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New Treatments in Melanoma May Steal Share from Yervoy

Jun 27, 2012

Kantar Health Survey Shows Oncologists Will Switch to Newer Treatments Following ASCO® Presentation

NEW YORK, June 27, 2012—Physicians said they would use new treatments now in clinical trials in nearly 30% of their metastatic melanoma patients with BRAF mutations, mostly at the expense of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Yervoy (ipilimumab), according to a survey conducted by Kantar Health, a leading healthcare-focused global consultancy and marketing insights company.

Kantar Health conducted a brief survey with US oncologists before and after the recent meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to determine how the presentation of clinical data at the meeting would affect oncologists’ use of oncology treatments.

Pivotal results for two new products from GlaxoSmithKline, dabrafenib and trametinib, were presented at ASCO for first-line treatment of metastatic melanoma patients with BRAF mutations. These will compete with Roche’s Zelboraf (vemurafenib) and Yervoy. Following decades of frustration and failure, recent advances for the treatment of metastatic melanoma resulted in 2011 approvals for Yervoy and, for patients with BRAFV600E, Zelboraf.


In the post-ASCO survey, physicians reported that these new agents would have little impact on their use of Zelboraf. However, they expect dabrafenib and trametinib to significantly cut into their use of Yervoy in BRAF mutant patients.


Utilization in First-line BRAF V600E Mutant Metastatic Melanoma

(% of Patients)

Reported Use

Expected Use




Yervoy (ipilimumab)






Zelboraf (vemurafenib)



Other regimen




“Based on data presented at ASCO, it is likely that dabrafenib and trametinib will receive regulatory approval, though GSK has yet to file,” says Gordon Gochenauer, Director, Kantar Health. “With a somewhat better safety profile than Zelboraf, they will be worthy competitors in the market and provide a treatment alternative for patients with BRAF mutations.” 


Despite the apparently superior safety profile (which includes fewer squamous cell carcinomas and photosensitivity), the lack of impact on use of Zelboraf suggests that this may not be sufficient to differentiate the agents.


About Kantar Health (

Kantar Health is a global, evidence-based decision support partner to the world’s leading pharmaceutical, biotech, device and diagnostic companies. Our 700+ staff act as catalysts, working closely with customers to drive distinctive decision-making that helps them prioritize product development and portfolios, differentiate their brands and ensure product profitability after launch. We are unique in that we bring together clinical, medical and methodological expertise, commercial/marketing know-how and proprietary data. It is this rare combination, together with our unparalleled stakeholder reach, that enables us to mobilize incisive, imaginative and timely ROI-driven solutions, empowering clients to deliver better healthcare options to their customers.


With staff in over 40 countries, we excel at solving technically or logistically challenging projects around the world and across the product lifecycle, combining on-the-ground know-how and global and national proprietary data to quickly identify value drivers. As part of WPP, we can also incorporate highly innovative thinking from outside the industry into our solutions.


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