Leptomeningeal Cancer from Melanoma

Last Modified: January 29, 2006

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

What are the treatment options for someone diagnosed with leptomeningeal cancer from melanoma?

Answer

Suzanne M. McGettigan, MSN, CRNP, AOCN, Board Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner and a Certified Oncology Advanced Practice Nurse, responds:

I did a search and found a single case study of a primary leptomeningeal melanoma (meaning the melanoma actually started in that location), but that would be more the exception than the rule. Most often, melanoma begins on the skin as a cutaneous primary lesion and then spreads to the leptomeningeal region of the brain. When melanoma spreads to the brain, it is most often resected surgically if a single lesion is present, or treated with radiation therapy either to a single lesion or to the whole brain. Also, if there is more than one site of metastasis within the brain, but only one is causing symptoms, then that single lesion may possibly be surgically resected.