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Posted by on Jun 28, 2018 in Melanoma | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated whether the risk of developing melanoma brain metastases (MBM) and survival among patients with MBM has changed since the introduction of more effective therapies. The results found the overall survival for patients with MBM has improved significantly since 2011.

Some background

In more than 33% of patients with advanced melanoma, the cancer will spread to the brain forming brain metastases. In the past, patients with melanoma brain metastases (MBM) have lived for 3 months to 6 months from the time of diagnosis. In recent years, there are new effective targeted therapies available which specifically target cancer cells. These include ipilimumab (Yervoy) and Vemurafinib (Zelboraf).  It is necessary to research if these treatments have had an effect on survival of patients with melanoma that has spread to the brain.

Methods & findings

This study analysed data that was already collected from patients who were treated with systemic therapy (treatment that can affect the whole body). Patients had stage III or IV melanoma with metastases that could not be resected (removed using surgery). 

610 patients were included in the analysis.  Of the 610 patients, 243 patients (39.8%) developed MBM. Patients with MBM were significantly younger (58 years) than patients without MBM (62 years) at the date of first metastasis. There was a very low number of patients with MBM with a mucosal (inner membrane lining) primary melanoma site.

No differences of improvement were found between men and women, BRAF status (an abnormal gene in melanoma), or treatment type received.

Overall survival from the time of MBM diagnosis was 7.5 months (2000 to 2008) 8.5 months (2009 to 2010), and 22.7 months (2011 to time of last follow-up). 

The bottom line

The study concluded that overall survival for patients with MBM has improved significantly since the introduction of targeted therapies. 

The fine print

This study analysed data already previously collected data and only includes one treatment centre which could affect the results.

What’s next?

Talk to your doctor about the new targeted therapies that have been developed recently.

Published By :


Date :

Oct 12, 2017

Original Title :

Improved survival of patients with melanoma brain metastases in the era of targeted BRAF and immune checkpoint therapies.

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