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Prog Neurol Surg. 2012;25:176-89. doi: 10.1159/000331191. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

Stereotactic radiosurgery of brain metastasis from melanoma.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


Brain metastasis represents the most common intracranial neoplasm in adult patients. Melanoma is the third most frequent cancer histology and consequently comprises a significant portion of brain metastasis patients. Unlike the more frequent lung and breast cancers, melanoma represents a particularly challenging entity because of its radioresistant nature. Stereotactic radiosurgery appears to overcome the inherent radioresistance of brain metastasis from melanoma and, thereby, affords a high rate of local tumor control. Reports from leading centers indicate a favorable benefit to risk profile for radiosurgery in melanoma patients. Local tumor control after radiosurgery generally exceeds 80%, and neurological complications as a result of radiosurgery are infrequent. A higher performance status and lower intracranial tumor burden in melanoma patients at the time of radiosurgery are associated with longer survival. Radiosurgery may be used in conjunction upfront with radiotherapy, resection, and chemotherapy or as a salvage therapy in selected melanoma patients. Careful radiological and neurological follow-up is required to assess local tumor control and distant intracranial disease progression. Further clinical studies will be required to better define the role of upfront and salvage radiosurgery in selected cohorts of patients with brain metastasis from melanoma. However, it appears likely that radiosurgery will play an expanded role in the overall management of these patients.

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