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Effect of Vemurafenib on Melanoma
Vemurafenib (sold as Zelboraf) is a recently approved chemotherapy available for melanoma treatment. For the 60% of melanoma patients whose cancer is caused by the V600E BRAF mutation,it restores...
Read more about Melanoma and Vemurafenib.
Vemurafenib is taken twice a day in pill form, approximately every 12 hours. In contrast, dacarbazine is administered every three weeks by IV. Patients should inform any other doctor or dentist that you are taking Vemurafenib before they care for you. Avoid sunlight and sunlamps. They should use lip balm and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. It is necessary to get regularly screened for new moles (squamous cell carcinomas), that grow more frequently when using Vemurafenib, and that will need to be quickly removed.
Vemurafenib is a treatment that extends life and reduces tumors. It is not a cure. While 74% of the patients showed regression, compared with ~5% for Dacarbazine, the regression only lasted from 2-18 months. Two explanations for the recurrence have been identified. The cancer cells find an alternative path to excessive growth through cell surface protein, or an upstream gene on the pathway, N-ras mutates and the cancer growth resumes. The successful results are encouraging for metastatic melanoma patients as well as other cancers that are caused through these pathways, especially by the same V600E mutation.
At this time vemurafenib treatment costs ~$10,000 per month.