Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New treatment for advanced melanoma shrinks tumors

Drug reduced tumors in 80 percent of patients, study says, but effect may be fleeting

“An experimental targeted cancer drug shrank advanced melanoma tumors in 81 percent of patients with the deadly and hard-to-treat cancer, doctors said Wednesday.

The findings were part of an early phase study used to determine the best dose of the experimental drug PLX4032, now in late-stage clinical trials. It is designed to target tumor cells with a mutation in a gene called BRAF. The drug is made by Roche and privately held Plexxikon.

In two patients, tumors went away completely. In 24 others, the tumors shrank by more than 30 percent, the team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The team said 81 percent of 32 patients with a BRAF mutation showed complete or partial shrinkage of their tumors.”

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