Selumetinib Active Against Melanoma of the Eye

Posted on June 26th, 2013 by

In a Phase II clinical trial, the investigational targeted drug selumetinib resulted in tumor shrinkage in half of patients with advanced melanoma of the eye. These results were presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Melanoma of the eye—also known as uveal melanoma—is a rare cancer that affects approximately 2,000 people each year in the United States. Although the cancer is often diagnosed at an early stage, roughly half of patients subsequently develop advanced, difficult-to-treat disease.

A majority of cases of melanoma of the eye involve mutations in the Gnaq or Gna11 genes. These mutations activate a biological pathway that contributes to cancer growth. Selumetinib blocks a protein—MEK—that is necessary to the functioning of this growth pathway.

To evaluate selumetinib for the treatment of metastatic melanoma of the eye, researchers conducted a Phase II clinical trial among 98 patients. Patients were treated with either selumetinib or the chemotherapy drug Temodar® (temozolomide).

  • 50% of patients in the selumetinib group experienced tumor shrinkage, with 15% experiencing major tumor shrinkage. None of the patients in the Temodar group experienced significant tumor shrinkage.
  • Selumetinib delayed cancer progression. Time to cancer progression (a worsening of the cancer) was 15.9 weeks in the selumetenib group and 7 weeks in the Temodar group.
  • Overall survival was 10.8 months in the selumetinib group and 9.4 months in the Temodar group.

These results suggest that selumetinib is active against advanced melanoma of the eye. This could provide patients with an important new treatment option.

Reference: Carvajal RD, Sosman JA, Quevedo F et al. Phase II study of selumetinib (sel) versus temozolomide (TMZ) in gnaq/Gna11 (Gq/11) mutant (mut) uveal melanoma. Presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. May 31-June 4, 2013; Chicago, IL. Abstract CRA9003.


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Tags: Melanoma, Stage IV Melanoma

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