Treatment of melanoma brain metastases: a new paradigm

Cancer J. Mar-Apr 2012;18(2):208-12. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0b013e31824b2890.


Brain metastases occur commonly in patients with metastatic melanoma, are associated with a poor prognosis, and cause significant morbidity. Both surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery are used to control brain metastases and, in selected patients, improve survival. In those with extensive brain involvement, whole-brain radiotherapy can alleviate symptoms. Historically, systemic therapy has had little role to play in the management of melanoma brain metastases; however, early clinical trials of BRAF inhibitors have shown promising activity. This review examines the evidence for local and systemic treatments in the management of patients with melanoma brain metastases. We present a new treatment algorithm for melanoma patients with brain metastases, which integrates the evolving evidence for the use of BRAF inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / mortality
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome