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The treatment of melanoma brain metastases before the advent of targeted therapies: associations between therapeutic choice, clinical symptoms and outcome with survival

Vecchio, Stefaniaa; Spagnolo, Francescob; Merlo, Domenico F.c; Signori, Alessiod; Acquati, Mirkoe; Pronzato, Paoloa; Queirolo, Paolaa

doi: 10.1097/CMR.0000000000000029
ORIGINAL ARTICLES: Clinical research
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The management of melanoma brain metastases (MBM) includes different therapeutic modalities, such as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Despite the choice of treatments, survival remains poor, exceeding 1 year only in patients with solitary metastases and absence of extracranial disease. A total of 115 consecutive MBM patients observed between 1994 and 2010 were included in an historical cohort study. Demographic, clinical data and tumour characteristics were collected and survival status was ascertained across the follow-up window. The statistical associations between individual and tumour data and overall survival were investigated using Kaplan–Meier survival function and Cox’s multiple regression analysis. The median survival was 4.3 months (95% confidence interval 2.6–6.1). Patients who underwent surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery showed a significantly (P<0.001) better prognosis than those who received chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy or supportive therapies. Patients without clinical symptoms experienced a statistically significant better survival (P=0.02) than patients with clinical symptoms; analogue difference was observed to be in favour of patients whose symptoms improved after the first treatment of MBM (P<0.001). The presence of symptoms, clinical outcome and first treatment received were the only independent variables to predict survival. Patients who cannot receive surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery have the worst overall survival.

aDepartment of Medical Oncology

bDepartment of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery

cUnit of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Clinical Trials, IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria San Martino – IST – Istituto Nazionale Per La Ricerca Sul Cancro

dDepartment of Health Sciences, Section of Biostatistics, University of Genoa, Genova

eUnit of Medical Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliera San Gerardo, Monza, Italy

Correspondence to Francesco Spagnolo, MD, Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, IRCCS San Martino – IST – Istituto Nazionale Per La Ricerca Sul Cancro, L.go R. Benzi, 10, 16132 Genova, Italy Tel: +39 010 560 0384; fax: +39 010 560 0850; e-mail: francesco.spagnolo85@gmail.com

Received January 23, 2013

Accepted September 17, 2013

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins