Dual Inhibitor Therapy Elicits Responses in Rare, BRAF-Mutant Cancers

Brittany Lovely
Published: Thursday, May 16, 2019
Zev A. Wainberg, MD

Zev A. Wainberg, MD

Rare cancers with BRAF mutations are demonstrating responses to the combination of dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and trametinib (Mekinist), a molecularly targeted pairing that has approved indications in melanoma and non–small cell lung cancer. The most recent indication for the combination is for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic anaplastic thyroid cancer with a BRAF V600E mutation and no options for locoregional therapy.

The FDA approved the combination based on results from the ROAR trial (NCT02034110), a phase II basket study that enrolled patients with rare cancers across tumor types harboring a BRAF V600E mutation. Dabrafenib targets BRAF protiens while trametinib inhibits MEK signaling; both are in the MAPK/ERK pathway.

In an interview with OncLive®, Zev A. Wainberg, MD, an investigator on the ROAR trial, discussed the future of this BRAF/MEK combination in rare cancers and why oncologists should be testing patients for this mutation. Wainberg is an associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and co-director of the UCLA Gastro-Intestinal Oncology Program.

OncLive®: Please comment on the emergence of the BRAF/MEK dual inhibitor therapy.

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