LifeTimes Online  
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Nov.-Dec. 2011, Vol. XXVI, No. 6
Front Page
Thinking about making some healthy changes?
Want to teach, learn and volunteer?
'Don't Cross Your Eyes... They'll Get Stuck That Way!'
Get new Be Smart. Be Well.® newsletters
NFL hit with concussion suit
Coping with Parkinson's disease
Emancipation Proclamations pre-date Lincoln
Here come 2012 generic drugs!
Look for medication interactions
New skin cancer drug
Singing the praises of solo travel
BCBSIL supports Hispanic community
Prostate cancer screening for healthy men?
CMS proposes to cover obesity therapy
Boostrix vaccine approved for older adults
Studies link risk factors, male sexual dysfunction
Immunization questions: Find answers online
Recent News
About LifeTimes
Current Issue
Previous Issues

Share |

Blue MedicareRx (PDP)SM News
New skin cancer drug

Zelboraf (vemurafenib) is the second drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [link to] this year to treat advanced malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. The drug was approved in August, based on studies showing it improved the overall survival rates for people with late-stage melanoma who carry a certain genetic pattern called BRAF V600E.

Earlier this year, the FDA also OK’d Yervoy, a different type of drug, for use in late-stage melanoma.

“Late-stage” skin cancer is either inoperable or metastatic, meaning it has already spread to other parts of the body. The study that prompted the FDA to issue a “priority review” or fast-track approval for Zelboraf involved 675 previously untreated patients. With melanoma that couldn’t be cut out, they were given either Zelboraf or dacabarzine, an already-approved anti-cancer treatment. According to an Aug. 17, 2011 FDA news release, 77 percent of patients were still living after eight months, versus 64 percent of those who took dacabarazine.

In the news release, the FDA also announced approval of a “first-of-a-kind test” to determine if melanoma cells contain a mutated protein (BRAF V600E) signaling the cells have lost their ability to regulate growth. Uncontrolled growth can lead to skin cancer.

Zelboraf works by blocking the cancer-causing function of the mutated BRAF V600E protein, FDA officials reported.

Return to front page


A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

© Copyright 2012. . All Rights Reserved.
Home | Important Information