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UPDATE 1-Bristol Immunotherapy Prolongs Survival in Melanoma Trial

"A late-stage trial testing Bristol-Myers Squibb Co's cancer immunotherapy nivolumab in advanced melanoma patients was halted early after it was determined that the drug was likely to prolong survival, the company said on Tuesday..."


"The 418-patient Phase III study, called CheckMate -066, was testing nivolumab as an initial, or first line, therapy for patients with advanced melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer."


Editor's note: In a clinical trial with volunteer melanoma patients, researchers have been testing a new drug called nivolumab to see if it is a good first treatment for people with advanced melanoma. Nivolumab is an immunotherapy, meaning that it boosts a patient's own immune system to fight cancer. In the clinical trial, some of the patients were being treated with nivolumab, and some with a standard chemotherapy drug called dacarbazine. Nivolumab showed so much better results than dacarbazine that the trial was ended early, and the patients who had been taking dacarbazine were switched to nivolumab.

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Reuters  |  Jun 24, 2014

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Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma: Added Benefit for Non-Pretreated Patients Not Proven

Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma: Added Benefit for Non-Pretreated Patients Not Proven | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) already assessed the added benefit of ipilimumab in advanced melanoma in 2012. A considerable added benefit was found for patients who had already received previous treatment. In the new dossier compiled by the drug manufacturer, the drug was now compared with the appropriate comparator therapy dacarbazine specified by the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) also for non-pretreated patients."


Editor's Note: This story is a little confusing, so here is a summary to clarify: It was already known that ipilimumab can be beneficial for people who have received previous treatment for melanoma. A new study aimed to find out if ipilimumab also improves survival for patients who have not received prior treatment. However, for a variety of reasons, the study did not show that ipilimumab performs any better than dacarbazine in patients who have not received prior treatment.

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 18, 2014

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Combo Chemotherapy Bests Single Drug Against Melanoma

Combo Chemotherapy Bests Single Drug Against Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

Two chemotherapy drugs may be better than one against melanoma, according to results from an ongoing clinical trial that were presented at the 2013 meeting of the  International Society for Melanoma Research. The drugs were dacarbazine, which is U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved for melanoma, and paclitaxel, which is FDA-approved for breast, lung, and pancreatic cancers. In a phase III trial of 529 melanoma patients, the drug combination kept tumors from growing two times longer than dacarbazine alone (4.8 vs 2.5 months, respectively). The subgroups that did best included men and people with melanomas that had spread to the liver or brain. This is particularly encouraging for the latter group because they have the worst prognosis.

Cancer Commons's insight:

HemOnc Today │ Nov 21, 2013

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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.

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MedPage Today | Jun 4, 2012

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Dabrafenib Improved Quality of Life in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma

Dabrafenib Improved Quality of Life in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Patients with metastatic melanoma treated with dabrafenib demonstrated improved quality of life compared with those who received dacarbazine, according to phase 3 study results.


"Initial analyses of the BREAK-3 trial indicated dabrafenib (Tafinlar; GlaxoSmithKline) prolonged median PFS compared with dacarbazine (DTIC) in patients with BRAFV600E-mutant metastatic melanoma (5.1 months vs. 2.7 months; HR=0.30; 95% CI, 0.18-0.53)."

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Healio  |  May 2, 2014

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Extended Follow-up in BRIM-3 Shows Prolonged Survival With Vemurafenib in BRAF V600E/K Mutation–Positive Melanoma

Extended Follow-up in BRIM-3 Shows Prolonged Survival With Vemurafenib in BRAF V600E/K Mutation–Positive Melanoma | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

"In the BRIM-3 trial, vemurafenib (Zelboraf) was associated with improved progression-free and overall survival vs dacarbazine in patients with advanced BRAF V600 mutation–positive melanoma. In an extended follow-up reported in The Lancet Oncology, McArthur et al found that superior survival outcomes were maintained and were present in both theBRAF V600E and BRAF V600K mutation subgroups."


Editor's note: Read more about vemurafenib here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a612009.html

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The ASCO Post  |  Feb 12, 2014

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Cost-Benefit Analysis Questions Treating Medicaid Patients with Vemurafenib

The impressive, but still short-term, benefits of vemurafenib for melanoma patients may not justify the hefty cost to a Massachusetts Medicaid program, according to an analysis presented at an American Society of Health-System Pharmacists meeting. Vemurafenib targets the most common mutation of BRAF, which is one of the genes that is most often abnormal in melanomas. The analysis noted that vemurafenib boosted 6-month survival rates over those of the conventional chemotherapy drug dacarbazine (84% and 64%, respectively). However, vemurafenib is also more expensive than dacarbazine, with relative per patient costs estimated at $9,995 and $1,811 per month, respectively. 

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MedPage Today | Dec 7, 2012

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