New drug can double melanoma survival

One of the first new treatments to become available for advanced melanoma in more than an decade doubles the average survival time for patients with the disease.

The drug, vemurafenib, was approved by regulators in the US and Australia last year after studies showed a significant number of patients entered remission, in which their cancers stopped growing or shrank, after receiving the treatment.

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has provided the first proof that this translates into a significant extension to lifespan.

Typical survival for melanoma patients, once their cancer has spread elsewhere in the body, is from six to 10 months, but the study found patients treated with vemurafenib had a median survival of 16 months.

The Australian, 24/2/2012, page 3. Adelaide Advertiser, 24/2/2012, page 34. Courier Mail, 24/2/2012, page 25. Canberrra Times, 24/2/2012, page 3. Hobart Mercury, 24/2/2012, page 4

This article is sourced from Cancer in the News. Cancer in the News is an edited summary of news items in daily national and capital city newspapers. Produced by Cancer Council Australia, it aims to keep stakeholders up-to-date on media reporting of cancer. Cancer in the News does not necessarily represent the views of Cancer Council Australia.