Novel Treatments for Melanoma Brain Metastases

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Background: The development of brain metastases is common in patients with melanoma and is associated with a poor prognosis. Treating patients with melanoma brain metastases (MBMs) is a major therapeutic challenge. Standard approaches with conventional chemotherapy are disappointing, while surgery and radiotherapy have improved outcomes.

Methods: In this article, we discuss the biology of MBMs, briefly outline current treatment approaches, and emphasize novel and emerging therapies for MBMs.

Results: The mechanisms that underlie the metastases of melanoma to the brain are unknown; therefore, it is necessary to identify pathways to target MBMs. Most patients with MBMs have short survival times. Recent use of immune-based and targeted therapies has changed the natural history of metastatic melanoma and may be effective for the treatment of patients with MBMs.

Conclusions: Developing a better understanding of the factors responsible for MBMs will lead to improved management of this disease. In addition, determining the optimal treatments for MBMs and how they can be optimized or combined with other therapies, along with appropriate patient selection, are challenges for the management of this disease.

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Cancer Control, v. 20, issue 4, p. 298-306

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