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Report: At 6 Months Post-Launch, Nearly One Half of U.S. Oncologists Prescribe Dabrafenib (Tafinlar) for Malignant Melanoma

Oncologists likely to replace vemurafenib prescriptions with dabrafenib/trametinib combo

Decision Resources Group, a health care research firm located in Burlington, Mass., finds that at 6 months post-launch in the U.S., 45% of surveyed U.S. medical oncologists have prescribed the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib (Tafinlar, GlaxoSmithKline) for BRAF mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma, compared with 28% who have prescribed the MEK inhibitor trametinib (Mekinist, GlaxoSmithKline).

Among current non-prescribers of dabrafenib and trametinib, the highest percentage (38% and 44%, respectively) expected to prescribe these agents to their patients with BRAF mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma within the next 1 to 3 months. Notably, a significantly higher percentage of medical oncologists surveyed at 6 months post-launch expressed a high willingness to prescribe trametinib compared with 1month post-launch.

Other key findings include the following:

  • The top perceived advantage of single-agent dabrafenib and trametinib over other currently available treatment options for unresectable and metastatic malignant melanoma is their efficacy.
  • The safety and tolerability profiles of dabrafenib and trametinib and their cost were cited by surveyed oncologists as key disadvantages.
  • Most of the surveyed oncologists were aware that dabrafenib and trametinib are approved for use in combination, and 60% of surveyed oncologists who have prescribed dabrafenib and trametinib as monotherapy indicated that they have prescribed dabrafenib/trametinib combination therapy.
  • Most of the surveyed medical oncologists who have prescribed dabrafenib, trametinib, and the dabrafenib/trametinib combination indicated high satisfaction with these therapies. The mean satisfaction level was highest for the combination treatment.
  • At 6 months after the launch of dabrafenib and trametinib, surveyed oncologists expected to prescribe the first-to-market BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib (Zelboraf, Roche/Genentech) to a significantly lower percentage of patients with unresectable or metastatic BRAF V600-mutated malignant melanoma compared with oncologists surveyed 1 month post-launch.

“According to surveyed oncologists, Tafinlar and Mekinist are most likely to replace prescriptions of Zelboraf, with use of Tafinlar/Mekinist combination therapy most likely to replace Zelboraf in first-line BRAF mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic malignant melanoma,” said analyst Karen Pomeranz, MSc, PhD.

Source: BioTrends Research Group; March 26, 2014.

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