'Leap forward' for advanced-stage melanoma treatment

Vemurafenib (Zelboraf, Roche) is approved for treatment of patients with unresectable stage IIIC or stage IV metastatic melanoma who test positive for the BRAF (V600) mutation.

The drug has been shown to extend the median life expectancy of patients with advanced-stage melanoma from nine months to 15.9 months in a phase II study and to 13.6 months in a phase III study where the control group received standard chemotherapy, said Dr Georgina Long, medical oncologist at the Melanoma Institute of Australia and Westmead Hospital.

“The difference is that although it [only] extends survival, the impact in terms of