Over 90 000 people are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma in the United States this year. The development of brain metastases is particularly difficult to manage. Over the past few years, melanoma patients with multiple unresectable brain metastases for which stereotactic surgery might also not be a viable option have fortunately experienced a dramatic expansion in available management options given improvements made to targeted agents, immunotherapy, and radiotherapy. Whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) is a long-standing radiation technique that has become increasingly sophisticated. In this review, we summarize retrospective and prospective studies on individual advances in targeted agents, immunotherapy, and WBRT, highlighting important variables such as overall survival, intracranial progression-free survival, control and response rates, and toxicities. We also discuss the recent integration of these therapies into a multimodality approach, which has shown promise in the clinical setting although toxicities have not been insignificant. Finally, we describe ongoing prospective trials relevant to melanoma with brain metastases, and we conclude with our own thoughts on the optimal approach for these patients.
Copyright © 2020 by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.