Two new oral drugs, dabrafenib (TafinlarTM) and trametinib (MekinistTM), have been FDA approved for stage IV melanoma patients. Like its predecessor vemurafenib, dabrafenib inhibits a defective gene called BRAF, thereby slowing or stopping production of melanoma cells. Trametinib is the first drug to inhibit another defective gene, MEK, also slowing or stopping production of melanoma cells. Both medicines have been found to hold back disease progression and increase survival by months or even years, and even greater results are expected when they are tried in combination with other drugs.
Published on November 21, 2013