Dr. Sherman Discusses MEK Inhibitors for Thyroid Cancer

Steven I. Sherman, MD
Published: Monday, Oct 22, 2012

Steven I. Sherman, MD, Department Chair, Department of Endocrine Neoplasia and Hormonal Disorders, Division of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the clinical interest in MEK inhibitors for thyroid cancer and a broad range of other tumors that signal through the MAP kinase pathway, including those with activations in Ras and BRAF.

The investigation of MEK inhibitors in melanoma and colon cancer has been long standing. In thyroid cancer there are a number of preclinical studies that have demonstrated success with these agents.

The rationale behind the combination of BRAF and MEK inhibitors is to lessen the toxicities associated with BRAF inhibitors alone, since MEK is a downstream effector of BRAF. This rationale has been supported in phase I studies showing that the use of a MEK inhibitor in combination with a BRAF inhibitor appears to prevent the bypassing resistance mechanism and side effects seen with single agent BRAF inhibition.

Steven I. Sherman, MD, Department Chair, Department of Endocrine Neoplasia and Hormonal Disorders, Division of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the clinical interest in MEK inhibitors for thyroid cancer and a broad range of other tumors that signal through the MAP kinase pathway, including those with activations in Ras and BRAF.

The investigation of MEK inhibitors in melanoma and colon cancer has been long standing. In thyroid cancer there are a number of preclinical studies that have demonstrated success with these agents.

The rationale behind the combination of BRAF and MEK inhibitors is to lessen the toxicities associated with BRAF inhibitors alone, since MEK is a downstream effector of BRAF. This rationale has been supported in phase I studies showing that the use of a MEK inhibitor in combination with a BRAF inhibitor appears to prevent the bypassing resistance mechanism and side effects seen with single agent BRAF inhibition.


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