Avoiding Severe Toxicity From Combined BRAF Inhibitor and Radiation Treatment: Consensus Guidelines from the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG).


Journal Article (Review)

BRAF kinase gene V600 point mutations drive approximately 40% to 50% of all melanomas, and BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi) have been found to significantly improve survival outcomes. Although radiation therapy (RT) provides effective symptom palliation, there is a lack of toxicity and efficacy data when RT is combined with BRAFi, including vemurafenib and dabrafenib. This literature review provides a detailed analysis of potential increased dermatologic, pulmonary, neurologic, hepatic, esophageal, and bowel toxicity from the combination of BRAFi and RT for melanoma patients described in 27 publications. Despite 7 publications noting potential intracranial neurotoxicity, the rates of radionecrosis and hemorrhage from whole brain RT (WBRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), or both do not appear increased with concurrent or sequential administration of BRAFis. Almost all grade 3 dermatitis reactions occurred when RT and BRAFi were administered concurrently. Painful, disfiguring nondermatitis cutaneous reactions have been described from concurrent or sequential RT and BRAFi administration, which improved with topical steroids and time. Visceral toxicity has been reported with RT and BRAFi, with deaths possibly related to bowel perforation and liver hemorrhage. Increased severity of radiation pneumonitis with BRAFi is rare, but more concerning was a potentially related fatal pulmonary hemorrhage. Conversely, encouraging reports have described patients with leptomeningeal spread and unresectable lymphadenopathy rendered disease free from combined RT and BRAFi. Based on our review, the authors recommend holding BRAFi and/or MEK inhibitors ≥3 days before and after fractionated RT and ≥1 day before and after SRS. No fatal reactions have been described with a dose <4 Gy per fraction, and time off systemic treatment should be minimized. Future prospective data will serve to refine these recommendations.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Anker, CJ; Grossmann, KF; Atkins, MB; Suneja, G; Tarhini, AA; Kirkwood, JM

Published Date

  • June 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 95 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 632 - 646

PubMed ID

  • 27131079

Pubmed Central ID

  • 27131079

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-355X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0360-3016

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2016.01.038


  • eng