BRAF inhibitors promising in lung adenocarcinoma

The BRAF inhibitors vemurafenib and dabrafenib, currently approved for use in advanced melanoma, are also effective in a subset of lung adenocarcinoma patients with BRAF mutations, according to a retrospective European trial presented at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC) held in Geneva, Switzerland.

In the EURAF cohort study, researchers reviewed data of 35 patients with BRAF mutations who were treated with BRAF inhibitors (29 had BRAF V600E mutation; 6 had other BRAF mutations). Thirty-one patients received one BRAF inhibitor and four patients received two BRAF inhibitors. Altogether, 28 patients received vemurafenib, 10 received dabrafenib, and one received sorafenib. [ELCC 2015, abstract 980_PR]

“Best response by RECIST [Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumours] was available for 36 of the 39 BRAF inhibitor therapies. Overall response rate was 53 percent, including 6 percent complete response, 47 percent partial response, 36 percent stable disease, and 11 percent disease progression. No unexpected toxicities were reported,” said Dr. Oliver Gautschi from Lucern Cantonal Hospital, Switzerland, who presented the results. “These data support BRAF testing in advanced lung adenocarcinoma, and BRAF inhibitor therapy in patients with V600E mutation.”

Commenting on the findings, Dr. David Planchard of the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, noted that only about 2 percent of lung adenocarcinomas harbour BRAF mutations. “Because of the low frequency of BRAF mutations in lung cancer, it is unlikely we will have randomized phase III trials in this population. The results of this study add to growing support for the approval of BRAF inhibitors for use in lung cancer.”

Ongoing studies are evaluating BRAF inhibitors in combination with other therapies and potential drug resistance mechanisms in this population.

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