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N Engl J Med. 2017 Nov 9;377(19):1813-1823. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1708539. Epub 2017 Sep 10.

Adjuvant Dabrafenib plus Trametinib in Stage III BRAF-Mutated Melanoma.

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From the Melanoma Institute Australia, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore and Mater Hospitals (G.V.L.), and Macquarie University, Melanoma Institute Australia, University of Sydney, and Westmead Hospital (R.K.), Sydney, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation, University of Queensland, Brisbane (V.A.), and Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC (A. Haydon) - all in Australia; University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel (A. Hauschild), and University Hospital Essen, Essen, and the German Cancer Consortium, Heidelberg (D.S.) - all in Germany; Fondazione Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan (M.S.), Papa Giovanni XXIII Cancer Center Hospital, Bergamo (M.M.), and the Melanoma Oncology Unit, Veneto Oncology Institute, Padua (V.C.-S.) - all in Italy; Rikshospitalet-Radiumhospitalet, Oslo (M.N.); Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Bordeaux, Hôpital Saint-André, Bordeaux (C.D.), Institute Gustave Roussy, Paris (C.R.), Université de Lille, INSERM Unité 1189, Centre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire de Lille, Lille (L.M.), and the Medical Oncology Department, Centre Eugène Marquis, Rennes (T.L.) - all in France; Ella Institute for Melanoma, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel (J.S.); Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London (J. Larkin), and Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne (R.P.) - both in the United Kingdom; Novartis Pharmaceuticals, East Hanover, NJ (R.J., P.Z., B.M., J. Legos); University Hospital Zürich Skin Cancer Center, Zurich, Switzerland (R.D.); and the Melanoma Program, Hillman UPMC Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh (J.M.K.).



Combination therapy with the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib plus the MEK inhibitor trametinib improved survival in patients with advanced melanoma with BRAF V600 mutations. We sought to determine whether adjuvant dabrafenib plus trametinib would improve outcomes in patients with resected, stage III melanoma with BRAF V600 mutations.


In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned 870 patients with completely resected, stage III melanoma with BRAF V600E or V600K mutations to receive oral dabrafenib at a dose of 150 mg twice daily plus trametinib at a dose of 2 mg once daily (combination therapy, 438 patients) or two matched placebo tablets (432 patients) for 12 months. The primary end point was relapse-free survival. Secondary end points included overall survival, distant metastasis-free survival, freedom from relapse, and safety.


At a median follow-up of 2.8 years, the estimated 3-year rate of relapse-free survival was 58% in the combination-therapy group and 39% in the placebo group (hazard ratio for relapse or death, 0.47; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.39 to 0.58; P<0.001). The 3-year overall survival rate was 86% in the combination-therapy group and 77% in the placebo group (hazard ratio for death, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.42 to 0.79; P=0.0006), but this level of improvement did not cross the prespecified interim analysis boundary of P=0.000019. Rates of distant metastasis-free survival and freedom from relapse were also higher in the combination-therapy group than in the placebo group. The safety profile of dabrafenib plus trametinib was consistent with that observed with the combination in patients with metastatic melanoma.


Adjuvant use of combination therapy with dabrafenib plus trametinib resulted in a significantly lower risk of recurrence in patients with stage III melanoma with BRAF V600E or V600K mutations than the adjuvant use of placebo and was not associated with new toxic effects. (Funded by GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis; COMBI-AD, NCT01682083 ; EudraCT number, 2012-001266-15 .).

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