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Trade namesKoselugo
Other namesAZD6244, ARRY-142886
  • 6-(4-bromo-2-chloroanilino)-7-fluoro-N-(2-hydroxyethoxy)-3-methylbenzimidazole-5-carboxamide
Clinical data
Drug classProtein kinase inhibitor
Main usesPlexiform neurofibromas found in neurofibromatosis type I (NF-1)[1]
Side effectsHeadache, abdominal pain, tiredness, muscle pain, rash, fever, itchiness[2]
  • Contraindicated
Routes of
By mouth (capsules)
Typical dose20 to 50 mg BID[1]
External links
License data
Legal status
Metabolismliver (probably CYP3A4 and CYP2C19)[3]
MetabolitesN‐desmethyl‐selumetinib (active metabolite)[4]
Elimination half-life5.3–7.2 hrs[4]
Excretionmostly via bile[4]
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass457.68 g·mol−1
3D model (JSmol)
  • CN1C=NC2=C1C=C(C(=C2F)NC3=C(C=C(C=C3)Br)Cl)C(=O)NOCCO
  • InChI=1S/C17H15BrClFN4O3/c1-24-8-21-16-13(24)7-10(17(26)23-27-5-4-25)15(14(16)20)22-12-3-2-9(18)6-11(12)19/h2-3,6-8,22,25H,4-5H2,1H3,(H,23,26) checkY

Selumetinib, sold under the brand name Koselugo, is a medication used to treat plexiform neurofibromas found in neurofibromatosis type I (NF-1).[1] It may be used in those over the age of 1 year.[1] It is taken by mouth twice per day.[2]

Common side effects include headache, abdominal pain, tiredness, muscle pain, rash, fever, and itchiness.[2] Other side effects may include inflammation of the heart, eye problems, muscle breakdown, and bleeding.[2] Use in pregnancy may harm the baby.[2] It works by blocking mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1 and 2.[1]

Selumetinib was approved for medical use in the United States in 2020 and Europe in 2021.[1][5] In the United States a year of treatment at a dose of 25 mg twice per day costs about 150,000 USD as of 2021.[6]

Medical uses

Selumetinib is used for the treatment of neurofibromas in those with neurofibromatosis type I (NF-1).[7] This is a rare, progressive condition caused by a mutation or flaw in the gene coding for the protein neurofibromin 1.[8] NF-1 is usually diagnosed in early childhood and appears in an estimated one out of every 3,000 infants.[8] It is characterized by changes in skin coloring (pigmentation), neurologic and skeletal impairments and risk for development of benign and malignant tumors throughout life.[8]

It is approved specifically for children who have symptomatic, inoperable plexiform neurofibromas (PN), which are tumors involving the nerve sheaths (coating around nerve fibers) and can grow anywhere in the body, including the face, extremities, areas around the spine and deep in the body where they may affect organs. Between 30% and 50% of children born with NF-1 develop one or more PNs.[8]


The typical dose is 25 mg/m2.[2] The typical dose varies from 20 mg twice per day to 50 mg twice per day.[1]


The FDA lists no contraindications for this drug.[9]

Side effects

Common side effects are headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain (pain in the body affecting bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves), fever, dry skin, acneiform rash (acne) and other rashes, stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth and lips), paronychia (infection in the skin that surrounds a toenail or fingernail) and pruritus (itching).[8]

Selumetinib can also cause serious side effects including heart failure (manifested as ejection fraction decrease, or when the muscle of the left ventricle of the heart is not pumping as well as normal) and eye toxicity (acute and chronic damage to the eye) including retinal vein occlusion, retinal pigment epithelial detachment and impaired vision.[8] Selumetinib can also cause increased creatinine phosphokinase (CPK).[8] CPK is an enzyme found in the heart, brain and skeletal muscles.[8] When muscle tissue is damaged, CPK leaks into a person's blood, which can be a sign of rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of skeletal muscle due to direct or indirect muscle injury).[8] Further, selumetinib capsules contain vitamin E, and users are at an increased risk of bleeding if their daily intake of vitamin E exceeds the recommended or safe limits.[8]


Based on findings from animal studies, selumetinib may cause harm to a newborn baby when administered to a pregnant woman.[8] The FDA advises health care professionals to tell women of reproductive age, and men with female partners of reproductive potential, to use effective contraception during treatment with selumetinib, and for one week after the last dose.[8]


As selumetinib is thought to be metabolized by the liver enzymes CYP3A4 and CYP2C19,[3] use of moderate to strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (such as grapefruit juice) and of the CYP2C19 inhibitor fluconazole is discouraged for people taking selumetinib. If such use is unavoidable, the label recommends reducing the selumetinib dose.[9]


