News from the FDA/CDC

FDA approves triple drug combo for melanoma


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the triple-therapy combination of atezolizumab (Tecentriq) plus cobimetinib (Cotellic) and vemurafenib (Zelboraf) for the treatment of BRAF V600 mutation-positive advanced melanoma, according to a press statement from Genentech, which owns all three drugs.

This is the first melanoma indication for the PD-L1 inhibitor atezolizumab; the other two drugs, cobimetinib and vemurafenib, are a MEK- plus BRAF-inhibitor combination previously approved for BRAF-mutated melanoma.

The new approval is based on safety and efficacy results from the randomized, phase 3 IMspire150 study from patients with previously untreated BRAF V600 mutation-positive metastatic or unresectable locally advanced melanoma.

Progression-free survival (PFS), the primary endpoint, was improved by 4.5 months with the triple therapy compared to the doublet.

The addition of atezolizumab to cobimetinib and vemurafenib led to a longer median PFS of 15.1 months, compared to 10.6 months with placebo plus cobimetinib and vemurafenib (hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.63 – 0.97; P = .025).

The most common adverse reactions (rate ≥ 20%) in patients who received the triple combination were rash (75%), musculoskeletal pain (62%), fatigue (51%), hepatotoxicity (50%), pyrexia (49%), nausea (30%), pruritus (26%), edema (26%), stomatitis (23%), hypothyroidism (22%), and photosensitivity reaction (21%).

The review was conducted under Project Orbis, an initiative of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence that facilitates concurrent submission and review of oncology products among international partners.

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