What is trametinib?
Doctors prescribe this medication to treat:
- Unresectable or metastatic melanoma caused by a defect in the BRAF gene. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicates that Mekinist should be exclusive for BRAF-positive melanoma cases.
- As part of the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, Mekinist can be prescribed with dabrafenib (trade name Tafinlar) to reach better outcomes. Once again, cancer needs to be BRAF-positive, which we can verify using an FDA-approved test.
How does Mekinist work?
When the BRAF gene translates into the BRAF protein, the latter will relay a signal that informs the cells when to grow and divide. A mutation in the BRAF gene alters the function of this protein. The result is the uncontrolled proliferation of cells because the BRAF protein is constantly signaling them.
As part of this cascade, we can find the MEK1 and MEK2 proteins, which can interfere with these signals and slow down the growth of cancer.
This is a brief simplification of how Mekinist works.
The new findings in the treatment of ovarian cancer
In a recent study published by The Lancet, doctor David Gershenson and his colleagues proved that Mekinist can lower the risk of disease progression or death by up to 52%. The results were contrasted with the standard of care treatment of low-grade serous ovarian carcinoma.
Note that phases II and III of this study are the first to demonstrate the significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) in low-grade serous ovarian carcinoma.
PFS is the time period from the start of a treatment until the disease progresses or the death.
As for the objective response rate, which is the percentage of patients whose tumors had shrunk between 30-50% in size, it was 26% for the Mekinist group. Moreover, 59% of patients had stable disease for at least 8 weeks. The median survival was 37.6 months in the Mekinist group. On the other hand, the standard-of-care group had a median survival of 29.2 months.
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