to the results of a randomized, open-label, multicenter, phase III trial (BRIM-3). With vemurafenib versus dacarbazine, the risk of death was significantly reduced by 63% in the interim OS analysis, and by 56%, 38%, and 30% in subsequent updated OS analyses. The median OS duration was 13.6 months in vemurafenib recipients and 9.7 months in dacarbazine recipients in the most recent OS analysis. In the phase III trial, progression-free survival (PFS) [co-primary endpoint] was also significantly improved in vemurafenib versus dacarbazine recipients (median PFS of 5.3 vs 1.6 months), with a significant reduction in the risk of death or disease progression of 74% in the final PFS analysis. Vemurafenib was also associated with a high overall response rate in patients with previously treated, BRAFV600 mutation-positive, stage IV melanoma, according to the results of a noncomparative, multicenter, phase II trial. Patients had received at least one prior systemic treatment for advanced disease (excluding BRAF inhibitors other than sorafenib or MEK inhibitors). The overall response rate (primary endpoint) was 53% (complete response rate of 6% and partial response rate of 47%), with a median duration of response of 6.7 months, and a median OS duration of 15.9 months. Oral vemurafenib was generally well tolerated in patients with metastatic melanoma, with cutaneous adverse events among the most commonly occurring adverse events. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and/or keratoacanthoma were reported in 18% of vemurafenib recipients in the BRIM-3 trial.

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