The purpose of this study is to assess the safety and preliminary effectiveness of combining two drugs — vemurafenib and panitumumab — in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer that contains the V600E mutation in the BRAF gene and has stopped responding to standard therapies. Both drugs are approved by the FDA, but their use together is considered investigational.
Vemurafenib is approved for treating metastatic melanoma. It works by inhibiting the activity of BRAF, a protein which, when mutated, drives the growth of cancer. Vemurafenib is approved specifically for patients with the V600E mutation in the BRAF gene. It is taken orally (by mouth).
Panitumumab is approved for treating advanced colorectal cancer. It works by binding to and blocking a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor. It is given intravenously (by vein). Prior studies have suggested that vemurafenib given alone is not effective against colorectal cancer, but that giving it with panitumumab may help it to work better against colorectal tumors that contain the V600E BRAF mutation.