Two new drugs equally effective against common skin cancer

A review of studies show the drugs Vismodegib and Sonidegib are equally effective against basal cell carcinoma.

By Stephen Feller

PHOENIX, March 31 (UPI) -- Two newer drugs, Vismodegib and Sonidegib, were found in a study to be equally effective against basal cell carcinoma, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic and Translational Genomics Research Institute.

The two drugs, focused on a protein called Smoothened, or SMO, in the Hedgehog pathway that allows cancer cells to send signals from inside the cell to its surface, are both already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use as first-line drugs against basal cell carcinoma.


The new article was written by Dr. Danial Von Hoff, a professor at the TGRI, and Dr. Aleksander Sekulic, a professor of dermatology at the Mayo Clinic, who were asked by the journal Cell to report on separate studies conducted by the researchers on the drugs, according to a press release.

For the article, published in the journal Cell, researchers outline uninhibited SMO signals leading to the activation of cancer, and the effects of each drug when patients were treated.

Vismodegib, approved by the FDA in 2012, was shown in studies dating to 2009 to shrink basal cell carcinoma tumors, and in a phase 2 study published in 2012 was shown to reduce the size of locally advanced tumors in 43 percent of patients and metastatic tumors in 30 percent of patients.


Sonidegib, which is not approved for use with patients who have metastatic cancer, was shown in a 2015 study to shrink locally advanced tumors in 44 percent of patients.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer in the United States, with 2.8 million new cases diagnosed each year, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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