March 11, 2022 • 2 Min

Testing an Approved Drug for a Specific Mutation

black and white photo of DNA reading

Bastian Greshake Tzovaras; Flickr

Could a drug combination commonly used to treat melanoma be effective for pancreatic cancer patients that carry a specific BRAF mutation?

As scientists and clinicians look to expand the applications of precision medicine to pancreatic cancer patients, they have homed in on the BRAF gene, which can contribute to the uncontrolled growth and spread of cancer cells when mutated. Researchers are looking at whether a drug combination effective for other cancer patients with a BRAF mutation can work for pancreatic cancer patients with the same mutation.

Targeting a Mutation

BRAF is altered in about 15 percent of all cancers, and the large majority of those (70 to 90 percent) have a V600E mutation. Commonly found in melanoma patients, about 3 percent of pancreatic cancer patients are also believed to harbor this alteration.

Binimetinib (Mektovi) and encorafenib (Braftovi) is a drug combination currently used as treatment for melanoma patients with BRAF V600E mutations. The combination has been shown to block the proliferation of tumor cells by targeting certain growth enzymes. Researchers are now assessing whether the combination will be effective in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who carry the same genetic mutation.

How the Trial Works

This phase II trial studies the side effects and how well the combination of binimetinib and encorafenib works in pancreatic cancer patients with a BRAF V600E mutation. Participants must have cancer that has continued to grow after initial treatment or whose cancer has recurred.

After completing the study treatment, patients will receive follow-up assessment every three months for up to five years. Participants must also be willing to return to the enrolling institution during the active treatment and follow-up phases of the trial, which is being conducted at several sites nationwide.

We encourage you to consult your physicians for clinical trials that may be right for you. The website provides more details about this trial as well as many others. You can visit the EmergingMed Trial Finder for a list of all active pancreatic cancer clinical trials.

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