Publication date: Jul 07, 2023
Brain metastases (BM) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels above the upper limit of normal (ULN) are associated with poor prognosis in patients with melanoma. Although treatment with the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib and the MEK inhibitor trametinib have demonstrated long-term clinical benefit in patients with melanoma, data on their efficacy in patients with BM are limited. DESCRIBE Italy is an observational, retrospective, real-world study evaluating dabrafenib plus trametinib in 499 patients with BRAF-mutant stage III unresectable or stage IV melanoma from various sites across Italy. Here, we analyzed the clinical outcomes for the subgroup of patients receiving first-line treatment and presenting with BM at diagnosis and assessed the impact of predictive factors such as LDH levels and the presence of other metastases on median progression-free survival (mPFS). Overall, 325 evaluable patients were on first-line therapy and are the focus of this analysis; of these, 76 patients (23. 4%) had BM at baseline. mPFS was lower for patients with BM at baseline compared with overall patients (8. 7 months vs 9. 3 months, respectively). Patients with BM at diagnosis and LDH >ULN had a considerably shorter mPFS compared with patients with LDH ⩽ULN (5. 3 months vs 9. 9 months, respectively). mPFS was noticeably longer for patients with cerebral metastases only compared with patients with cerebral and other metastases (15. 0 months vs 8. 7 months, respectively). Dabrafenib plus trametinib showed effectiveness in a real-world population of patients with advanced BRAF-mutated melanoma and BM at baseline, supporting its use in this population with poor outcomes.