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Curr Oncol Rep. 2013 Oct;15(5):483-91. doi: 10.1007/s11912-013-0335-3.

Melanoma brain metastases: an unmet challenge in the era of active therapy.

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Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Metastatic disease to the brain is a frequent manifestation of melanoma and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality and poor prognosis. Surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery provide local control but less frequently affect the overall outcome of melanoma brain metastases (MBM). The role of systemic therapies for active brain lesions has been largely underinvestigated, and patients with active brain lesions are excluded from the vast majority of clinical trials. The advent of active systemic therapy has revolutionized the care of melanoma patients, but this benefit has not been systematically translated into intracranial activity. In this article, we review the biology and clinical outcomes of patients with MBM, and the evidence supporting the use of radiation, surgery, and systemic therapy in MBM. Prospective studies that included patients with active MBM have shown clinical intracranial activity that parallels systemic activity and support the inclusion of patients with active MBM in clinical trials involving novel agents and combination therapies.

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