Before undergoing treatment with Zelboraf™ (vemurafenib), your healthcare provider will obtain a sample of your skin cancer. If this test shows that you have a certain type of abnormal gene (called the BRAF gene), you may be able to take Zelboraf. This prescription medicine is only approved for use in adults who have melanoma with an abnormal BRAF gene. This drug is also only used when the skin cancer has spread to other areas of the body or cannot be surgically treated.
Zelboraf works by blocking the action of an abnormal BRAF gene. A normal BRAF gene helps regulate cell growth. However, when this gene is defective, it causes an abnormal growth of cells (including cancer cells). By blocking the action of the BRAF gene and preventing abnormal cell growth, Zelboraf can slow down the progression of melanoma.
(For more details on this type of cancer treatment, click Zelboraf. This full-length article also covers dosing instructions, potential side effects, safety issues to be aware of, and more.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Zelboraf [package insert]. South San Francisco, CA: Genentech USA, Inc.;2014 March.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves Zelboraf and companion diagnostic test for late-stage skin cancer (8/17/2011). FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm268241.htm. Accessed November 1, 2011.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed November 1, 2011.
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