Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Mekinist Plus Tafinlar OK'd for Late-Stage Melanoma

The most deadly form of skin cancer

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Scott Roberts

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Mekinist for use with another drug, Tafinlar, to treat advanced melanoma that is spreading or cannot be removed by surgery.

Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, accounting for an estimated 9,480 American deaths last year, the FDA said Friday in a news release. Mekinist (trametinib) is newly approved to be used in combination with Tafinlar (dabrafenib). Both drugs were first sanctioned in May 2013 to be used by themselves to battle advanced melanoma, the agency said.

The combination therapy is newly approved for people who have certain mutations in the BRAF V600E and V600K genes, the FDA said. About half of melanoma cases have the mutated genes.

The combination therapy was clinically evaluated in 162 people. Of those treated, 78 percent had their cancer shrink or disappear for an average of 10.5 months, the agency said.

The most common side effects included fever, chills, rash, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain and swelling of the arms and feet. More serious adverse reactions included bleeding, blood clots, heart failure, and skin and eye problems.

The drug combination can cause infertility and birth defects, the agency said, warning men and women of child-bearing age.

Both drugs are marketed by GlaxoSmithKline, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Today on WebMD

Woman checking out tan lines
SLIDESHOW
Cancer Fighting Foods Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
Could Caffeine Help Fight Skin Cancer
VIDEO
 

12 Ways to Protect Your Skin from Melanoma
ARTICLE
precancerous lesions slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
Do You Know Your Melanoma ABCs
VIDEO
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
ARTICLE
 

screening tests for men
SLIDESHOW
Vitamin D
SLIDESHOW
 
Is That Mole Skin Cancer
VIDEO
Brilliant sun rays
Quiz
 

WebMD Special Sections