“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”
A trial of vemurafenib for cancers with a change to the BRAF gene (VE-BASKET)
This trial looked at vemurafenib for cancers that have a specific change to a gene called BRAF. It was for people who had a number of different types of cancers including:
This trial was open to people to join between 2012 and 2015. These results were published in 2015.
More about this trial
Vemurafenib is a drug which stops signals that cancer cells use to divide and grow. When this trial was done doctors could already use vemurafenib to treat melanoma if the cells have a change to a gene called BRAF.
In this trial researchers looked at a particular change in the BRAF gene called BRAF VE 600.
The main aim of this trial was to find out if vemurafenib helped people with other types of cancer with cells that had the BRAF VE 600 gene change.
Summary of results
The team found that vemurafenib did work for some other cancers that has the BRAF VE 600 gene.
About this trial
This was a phase 2 trial. 122 people joined the trial:
- 37 people had bowel cancer (colorectal)
- 20 people had non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
- 8 people had cancer of the gall bladder (cholangiocarcinoma)
- 7 people had anaplastic thyroid cancer
- 5 people had myeloma
- 18 people had Erdheim–Chester disease (a rare type of blood cancer) or Langerhans’-cell histiocytosis (a cancer that affects the immune system)
- 27 people had another type of cancer such as salivary cancer, ovarian cancer, sarcoma, brain tumours, head and neck cancers and cancers of unknown primary
Vemurafenib is a tablet. Everyone took vemurafenib twice a day. 27 people with bowel cancer also took cetuximab.
The researchers took CT scans or MRI scans of the cancer every 8 weeks to see how well the treatment was working.
For people who had myeloma the team took blood samples every 8 weeks to see how well treatment was working.
The team found they could target the BRAF VE 600 gene in some other cancers.
After 8 weeks of treatment the researchers looked at how well it had worked. They found that for 2 people there was no sign of their cancer (a complete response).
One person was from the Erdheim–Chester disease or Langerhans’-cell histiocytosis group. The other person had anaplastic thyroid cancer.
The cancer had shrunk in 16 people (a partial response). This was:
- 8 people with NSCLC
- 1 person with bowel cancer (they had cetuximab as well as vemurafenib)
- 1 person with gall bladder cancer
- 5 people with Erdheim–Chester disease or Langerhans’-cell histiocytosis
- 1 person with anaplastic thyroid cancer
The cancer stayed the same in 43 people. This was:
- 8 people with NSCLC
- 5 people with bowel cancer who had vemurafenib only
- 18 people with bowel cancer who had vemurafenib and cetuximab
- 4 people with gall bladder cancer
- 8 people with Erdheim–Chester disease or Langerhans’-cell histiocytosis
The side effects reported were the same as those in other trials using vemurafenib. The most common side effects reported by those who had vemurafenib only were:
- sore muscles
The trial team concluded they could target the BRAF VE 600 gene change to treat some cancer types but not all.
Where this information comes from
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr Ian Chau
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer