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Controversies In The Management Of Advanced Melanoma

Anthony Jarkowski, LeAnn Norris, Van Anh Trinh

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Objective: To examine the current controversies and discuss consensus recommendations regarding treatment sequencing and the role of BRAF inhibitor at disease progression. Data Source: An English-language literature search of MEDLINE/PubMed (1966-May 2014), using the keywords advanced melanoma, ipilimumab, cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4, dabrafenib, vemurafenib, BRAF inhibitor, trametinib, MEK inhibitor, and treatment sequencing was conducted. Data were also obtained from package inserts, meeting abstracts, and clinical registries. Study Selection and Data Extraction: All relevant published articles and abstracts on ipilimumab, vemurafenib, dabrafenib, and trametinib were reviewed. Clinical trial registries and meeting abstracts were used for ongoing studies. Data Synthesis: The availability of new agents has made therapy selection more complex. Immunotherapy supporters reason that immunotherapy offers the best chance for long-term benefit and does not compromise the antitumor activity of subsequent BRAF inhibitors. Targeted therapy advocates rely on the high probability and rapid onset of response to BRAF inhibitors. Currently, there is insufficient evidence regarding the role of BRAF inhibitor at disease progression. Conclusions: Therapy should be individualized based on patient- and disease-specific factors. Immunotherapy represents the best option for durable remission; however, targeted therapy is more appropriate for patients who are symptomatic or have rapidly growing tumors. The novel therapies have also demonstrated meaningful intracranial activity; thus, the presence of brain metastases should be taken into consideration in selecting therapy. Limited data exist about the continuation of BRAF inhibitors after therapeutic failure. Active research is ongoing to define the best option for patients with BRAF inhibitor refractory disease.