Adjuvant BRAF-MEK Inhibitors versus Anti PD-1 Therapy in Stage III Melanoma: A Propensity-Matched Outcome Analysis

Melissa M. de Meza, Willeke A. M. Blokx, Johannes J. Bonenkamp, Christian U. Blank, Maureen J. B. Aarts, Franchette W. P. J. van den Berkmortel, Marye J. Boers-Sonderen, Jan Willem B. de Groot, John B. A. G. Haanen, Geke A. P. Hospers, Ellen Kapiteijn, Olivier J. van Not, Djura Piersma, Rozemarijn S. van Rijn, Marion Stevense-den Boer, Astrid A. M. van der Veldt, Gerard Vreugdenhil, Alfonsus J. M. van den Eertwegh, Karijn P. M. Suijkerbuijk, Michel W. J. M. Wouters

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Adjuvant BRAF/MEK- and anti-PD-1 inhibition have significantly improved recurrence-free survival (RFS) compared to placebo in resected stage III BRAF-mutant melanoma. However, data beyond the clinical trial setting are limited. This study describes the toxicity and survival of patients treated with adjuvant BRAF/MEK inhibitors and compares outcomes to adjuvant anti-PD-1. For this study, stage III BRAF V600 mutant cutaneous melanoma patients treated with adjuvant BRAF/MEK-inhibition or anti-PD-1 were identified from the Dutch Melanoma Treatment Registry. BRAF/MEK- and anti-PD-1-treated patients were matched based on propensity scores, and RFS at 12 and 18 months were estimated. Between 1 July 2018 and 31 December 2021, 717 patients were identified. Of these, 114 patients with complete records were treated with BRAF/MEK therapy and 532 with anti-PD-1. Comorbidities (p = 0.04) and geographical region (p < 0.01) were associated with treatment choice. In 45.6% of BRAF/MEK-treated patients, treatment was prematurely discontinued. Grade ≥ 3 toxicity occurred in 11.5% of patients and was the most common cause of early discontinuation (71.1%). At 12 and 18 months, RFS in BRAF/MEK-treated patients was 85% and 70%, compared to 68% and 68% in matched anti-PD-1-treated patients (p = 0.03). In conclusion, comorbidities and geographical region determine the choice of adjuvant treatment in patients with resected stage III BRAF-mutant melanoma. With the currently limited follow-up, BRAF/MEK-treated patients have better RFS at 12 months than matched anti-PD-1-treated patients, but this difference is no longer observed at 18 months. Therefore, longer follow-up data are necessary to estimate long-term effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number409
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • adjuvant therapy
  • immune checkpoint inhibition
  • melanoma
  • targeted therapy

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