FDA approves vismodegib for basal cell cancers

Hi All

This is very interesting. I am unaware of any other such treatment for BCC.  Although this is only for advanced tumours at this point,  it does point towards new treatment options in the future.




The Food and Drug Administration has approved the groundbreaking, first-in-class drug Erivedge (vismodegib, Genentech) to treat adult patients with advanced and metastatic basal cell cancers.

Cleared under the FDA’s priority review program — which allows an expedited six-month evaluation of drugs that may offer major treatment advances — Erivedge is intended for use in patients with locally advanced basal cell cancer who are not candidates for surgery or radiation and for patients whose cancer has metastatized.

Erivedge is taken in pill form once a day. It works by inhibiting the Hedgehog pathway, which is active in most basal cell cancers and only a few normal tissues, such as hair follicles, according to the FDA website.


See http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=757288&cid=DERM for more about this.

  1. #1 by Tony Dicker on February 2, 2012 - 1:53 am

    I wonder if this would work for the patients with 50 superficial BCCs scattered over their chest and back?

  2. #2 by Hein Vandenbergh on February 2, 2012 - 11:01 pm

    That would be very expensive, Tony! That stuff ain’t cheap, and I can see that only derms are going to be allowed to prescribe it, or in-hosp/melanoma units.

    The approved indications, though, are likely to offer some hope to those poor beggars who have had those horrid, atypical facial BCcs, which have run completely amok. Once you’ve seen a couple of those, you realise that any therapy which offers hope to get on top of or prevent that sort of disfiguring scenario is worth it. I’va had two, both must have had a dozen major plastics and ENT/H&N procedures each, and end-up looking lile the Rocky Horror Show, with recurrently blocking stents as nostrils etc etc..

    As to the sBCC scenario, I find you can get rid of most of those by doing a good freeze, +/- serial curettage and diathermy. Boring and tedious, leaves a few scars (but on chest or back), but rel cheap and generally effective.

    TNX, Ian.

  3. #3 by Hein Vandenbergh on February 2, 2012 - 11:03 pm

    Oh, BTW, Tony, they’d lose their hair of course, too.

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