Dabrafenib in patients with Val600Glu or Val600Lys BRAF-mutant melanoma metastatic to the brain (BREAK-MB): a multicentre, open-label, phase 2 trial

Lancet Oncol. 2012 Nov;13(11):1087-95. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(12)70431-X. Epub 2012 Oct 8.


Background: Brain metastases are common in patients with metastatic melanoma and median overall survival from their diagnosis is typically 17-22 weeks. We assessed dabrafenib in patients with Val600Glu or Val600Lys BRAF-mutant melanoma metastatic to the brain.

Methods: We undertook a multicentre, open-label, phase 2 trial in 24 centres in six countries. We enrolled patients with histologically confirmed Val600Glu or Val600Lys BRAF-mutant melanoma and at least one asymptomatic brain metastasis (≥5 mm and ≤40 mm in diameter). Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older, had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1, and had adequate organ function. Patients were split into two cohorts: those in cohort A had not received previous local treatment for brain metastases and those in cohort B had progressive brain metastases after previous local treatments. Patients received 150 mg oral dabrafenib twice a day until disease progression, death, or unacceptable adverse events. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with Val600Glu BRAF-mutant melanoma who achieved an overall intracranial response, which was defined as a complete response or partial response assessed with a modified form of Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST 1.1). We included patients who received at least one dose of dabrafenib in efficacy and safety analyses. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01266967.

Findings: Between Feb 2, 2011, and Aug 5, 2011, we enrolled 172 patients: 89 (52%) in cohort A and 83 (48%) in cohort B. 139 (81%) had Val600Glu BRAF-mutant melanoma. 29 (39·2%, 95% CI 28·0-51·2) of 74 patients with Val600Glu BRAF-mutant melanoma in cohort A achieved an overall intracranial response, as did 20 (30·8%, 19·9-43·4) of 65 in cohort B. One (6·7%, 0·2-31·9) of 15 patients with Val600Lys BRAF-mutant melanoma achieved an overall intracranial response in cohort A, as did four (22·2%, 6·4-47·6) of 18 such patients in cohort B. Treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or worse occurred in 38 (22%) patients. Eleven (6%) patients developed squamous-cell carcinoma (five [6%] patients in cohort A, of whom one also had keratoacanthoma; six [7%] in cohort B). Four grade 4 treatment-related adverse events occurred in cohort A: one blood amylase increase, one convulsion, one lipase increase, and one neutropenia. Two grade 4 events occurred in cohort B: one agranulocytosis and one intracranial haemorrhage. 51 (30%) patients had a serious adverse event. The three most frequent serious adverse events were pyrexia (ten [6%] patients), intracranial haemorrhage (ten [6%]; one treatment-related), and squamous-cell carcinoma (11 [6%]).

Interpretation: Dabrafenib has activity and an acceptable safety profile in patients with Val600Glu BRAF-mutant melanoma and brain metastases irrespective of whether they are untreated or have been previously treated but have progressed.

Funding: GlaxoSmithKline.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / administration & dosage*
  • Imidazoles / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / epidemiology
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Oximes / administration & dosage*
  • Oximes / adverse effects*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf* / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf* / genetics


  • Imidazoles
  • Oximes
  • BRAF protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf
  • dabrafenib

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01266967