Purpose: To assess the frequency and type of oncogenic BRAF mutations in metastatic melanoma and correlate BRAF status with clinicopathologic features and outcome.
Patients and methods: Consecutive BRAF-tested Australian patients with metastatic melanoma (n = 197) were observed prospectively. A comprehensive range of clinicopathologic variables were correlated with BRAF mutation status, and a survival analysis was conducted.
Results: Forty-eight percent of patients had a BRAF mutation; 70 patients (74%) had V600E, 19 (20%) had V600K, and six (6%) had other genotypes. Other than age at diagnosis of distant metastasis (median age, 56 v 63 years for BRAF-mutant v BRAF wild-type patients, respectively; P < .001), there was no significant difference in clinical features of patients with metastatic melanoma by mutation status. Features of the antecedent primary melanoma significantly associated with a BRAF mutation (P < .05) were histopathologic subtype, presence of mitoses, single or occult primary melanoma, truncal location, and age at diagnosis of primary tumor ≤ 50 years. The interval from diagnosis of first-ever melanoma to distant metastasis was not significantly different between BRAF-mutant and BRAF wild-type patients; however, the median survival of patients with newly diagnosed metastatic melanoma was 5.7 months for BRAF-mutant patients not treated with a BRAF inhibitor, 8.5 months for BRAF wild-type patients, and not reached for BRAF-mutant patients treated with a BRAF inhibitor.
Conclusion: V600K mutations comprised 20% of BRAF mutations. Characteristics of the antecedent primary melanoma and age at diagnosis differed in BRAF-mutant and BRAF wild-type patients. The presence of mutant BRAF had no impact on the disease-free interval from diagnosis of first-ever melanoma to first distant metastasis; however, it may have impacted survival thereafter.