Skin Cancer Home > Mekinist

People who have advanced skin cancer that has spread to other areas or cannot be treated with surgery may receive Mekinist. Studies have shown that this medication can help slow down the progression of the disease. This anticancer drug comes as a tablet that is taken once daily. Many people taking it will experience some type of side effect, such as diarrhea, a rash, or swelling.


What Is Mekinist?

Mekinist™ (trametinib) is a prescription medication approved to treat people with advanced melanoma, a type of skin cancer, when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body or cannot be treated with surgery. It is used when the cancer cells have a certain abnormal change in a gene known as the BRAF gene. Certain medical tests can be done to determine if the cancer cells have this abnormal gene.
Mekinist belongs to a group of medicines known as kinase inhibitors.
(Click Mekinist Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medication?

Mekinist is made by GlaxoSmithKline.

How Does Mekinist Work?

Mekinist belongs to a broad group of medicines known as kinase inhibitors. More specifically, it is a MEK inhibitor. MEK stands for mitogen-activated extracellular signal regulated kinase. It is a protein that is involved in telling cells to grow and multiply. Mekinist blocks the action of MEK and thus helps to stop or slow down the growth of cancer cells, which can slow down the progression of melanoma.

Clinical Effects

In a clinical study, Mekinist delayed the progression of cancer in people with melanoma that had spread to other areas of the body (metastasized) or could not be treated with surgery. All the people in the trial also had a mutation (abnormal change) in a gene known as the BRAF gene.
In the study, people were randomly assigned to receive Mekinist or a chemotherapy medication (either dacarbazine or paclitaxel). Those given Mekinist had 4.8 months of treatment before their melanoma progressed further, while those given chemotherapy had a progression of their melanoma after only 1.5 months of treatment.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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