A recent clinical trial has shown promising results with an oral drug combination by Novartis in treating a sub-group of childhood brain cancer patients. The findings of this study were presented at the annual meeting of the American society of clinical oncology (ASCO) on June 6.
Low-grade gliomas (LGG’s) are tumours of brain cancer commonly occurring in children, with around 1,000 cases reported annually in the U.S. The trial enrolled a sub-group of LGG patients with a BRAF V600 mutation seen in about 15 to 20% of patients. The 110 participants were aged one to 17 years and were treated with either the two drugs Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib) or the standard chemotherapy.
The median time without disease progression was prolonged with the Novartis drug combo by approximately three times as compared to standard chemotherapy (20.1 months versus 7.4 months). Notably, the oral combination was better tolerated with lesser side effects than the standard chemotherapy.
The Tafinlar and Mekinist pill combination has been previously approved for skin, lung and thyroid cancer patients with BRAF V600 mutation. Based on the data presented at the ASCO meeting, Novartis will submalso submit to drug regulators for approval of the drug combination for LGG patients.