Treatment patterns of advanced malignant melanoma (stage III-IV) - A review of current standards in Europe

Eur J Cancer. 2016 Jun:60:179-89. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2016.01.011. Epub 2016 Apr 22.


Aims and background: With the recent emergence of immunotherapies and novel targeted treatments for advanced and metastatic melanoma such as selective B-Raf inhibitors and checkpoint inhibitors, the treatment landscape in Europe has changed considerably. The aim of this review was to provide an overview of current treatment pathways in Europe for the treatment of advanced melanoma, unresectable stage III-IV.

Methods: A literature search of four databases was conducted to identify publications reporting on the treatment patterns of advanced and metastatic melanoma (stage III-IV) in European populations.

Results: Seven full-text publications and two conference abstracts reported on observational studies of melanoma treatment practices in France, Italy and the United Kingdom. Treatment patterns were identified for two time periods: 2005-2009 and 2011-2012. Common treatments reported for both periods included chemotherapy with dacarbazine, fotemustine or temozolomide. The main differences between the two periods were the introduction and prescription of immunotherapy ipilimumab and targeted therapy vemurafenib between 2011 and 2012. Across the three countries studied, the types of treatments prescribed between 2005 and 2009 were relatively similar, however, with noticeable differences in the frequency and priority of administration.

Conclusion: Treatment practices for advanced melanoma vary markedly across different European countries and continue to evolve with the introduction of new therapies. The results of this review highlight a considerable evidence gap with regards to recent treatment patterns for advanced melanoma in Europe, especially post-2011 after the introduction of novel therapeutic agents, and more recently with the introduction of programmed cell death 1 inhibitors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Critical Pathways
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy*