Clinical and radiological response of BRAF inhibition and MEK inhibition in patients with brain metastases from BRAF-mutated melanoma

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Patients with brain metastases (BM) from melanoma have an overall survival (OS) of 2–6 months after whole-brain radiotherapy. Targeted therapy (TT) is an effective treatment for BRAF-mutated metastatic melanoma. Moreover, recent studies indicate intracranial responses of TT in patients with BM. We analyzed 146 patients with BM from BRAF-mutated melanoma treated with vemurafenib, dabrafenib, or dabrafenib+trametinib between 2010 and 2016. We determined clinical and radiological response, progression-free survival (PFS), and OS. Median OS of patients treated with dabrafenib+trametinib was 11.2 months [n=30; 95% confidence interval (CI): 6.8–15.7], 8.8 months for dabrafenib alone (n=31; 95% CI: 3.9–13.7), and 5.7 months for vemurafenib (n=85; 95% CI: 4.6–6.8). A significantly longer OS was observed in the dabrafenib+trametinib group than in the vemurafenib group (hazard ratio for death, 0.52; 95% CI: 0.30–0.89; P=0.02). Median intracranial PFS of all patients was 4.1 months. Median intracranial PFS for patients treated with dabrafenib+trametinib was 5.8 months (95% CI: 3.2–8.5), 5.7 months (95% CI: 3.0–8.4) for dabrafenib, and 3.6 months (95% CI: 3.5–3.8) for vemurafenib (P=0.54). A total of 63 (43%) patients had symptomatic BM. Intracranial disease control rate at 8 weeks in these patients was 65 versus 70% extracranially. Neurological symptoms improved in 46% of patients with symptomatic BM, whereas in 21%, they remained stable. Median OS in patients with BM from BRAF-mutated melanoma treated with dabrafenib+trametinib was significantly longer than for vemurafenib. Improvement of neurological symptoms was seen in almost half of the patients with symptomatic BM treated with TT.

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