Background: Alterations in hedgehog signaling are implicated in the pathogenesis of basal-cell carcinoma. Although most basal-cell carcinomas are treated surgically, no effective therapy exists for locally advanced or metastatic basal-cell carcinoma. A phase 1 study of vismodegib (GDC-0449), a first-in-class, small-molecule inhibitor of the hedgehog pathway, showed a 58% response rate among patients with advanced basal-cell carcinoma.
Methods: In this multicenter, international, two-cohort, nonrandomized study, we enrolled patients with metastatic basal-cell carcinoma and those with locally advanced basal-cell carcinoma who had inoperable disease or for whom surgery was inappropriate (because of multiple recurrences and a low likelihood of surgical cure, or substantial anticipated disfigurement). All patients received 150 mg of oral vismodegib daily. The primary end point was the independently assessed objective response rate; the primary hypotheses were that the response rate would be greater than 20% for patients with locally advanced basal-cell carcinoma and greater than 10% for those with metastatic basal-cell carcinoma.
Results: In 33 patients with metastatic basal-cell carcinoma, the independently assessed response rate was 30% (95% confidence interval [CI], 16 to 48; P=0.001). In 63 patients with locally advanced basal-cell carcinoma, the independently assessed response rate was 43% (95% CI, 31 to 56; P<0.001), with complete responses in 13 patients (21%). The median duration of response was 7.6 months in both cohorts. Adverse events occurring in more than 30% of patients were muscle spasms, alopecia, dysgeusia (taste disturbance), weight loss, and fatigue. Serious adverse events were reported in 25% of patients; seven deaths due to adverse events were noted.
Conclusions: Vismodegib is associated with tumor responses in patients with locally advanced or metastatic basal-cell carcinoma. (Funded by Genentech; Erivance BCC ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00833417.).