Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma: Therapeutic Options and Considerations for Patient Care

October 2013 | Volume 12 | Issue 10 | Department | 141 | Copyright © October 2013


Vismodegib Ushers in New Era for the Treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Approximately 2.8 million basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) occur in the United States each year, accounting for 80% of all non-melanoma skin cancers. Historically, BCCs that are not surgically resectable or candidates for radiation therapy have had few treatment options. However, the development of vismodegib and its approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in patients with locally advanced or metastatic BCC carries with it a renewed sense of hope. Vismodegib is the first oral medication approved by the FDA for adults with metastatic or locally advanced BCCs who are not candidates for surgery or radiation or for BCCs that have recurred after surgery. The overwhelming majority of BCCs are the result of hedgehog pathway activation, and vismodegib inhibits a key regulatory protein in the hedgehog pathway, resulting in response rates of between 30% to 60% for locally advanced and metastatic BCCs.