Background & aim: Brain metastases are frequent in patients with metastatic melanoma, indicating poor prognosis. We investigated the BRAF kinase inhibitor vemurafenib in patients with advanced melanoma with symptomatic brain metastases.
Methods: This open-label trial assessed vemurafenib (960mg twice a day) in patients with BRAF(V600) mutation-positive metastatic melanoma with non-resectable, previously treated brain metastases. The primary end-point was safety. Secondary end-points included best overall response rate, and progression-free and overall survival.
Results: Twenty-four patients received vemurafenib for a median treatment duration of 3.8 (0.1-11.3) months. The majority of discontinuations were due to disease progression (n=22). Twenty-three of 24 patients reported at least one adverse event (AE). Grade 3 AEs were reported in four (17%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.7-37.4%) patients and included cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in four patients. Median progression-free survival was 3.9 (95% CI, 3.0-5.5) months, and median survival was 5.3 (95% CI, 3.9-6.6) months. An overall partial response (PR) at both intracranial and extracranial sites was achieved in 10 of 24 (42%; 95% CI, 22.1-63.4) evaluable patients, with stable disease in nine (38%; 95% CI, 18.8-59.4) patients. Of 19 patients with measurable intracranial disease, seven (37%) achieved >30% intracranial tumour regression, and three (16%; 95% CI, 3.4-39.6%) achieved a confirmed PR. Other signs of improvement included reduced need for corticosteroids and enhanced performance status.
Conclusions: Vemurafenib can be safely used in patients with advanced symptomatic melanoma that has metastasised to the brain and can result in meaningful tumour regression.
Keywords: Advanced melanoma; BRAF inhibitor; BRAF mutation; Safety; Symptomatic brain metastases; Tumour regression; Vemurafenib.
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