An activating BRAF mutation is seen in around 50% of all melanomas. In patients with advanced melanoma who have such a somatic mutation, combination targeted treatment with a BRAF and MEK inhibitor can dramatically improve survival. Resistance mechanisms, as well as negative prognostic indicators, continue to be a key issue in the treatment of melanoma patients. A groundbreaking overall survival (OS) percentage of 34% following 5 years of combination targeted therapy in treatment-naive patients was recently published. Patients with a BRAF mutation who received first-line immune checkpoint inhibition with ipilimumab + nivolumab had a 5-year OS rate of 60%.
Long-term survival in melanoma patients can be achieved, as seen by these findings, although it is uncertain if this equates to a real cure for metastatic melanoma. Researchers describe current outcomes for combination targeted treatment and immunotherapy in advanced melanoma with an activating BRAF mutation and examine the influence of baseline features on long-term prognosis in this study.