Intracellular tumorigenic signaling pathway of neurofibromin and mechanism of action of MEK inhibitor[10]

Mechanism of action

Selumetinib is a kinase inhibitor, more specifically a selective inhibitor of the enzyme mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MAPK kinase or MEK) subtypes 1 and 2. These enzymes are part of the MAPK/ERK pathway, which regulates cell proliferation (i.e., growth and division) and is overly active in many types of cancer.[9]


Selumetinib was discovered by Array BioPharma and was licensed to AstraZeneca.[citation needed] It has been investigated for the treatment of various types of cancer, such as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and thyroid cancer.[11][12]

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the application for selumetinib priority review, breakthrough therapy, and orphan drug designations.[8] It was granted a rare pediatric disease designation for the treatment of pediatric NF-1 along with a rare pediatric disease priority review voucher.[8] In April 2020, selumetinib was approved by the FDA for the treatment of children with NF-1.[13][14][15] It is the first drug approved in the US to treat this rare disease.[8]

The approval was based on a clinical trial[16] of children who had NF-1 and inoperable plexiform neurofibromas (defined as a PN that could not be completely removed without risk for substantial morbidity to the child), conducted by the National Cancer Institute.[8][14] The efficacy results were from 50 of the children who received the recommended dose and had routine evaluations of changes in tumor size and tumor-related morbidities during the trial.[8] The children received selumetinib 25 mg/m² orally twice a day until disease progression or until they experienced unacceptable adverse reactions.[8][14] The clinical trial measured the overall response rate (ORR), defined as the percentage of subjects with a complete response and those who experienced more than a 20% reduction in PN volume on MRI that was confirmed on a subsequent MRI within 3 to 6 months.[8] The ORR was 66% and all subjects had a partial response, meaning that no subjects had complete disappearance of the tumor.[8] Of these subjects, 82% had a response lasting 12 months or longer.[8] The trial was conducted at four sites in the United States.[14]

Other clinical outcomes for subjects during selumetinib treatment included changes in PN-related disfigurement, symptoms and functional impairments.[8] Although the sample sizes of subjects assessed for each PN-related morbidity (such as disfigurement, pain, strength and mobility problems, airway compression, visual impairment and bladder or bowel dysfunction) were small, there appeared to be a trend of improvement in PN-related symptoms or functional deficits during treatment.[8]

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers it to be a first-in-class medication.[17]

Society and culture

Selumetinib is the INN.[18]


Selumetinib has also been shown to inhibit growth of GNAQ mutated uveal melanoma cell lines.[19] Furthermore, preliminary results suggest that selumetinib treatment of uveal melanoma patients can result in tumor shrinkage as the consequence of sustained inhibition of ERK phosphorylation.[20]

A Phase II clinical trial about selumetinib in NSCLC was completed in September 2011;[21] one about cancers with BRAF mutations is ongoing as of June 2012.[22]

In July 2015, selumetinib failed a Phase III trial testing whether the drug significantly prolonged the survival of patients in a study on melanoma originating in the eye. In the 152-patient trial, a combination of selumetinib and dacarbazine failed to improve progression-free survival compared with just the old drug alone.[23][24]

