Vemurafenib: An evidence-based review of its clinical utility in the treatment of metastatic melanoma

Abhisek Swaika, Jennifer A. Crozier, Richard W. Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The discovery of BRAF mutations in the majority of patients with metastatic melanoma combined with the identification of highly selective BRAF inhibitors have revolutionized the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma. The first highly specific BRAF inhibitor, vemurafenib, began clinical testing in 2008 and moved towards a rapid approval in 2011. Vemurafenib induced responses in ~50% of patients with metastatic BRAF-mutant melanoma and demonstrated improved overall survival in a randomized Phase III trial. Furthermore, vemurafenib is well-tolerated with a low toxicity profile and rapid onset of action. Finally, vemurafenib is active even in patients with widely metastatic disease. Despite the success of vemurafenib in treating patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma, most, if not all, patients ultimately develop resistance resulting in disease progression at a median time of ~6 months. Multiple mechanisms of resistance have been described and rationale strategies are underway to combat resistance. This review highlights the development, clinical utility, resistance mechanisms, and future use of vemurafenib both in melanoma and other malignancies. We consulted PubMed, Scopus, MEDLINE, ASCO annual symposium abstracts, and for the purpose of this review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-787
Number of pages13
JournalDrug Design, Development and Therapy
StatePublished - Jun 16 2014


  • BRAFV600E
  • Immunotherapy
  • Resistance
  • Vemurafenib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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