Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Scientific Reports


Springer Nature


School of Medical and Health Sciences




Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme 2020

National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia

Grant Number

NHMRC Number : 1117911


Warburton, L., Meniawy, T. M., Calapre, L., Pereira, M., McEvoy, A., Ziman, M., ... & Millward, M. (2020). Stopping targeted therapy for complete responders in advanced BRAF mutant melanoma. Scientific Reports, 10(1), article 18878.


BRAF inhibitors revolutionised the management of melanoma patients and although resistance occurs, there is a subgroup of patients who maintain durable disease control. For those cases with durable complete response (CR) it is not clear whether it is safe to cease therapy. Here we identified 13 patients treated with BRAF +/− MEK inhibitors, who cease therapy after prolonged CR (median = 34 months, range 20–74). Recurrence was observed in 3/13 (23%) patients. In the remaining 10 patients with sustained CR off therapy, the median follow up after discontinuation was 19 months (range 8–36). We retrospectively measured ctDNA levels using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) in longitudinal plasma samples. CtDNA levels were undetectable in 11/13 cases after cessation and remained undetectable in patients in CR (10/13). CtDNA eventually became detectable in 2/3 cases with disease recurrence, but remained undetectable in 1 patient with brain only progression. Our study suggests that consideration could be given to ceasing targeted therapy in the context of prolonged treatment, durable response and no evidence of residual disease as measured by ctDNA.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.