GlaxoSmithKline has commenced Phase III studies of two investigational agents for patients with advanced melanoma.

The studies will test the efficacy and safety of GSK2118436 and GSK1120212 to determine their ability to stop or slow the progression of skin cancer in patients whose tumours contain a BRAF V600 mutation.

The BRF113683 study will compare GSK2118436, a BRAF inhibitor, with dacarbazine, an anti-neoplastic chemotherapy drug, in previously untreated patients.

The second study will compare MEK inhibitor GSK1120212 to chemotherapy (dacarbazine or paclitaxel).

GSK Oncology president Paolo Paoletti said: “By focusing our research programme on patients with the V600 mutation, we are striving to understand how our investigational MEK and BRAF inhibitors can best be used to treat patients with metastatic melanoma.

“In addition to our ongoing research in metastatic melanoma, we are also studying GSK1120212 and GSK2118436, both alone and in combination with other agents, in other difficult-to-treat forms of cancers including pancreatic cancer, refractory or relapsed leukaemias and other solid tumours.”