BRAF inhibitors

BRAF inhibitors are drugs that target cells with BRAF gene changes.


About half of all melanomas have mutations in the BRAF gene. 


Melanoma cells with these changes make an altered BRAF protein that helps them grow. Some drugs target this and related proteins, such as the MEK proteins.


Vemurafenib (Zelboraf), dabrafenib (Tafinlar), and encorafenib (Braftovi) are drugs that attack the BRAF protein directly.


Dabrafenib can also be used with the MEK inhibitor trametinib.


Common side effects can include skin thickening, rash, itching, sensitivity to the sun, headache, fever, joint pain, fatigue, hair loss, and nausea. 


Less common but serious side effects can include heart rhythm problems, liver problems, kidney failure, severe allergic reactions, severe skin or eye problems, bleeding, and increased blood sugar levels.


Some people treated with these drugs develop new squamous cell skin cancers. 

BRAF targeted therapy can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and rash and a higher degree of toxicity rates than anti-PD-1 agents.

The side effects of BRAF targeted therapy tends to be reversible almost immediately upon cessation of the drug, unlike PD+1 inhibitors.



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