Food and Drug Administration recently
approved two new drugs, Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib), for
patients with advanced or unresectable melanoma,. U.S.
Tafinlar, a BRAF inhibitor, is approved to treat patients with melanoma whose tumors express the BRAF V600E gene mutation. Mekinist, a MEK inhibitor, is approved to treat patients whose tumors express the BRAF V600E or V600K gene mutations. Approximately half of melanomas arising in the skin have a BRAF gene mutation. Tafinlar and Mekinist are being approved as single agents, not as a combination treatment.
The FDA approved Tafinlar and Mekinist with a genetic test called the THxID BRAF test, a companion diagnostic that will help determine if a patient’s melanoma cells have the V600E or V600K mutation in the BRAF gene.
“Advancements in our understanding of the biological pathways of a disease have allowed for the development of Tafinlar and Mekinist, the third and fourth drugs the FDA has approved for treating metastatic melanoma in the past two years,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Zelboraf (vemurafenib) and Yervoy (ipilimumab) were approved in 2011 for the treatment of metastatic or unresectable melanoma.
The FDA’s approval of the THxID BRAF test is based on data from clinical studies that support the Tafinlar and Mekinist approvals. Samples of patients’ melanoma tissue were collected to test for the mutation.
For more information: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm354199.htm