Patients who have unresectable or metastatic melanoma with a BRAF V600E or V600K mutation have prolonged progression-free survival and overall survival when receiving treatment with BRAF inhibitors plus MEK inhibitors. However, long-term clinical outcomes in these patients remain undefined. To determine 5-year survival rates and clinical characteristics of the patients with durable benefit, we sought to review long-term data from randomized trials of combination therapy with BRAF and MEK inhibitors.
We analyzed pooled extended-survival data from two trials involving previously untreated patients who had received BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib (at a dose of 150 mg twice daily) plus MEK inhibitor trametinib (2 mg once daily) in the COMBI-d and COMBI-v trials. The median duration of follow-up was 22 months (range, 0 to 76). The primary end points in the COMBI-d and COMBI-v trials were progression-free survival and overall survival, respectively.
A total of 563 patients were randomly assigned to receive dabrafenib plus trametinib (211 in the COMBI-d trial and 352 in the COMBI-v trial). The progression-free survival rates were 21% (95% confidence interval [CI], 17 to 24) at 4 years and 19% (95% CI, 15 to 22) at 5 years. The overall survival rates were 37% (95% CI, 33 to 42) at 4 years and 34% (95% CI, 30 to 38) at 5 years. In multivariate analysis, several baseline factors (e.g., performance status, age, sex, number of organ sites with metastasis, and lactate dehydrogenase level) were significantly associated with both progression-free survival and overall survival. A complete response occurred in 109 patients (19%) and was associated with an improved long-term outcome, with an overall survival rate of 71% (95% CI, 62 to 79) at 5 years.
First-line treatment with dabrafenib plus trametinib led to long-term benefit in approximately one third of the patients who had unresectable or metastatic melanoma with a BRAF V600E or V600K mutation.