New RAF kinase inhibitors in cancer therapy

Juan Martin-Liberal, James Larkin
Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy 2014, 15 (9): 1235-45

INTRODUCTION: Alterations in some key components of the MAPK pathway, such as BRAF, have been found to be related to the development of several malignancies. A number of BRAF inhibitors have been developed in recent years. Two of these compounds, vemurafenib and dabrafenib, have been licensed for the treatment of BRAF-mutant advanced melanoma.

AREAS COVERED: This article reviews the antitumour activity and safety of the BRAF inhibitors, vemurafenib and dabrafenib. Moreover, early clinical data available for the most promising new members of this family of drugs as well as the novel therapeutic strategy of dual RAF-MEK inhibition is reviewed. A perspective of the potential role of MAPK inhibition in the treatment of cancer in forthcoming years is also provided.

EXPERT OPINION: Inhibition of BRAF has achieved highly successful results in patients affected by BRAF-mutated melanoma and has revolutionised their care. Its efficacy in other malignancies is currently under evaluation in monotherapy and as combination with other agents. Early clinical results of concomitant inhibition of BRAF and MEK suggest that this therapeutic approach is superior to either BRAF or MEK inhibition alone. Identification of BRAF mutations sensitive to treatment is essential for the success of these drugs.

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