Isabella C. Glitza Oliva, MD, PhD, MS, discusses the prognosis of patients with melanoma brain and/or central nervous system metastases.
Isabella C. Glitza Oliva, MD, PhD, MS, an assistant professor within the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the prognosis of patients with melanoma brain and/or central nervous system (CNS) metastases.
Brain metastases or CNS metastases in melanoma have been a huge issue for many years. Of all the solid tumors, such as breast cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer, melanoma has the highest likelihood of metastasizing or spreading to the CNS, including the brain and leptomeninges, says Glitza Olivia. Over the past 3 years, fantastic breakthroughs have been made in the treatment of patients with brain metastases, adds Glitza Olivia. However, patients whose disease spreads to the lining of the brain or spinal canal have a very poor prognosis and no therapies have been effective.
Historically, patients with melanoma who experience brain or CNS metastases typically only live a few weeks, although investigators from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have recently reviewed the outcomes of patients with melanoma who have been treated at the institution over the years. Results showed that the overall survival of these patients was approximately 3.5 months, says Glitza Olivia. This is a patient population that has largely been ignored and for whom no great therapies are available, concludes Glitza Olivia.