Dr. Davies on the Potential Role of Novel BRAF Inhibitors in Melanoma Brain Metastases

March 22, 2021
Michael A. Davies, MD, PhD

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>MD Anderson</b>

Michael A. Davies, MD, PhD, discusses the potential role of novel BRAF inhibitors in treating patients with melanoma and brain metastases.

Michael A. Davies, MD, PhD, Anne and John Mendelsohn Chair in Cancer Research, professor and chair, Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, co-leader, Melanoma Moon Shot Program, Department of Moon Shots Program, director of research activities, Department of Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the potential role of novel BRAF inhibitors in treating patients with melanoma and brain metastases.

Brain metastases remain a significant challenge in melanoma, says Davies. Combination immunotherapy has demonstrated efficacy and good tolerability among patients with melanoma and asymptomatic brain metastases, including those with BRAF-mutated disease, Davies explains. However, patients who require steroid treatment derive little benefit from immunotherapy, Davies adds. Moreover, combinations with BRAF and MEK inhibitors are effective, but do not induce durable responses, Davies says.

However, targeted therapies that cross the blood-brain barrier have demonstrated utility in treating patients with brain metastases in the settings of HER2-positive breast cancer and ALK- or EGFR-mutant lung cancer, Davies explains. Extrapolating from those settings, BRAF inhibitors that cross the blood-brain barrier may also provide benefit to patients with BRAF-mutant melanoma and brain metastases, concludes Davies. 


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