Combination drug therapy halts disease in advanced melanoma

Combination drug therapy halts disease in advanced melanoma

29 September 2014

A world-first study in the New England Journal of Medicine heralds the effectiveness of a targeted combination drug therapy after reporting major declines in the risk of disease progression and death in people with metastatic melanoma.

The multi-centre, double-blind, randomised, phase 3 trial compared oral dabrafenib (150 mg twice daily) and oral trametinib (2 mg once daily) combination therapy with oral dabrafenib (150 mg twice daily) and placebo.

Led by Associate Professor Georgina Long of Melanoma Institute Australia and The University of Sydney, the finding affirms accumulating evidence of the effectiveness of targeted combination therapies in extending life and halting disease progression in patients with cancers that carry genetic mutations that resist single-drug therapies.

“We show a significant 25 per cent reduction in the risk of disease progression with the combination of dabrafenib and trametinib over single-agent dabrafenib,” says Assistant Professor Long.

“We also report a significant 37 per cent relative reduction in the risk of death among people who received the combination drug therapy compared with monotherapy.”

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