Main Line Center for Skin Surgery
191 Presidential Blvd, Suite LN24
Bala Cynwyd, PA
Phone: 610-664-1414 
Fax: 610-572-7262

Oral drug effective for treatment of advanced basal cell carcinoma

Preliminary results of treatment of locally advanced or metastatic basal cell carcinoma with vismodegib, a new drug from Genentech, were published in the September 2009 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Vismodegib (Erivedge) was approved in January 2012 for the treatment of metastatic advanced basal cell carcinoma not treatable by surgery alone and is now available by prescription. The drug is also effective in controlling basal cell skin cancers associated with an uncommon genetic condition known as basal cell nevus syndrome.  Patients with this syndrome develop numerous and extensive skin cancers starting at a young age. The oral drug blocks new tumor growth and results in tumor shrinkage. Because of significant side effects (severe muscle cramps and hair loss) and significant expense of treatment, vismodegib should only be prescribed in cases where other alternative treatments are lacking.

New England Journal of Medicine 2012.