Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New drug improves progression-free survival, shrinks tumors in rare cancer for first time

03.06.2013
The experimental drug selumetinib is the first targeted therapy to demonstrate significant clinical benefit for patients with metastatic uveal melanoma, according to new Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center research presented on Saturday, June 1, at the 49th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The findings are potentially practice-changing for a historically "untreatable disease." Though uveal melanoma is rare — there are only 2,500 cases diagnosed in the United States each year — about half of patients will develop metastatic disease, and survival for patients with advanced disease has held steady at nine months to a year for decades.

Researchers found that progression-free survival (PFS) in patients receiving selumetinib was nearly 16 weeks and 50 percent of these patients experienced tumor shrinkage, with 15 percent achieving major shrinkage. Patients receiving temozolomide, the current standard chemotherapy, had seven weeks of PFS and no tumor shrinkage. Selumetinib also lengthened overall survival to 10.8 months versus 9.4 months with temozolomide, and side effects were manageable.

"This is the first study to show that a systemic therapy provides significant clinical benefit in a randomized fashion to advanced uveal melanoma patients, who have very limited treatment options," said Richard D. Carvajal, MD, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and lead author on the study. "This clinical benefit has never been demonstrated with other conventional or investigational agents, which is all we have been able to offer patients for decades."

Dr. Carvajal and his team decided to test selumetinib because it blocks the MEK protein, a key component of the tumor-driving MAPK pathway. This pathway is activated by mutations in the Gnaq and Gna11 genes, which occur in more than 85 percent of uveal melanoma patients; 84 percent of patients in this trial had one of the mutations.

Uveal melanoma does not respond to the drugs given to patients with melanoma on the skin; and, in fact, there is no drug approved specifically for treatment of the disease. Patients with uveal melanoma receive surgery to remove the tumor — and in some advanced cases, the entire eye — as well as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

In the trial, researchers randomized 98 patients with metastatic uveal melanoma and administered selumetinib to 47, of which 81 percent had a Gnaq or Gna11 mutation. Of the 49 patients who received temozolomide, 86 percent had a mutation. Two patients were not treated. Despite the study's cross-over design — meaning patients whose tumors progressed on temozolomide could begin taking selumetinib — there was a trend towards improved survival with selumetinib. Selumetinib was generally tolerable, with most side effects manageable with conservative management or dose modification.

Dr. Carvajal is currently planning a confirmatory multi-center, randomized trial that will enroll approximately 100 patients and be led by Memorial Sloan-Kettering. "If we can confirm selumetinib's effectiveness in treating advanced uveal melanoma in this follow-up trial, it will become the standard therapy for this disease, forming a foundation for new drug combinations that could maximize selumetinib's MEK-inhibitor effect," he said. "It could offer a whole new way to treat this historically untreatable disease."

The current research was supported by a Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Career Development Award, the National Institutes of Health, Cycle for Survival, and the Fund for Ophthalmic Knowledge.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the world's oldest and largest private institution devoted to prevention, patient care, research, and education in cancer. Our scientists and clinicians generate innovative approaches to better understand, diagnose, and treat cancer. Memorial Sloan-Kettering specialists are leaders in biomedical research and in translating the latest research to advance the standard of cancer care worldwide. For more information, go to http://www.mskcc.org.

Caitlin Hool | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mskcc.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht The genes are not to blame
20.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Targeting headaches and tumors with nano-submarines
20.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level

20.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Relax, just break it

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>