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Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 in Melanoma | 0 comments

In a nutshell

The authors analyzed the outcome of a type of radiation therapy for the treatment of melanoma spread to the brain. The authors found out that the treatment was effective and well-tolerated, especially in patients with low numbers of tumors in brain and whose tumors were on the outside of the brain (extracerebral). 

Some background

In advanced melanoma, the cancer often spreads to the brain (brain metastasis). This affects quality of life and also shortens the life span of patients. The average life span after whole brain radiotherapy in brain metastasis is 3.5 months. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), a nonsurgical radiation therapy, is a common treatment in melanoma brain metastases (BMs). It specifically targets the tumors in the brain and protects the healthy cells.

Methods & findings

The authors aimed to analyze the outcome of SRS in brain metastasis from advanced melanoma.

84 patients with 140 brain metastases were included in this study.  All were treated with SRS. The average follow-up time was 7 months.

The average overall survival (time from treatment until death from any cause) was 9 months. 71% of patients survived 6 months following the treatment. 39% of patients survived 12 months following the treatment. 25% of patients survived 24 months following the treatment. Imaging of the brain showed complete disappearance of tumors in 20 BMs and partial disappearance in 39 BMs. Extracerebral disease control was predictive of longer overall survival, as was a low number of tumors in the brain.

For patients with spread of cancer inside the brain, the progression-free survival (time following treatment before disease progressed) over 6-months was 48% and over 12-months was 38%.

The most common side effect was mild to moderate headache and localized swelling at the site of high-dose SRS. 

The bottom line

The authors concluded that SRS was a well tolerated and an effective treatment option in brain metastasis from melanoma. They further concluded that patients with extracerebral metastasis and less number of brain tumors were most benefitted. 

Published By :

BMC cancer

Date :

Jul 28, 2015

Original Title :

Linear accelerator-based stereotactic radiosurgery in 140 brain metastases from malignant melanoma.

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