Take this cancer drug and get another cancer

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  Another “oops” from your oncologist and the Big Pharma industry which fuels him or her. This drug Vemurafenib given to people with melanoma causes squamous cell carcinomas… Oooops!

Another option: in conjunction with your oncologist, why not correct the problem and change the context within which the cancer is growing? Example:   if your house plant is sick, don’t run to the plant section of the hardware store for some synthetic “plant pep-up product” . Instead, correct the variables relevant to the plant itself: add more light and water or reduce more light or water. See “Corrective Cancer Care” for more options.


Melanoma Drug Vemurafenib Linked To Secondary Squamous Cell Carcinomas.

Bloomberg News (1/19, Kresge) reports, “Roche Holding AG…melanoma drug Zelboraf [vemurafenib] speeds growth of another type of skin cancer, ” according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which underscores the “need to test the medicine in combination with a second treatment.” Researchers “analyzed DNA in 21 tissue samples from Zelboraf patients who developed cutaneous squamous-cell carcinoma” and found that “about 60 percent of the samples had one of two known cancer-causing gene mutations not targeted by the drug.”

HealthDay (1/19, Behen) explains that “roughly one-quarter of patients who take the medication develop a troublesome side effect: secondary skin cancers called squamous cell carcinomas.” Study co-author Dr. Antoni Ribas said, “What we found is that vemurafenib blocks the mutation that makes the melanoma grow, but when patients have skin cells with another mutation that’s probably induced from sun exposure, there the drug has the exact opposite effect and causes these squamous cell cancers to grow.” Ribas also noted that “the findings suggest that combining vemurafenib, a BRAF inhibitor, with a drug called an MEK inhibitor — which blocks the other mutation — may not only prevent this side effect, but may also lead to an even more effective melanoma treatment.”

“In laboratory studies, the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib stimulated mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling that led to increased proliferation of cells harboring RAS mutations, particularly HRAS,” MedPage Today (1/19, Bankhead) adds. “BRAF inhibitors, when used to treat patients with melanoma who harbor the BRAF V600E mutation, can lead to the remission of even advanced lesions.” But “resistance to BRAF inhibitors emerges within months and there can be the development of secondary tumors, most commonly cutaneous squamous-cell carcinomas and keratoacanthomas.”

Last June, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, research that showed promising results of combing BRAF and MEK inhibitors was presented, Reuters (1/19, Steenhuysen) points out.

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