As of March 2016, there were other phase III trials registered for thyroid cancer,[25] and KRAS positive NSCLC.[26] The combination of selumetinib to chemotherapy improved median progression-free survival in a trial of 510 patients with advanced KRAS-mutant NSCLC just for one month, which was statistically not significant.[27]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Selumetinib Monograph for Professionals". Archived from the original on 15 April 2021. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Koselugo- selumetinib capsule". DailyMed. 10 April 2020. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dymond, Angela W.; Howes, Colin; Pattison, Christine; So, Karen; Mariani, Gabriella; Savage, Mark; Mair, Stuart; Ford, Gill; Martin, Paul (2016). "Metabolism, Excretion, and Pharmacokinetics of Selumetinib, an MEK1/2 inhibitor, in Healthy Adult Male Subjects". Clinical Therapeutics. 38 (11): 2447–2458. doi:10.1016/j.clinthera.2016.09.002. PMID 27751676.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Patel, Y. T.; Daryani, V. M.; Patel, P.; Zhou, D.; Fangusaro, J.; Carlile, D. J.; Martin, P. D.; Aarons, L.; Stewart, C. F. (2017). "Population Pharmacokinetics of Selumetinib and Its Metabolite N-desmethyl-selumetinib in Adult Patients With Advanced Solid Tumors and Children With Low-Grade Gliomas". CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology. 6 (5): 305–314. doi:10.1002/psp4.12175. PMC 5445231. PMID 28326681.
  5. "EU/3/18/2050: Orphan designation for the treatment of neurofibromatosis type 1". Archived from the original on 25 June 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  6. "Koselugo Prices, Coupons & Patient Assistance Programs". Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  7. Gross, Andrea M; et al. (2020). "Selumetinib in Children with Inoperable Plexiform Neurofibromas". New England Journal of Medicine. 382 (15): 1430–1442. doi:10.1056/nejmoa1912735. PMC 7305659. PMID 32187457.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 8.16 8.17 8.18 8.19 8.20 8.21 8.22 "FDA Approves First Therapy for Children with Debilitating and Disfiguring Rare Disease". U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (Press release). 10 April 2020. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Selumetinib Monograph. Accessed 14 April 2021.
  10. Solares, I.; Viñal, D.; Morales-Conejo, M.; Rodriguez-Salas, N.; Feliu, J. (10 August 2021). "Novel molecular targeted therapies for patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 with inoperable plexiform neurofibromas: a comprehensive review". ESMO Open. 6 (4): 100223. doi:10.1016/j.esmoop.2021.100223. ISSN 2059-7029.
  11. "Array BioPharma strikes rights deal with Japanese firm worth up to $76M-plus". BizWest. 31 March 2016. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  12. Casaluce F, Sgambato A, Maione P, Sacco PC, Santabarbara G, Gridelli C (August 2017). "Selumetinib for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer". Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs. 26 (8): 973–84. doi:10.1080/13543784.2017.1351543. PMID 28675058. S2CID 40860991.
  13. "Selumetinib: FDA-Approved Drugs". U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Archived from the original on 18 January 2021. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 "Drug Trials Snapshots: Koselugo". U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 10 April 2020. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 18 April 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  15. "Drug Approval Package: Koselugo". U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 11 May 2020. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  16. Clinical trial number NCT01362803 for "AZD6244 Hydrogen Sulfate for Children With Nervous System Tumors" at Accessed 14 April 2021.
  17. "New Drug Therapy Approvals 2020". U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 31 December 2020. Archived from the original on 18 January 2021. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  18. World Health Organization (2009). "International nonproprietary names for pharmaceutical substances (INN): recommended INN: list 62". WHO Drug Information. 23 (3): 261. hdl:10665/74420.
  19. Ambrosini G, Pratilas CA, Qin LX, Tadi M, Surriga O, Carvajal RD, Schwartz GK (July 2012). "Identification of unique MEK-dependent genes in GNAQ mutant uveal melanoma involved in cell growth, tumor cell invasion, and MEK resistance". Clinical Cancer Research. 18 (13): 3552–61. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-3086. PMC 3433236. PMID 22550165.
  20. "Pharmacodynamic activity of selumetinib to predict radiographic response in advanced uveal melanoma". 2012. Archived from the original on 29 August 2021. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  21. "AZD6244 in Combination With Docetaxel Versus Docetaxel Alone in KRAS Mutation Positive NSCLC Patients". 30 April 2009. Archived from the original on 11 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  22. "Selumetinib in Cancers With BRAF Mutations". 27 April 2009. Archived from the original on 11 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  23. "AstraZeneca provides update on selumetinib in uveal melanoma". AstraZeneca (Press release). 22 July 2015. Archived from the original on 11 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  24. "AstraZeneca's once-lauded drug flunks a Phase III eye cancer trial". FierceBiotech. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  25. "Comparing Complete Remission After Treatment With Selumetinib/Placebo in Patient With Differentiated Thyroid Cancer (ASTRA)". 30 April 2013. Archived from the original on 11 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  26. "Assess Efficacy & Safety of Selumetinib in Combination With Docetaxel in Patients Receiving 2nd Line Treatment for v-Ki-ras2 Kirsten Rat Sarcoma Viral Oncogene Homolog (KRAS) Positive NSCLC (SELECT-1)". 2 September 2013. Archived from the original on 11 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  27. Jänne PA, van den Heuvel MM, Barlesi F, Cobo M, Mazieres J, Crinò L, et al. (May 2017). "Selumetinib Plus Docetaxel Compared With Docetaxel Alone and Progression-Free Survival in Patients With KRAS-Mutant Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: The SELECT-1 Randomized Clinical Trial". JAMA. 317 (18): 1844–53. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.3438. PMC 5815037. PMID 28492898.

External links

External sites: