Skin Cancer Home > Zelboraf

People who have a certain type of skin cancer may receive Zelboraf to help slow down the progression of this disease. This medicine is specifically designed for melanoma that cannot be treated with surgery or has spread to other areas of the body. It comes in tablet form and is taken twice a day. Side effects may include fatigue, hair loss, and joint pain.

What Is Zelboraf?

Zelboraf™ (vemurafenib) is a prescription medication approved to treat melanoma (a type of skin cancer) that cannot be treated with surgery or has spread to other areas of the body (metastasized). It is meant for use in people who have an abnormal BRAF V600E gene.
(Click Zelboraf Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medication?

Zelboraf is made by Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., for Genentech USA, Inc.

How Does It Work?

Zelboraf is approved for use in people who have an abnormal gene known as the BRAF gene. The BRAF protein helps regulate cell growth. When the BRAF gene is abnormal, the BRAF protein is constantly turned on, causing an abnormal growth of cells, which leads to melanoma.
Zelboraf works by blocking the action of the BRAF protein, and thus preventing abnormal cell growth. By blocking abnormal cell growth, Zelboraf can slow down the progression of melanoma.

Clinical Effects

Zelboraf has been shown to improve survival time and delay progression of advanced melanoma in people who have not already received treatment. Everyone in the clinical study had a mutation in the BRAF gene, which is associated with melanoma.
In the study, people given Zelboraf had a progression-free survival (which is the amount of time after treatment starts that the cancer does not get worse) of about 5.3 months, compared to 1.6 months in people given a different cancer medication.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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