Monday, September 26, 2016

Targeted therapy increases survival in melanoma patients with brain metastases

Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro/123rf
CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 24, 2016 – In a study comparing outcomes for patients whose melanoma skin cancer has spread to their brains, researchers have found that targeted immunological therapies halted the cancer progression and extended survival better than chemotherapy.

In a study published online Sept. 15 in the journal Annals of Oncology, researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL analyzed data from 96 patients with melanoma brain metastases who were treated with radiation therapy within three months of three different types of targeted immune therapies or chemotherapy.

They found that these targeted therapies were better able to control tumor growth outside the area in the brain treated with radiation than standard conventional chemotherapy. In the group treated with an immune therapy that targeted BRAF/MEK genes 39 percent survived 12 months without further disease progression, among those treated with and anti-PD-1 therapy 41 percent survived 12 months without disease progression. By comparison, only 5 percent of those treated with chemotherapy survived that long without disease progression.

Similarly, the 12-month overall survival rates were 48 percent for the anti-PD-1 therapy, 65 percent for those treated with the BRAF/MEK immunotherapy and 10 percent for conventional chemotherapy.

"These results reveal that in patients with melanoma brain metastases, anti-PD-1 therapy and BRAF/MEK inhibitors alongside stereotactic radiosurgery offer optimal control of disease spread in the brain," said Kamran A. Ahmed, M.D., lead study author and resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Moffitt. "Although future randomized studies will be necessary to confirm the benefit of adding anti-PD-1 agents and BRAF/MEK inhibitors to stereotactic radiation to improve the outcomes of patients with melanoma brain metastases, these results are encouraging."

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