Temozolomide with or without radiotherapy in melanoma with unresectable brain metastases

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SummaryBrain metastases are a common complication in patients suffering from metastatic malignant melanoma. We analyzed efficacy and toxicity of the alkylating agent temozolomide with excellent CNS penetration and known activity in brain metastasis in 35 patients with unresectable melanoma brain metastases. Patients received 200 mg/m2 temozolomide on days 1 to 5 every 28 days as first or second-line therapy. This therapy regimen was combined with radiotherapy of the brain metastases in 22/35 patients. Grade III and IV toxicity was observed in 8/35 patients (leukopenia, granulocytopenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia, nausea and obstipation). Complete remission was observed in 1/34, partial remission in 2/34 and stable disease in 9/34 patients. In 5/34 a mixed response was assessed, 17/34 had disease progression and in one patient tumor response was not evaluable. The median progression free time was 5 (0-8) months for all patients, the median survival time for all patients from start of therapy was 8 (0-28) months, 9 (2-28) months in patients with concurrent stereotactic radiotherapy and 7 (3-17) months in patients with concurrent whole brain radiotherapy. Our results demonstrate that temozolomide can be combined with radiotherapy for the treatment of brain metastases in malignant melanoma, and that this combination may prolong survival in this patient group.

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