Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 123, Issue 1, pp 75–84 | Cite as

Survival patterns following brain metastases for patients with melanoma in the MAP-kinase inhibitor era

  • Daniel A. Wattson
  • Ryan J. Sullivan
  • Andrzej Niemierko
  • Ryan M. Merritt
  • Donald P. Lawrence
  • Kevin S. Oh
  • Keith T. Flaherty
  • Helen A. Shih
Clinical Study


Survival with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma is prolonged with MAP-kinase pathway inhibitors (MAPKi). Among patients with brain metastases (BM), however, the clinical course of MAPKi-treated patients is not well described. We therefore explored these patients’ survival patterns compared to contemporary patients not treated with MAPKi. We analyzed 106 patients who developed melanoma BM between 2007 and 2013. Of these, 37 (35 %) received de novo MAPKi for BRAF-mutant disease, which preceded BM in 49 %. Immunotherapy was given to 54 % of MAPKi-treated patients and 94 % of those who did not receive MAPKi. We evaluated the potential influence of patient characteristics, systemic therapies, and BM-directed treatments on time to appearance of new BM and overall survival. With a median follow-up of 8.0 months after initial BM, MAPKi use was an independent predictor of prolonged survival after BM diagnosis (median 14.1 vs 7.0 months, P = 0.03, adjusted hazard ratio 0.39). This survival advantage was driven by the 16.6-month median survival of patients who initiated MAPKi after BM were diagnosed, versus 5.6 months if initiated prior to BM development (P = 0.03). Median survival from the onset of any systemic metastases was 22 months regardless of the timing of MAPKi relative to BM appearance. Time to in-brain progression was longer among patients whose MAPKi course was started after BM diagnosis, but MAPKi initiation prior to BM diagnosis was associated with longer time to intracranial involvement. These findings are consistent with potential MAPKi activity in intracranial melanoma.


Melanoma Brain metastases MAP-kinase inhibitors Immunotherapy Radiotherapy 



The authors would like to thank all study participants for their time and generosity. This work was not funded by any external Grants.

Conflict of interest

Keith T. Flaherty is a paid consultant to Roche/Genentech and GlaxoSmithKline.

Supplementary material

11060_2015_1761_MOESM1_ESM.tif (11.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 11657 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel A. Wattson
    • 1
  • Ryan J. Sullivan
    • 2
  • Andrzej Niemierko
    • 3
  • Ryan M. Merritt
    • 2
  • Donald P. Lawrence
    • 2
  • Kevin S. Oh
    • 3
  • Keith T. Flaherty
    • 2
  • Helen A. Shih
    • 3
  1. 1.Harvard Radiation Oncology ProgramBostonUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer CenterBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Radiation OncologyMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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