Zelboraf is a medicine used to treat the skin cancer melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body and cannot be removed by surgery. It is only to be used by those who have an abnormal BRAF gene. Zelboraf is target to impact some forms of the mutated BRAF but may also impact healthy cells, therefore making it a personalized targeted therapy. Possible benefits include a slowdown in the growth of cancer and longer life span in patients.
Zelboraf may cause a type of skin cancer called cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cuSCC). This usually does not spread to other parts of the body, but a doctor should be notified of any skin changes. It should not be used while pregnant and could harm the unborn baby. Other serious side effects may include dizziness, fainting, white patches on the eyes, new or worsening skin lesions, or severe skin reactions.
During Zelboraf’s trial, 24% of the participants who used the drug developed cuSCC with a median onset of symptoms about 7 weeks after the trial began. Lawsuits have been filed by those who who assert that Zelboraf has caused the cuSCC cancer.