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Our specialists from Adult and Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Neurosurgery, Radiology, Pharmacy, and Nursing within Johns Hopkins Medicine are working together to ensure the best possible outcome for this special patient population.
BRAF is a gene that can be abnormally activated in cancers. It encodes a protein that sends signals inside the cell promoting tumor growth.
Drugs that inhibit this pathway have had genuine success in other cancers with BRAF mutations (such as melanoma – a type of skin cancer).
BRAF mutated brain tumors are uncommon. However, as genetic testing is being conducted more frequently, more patients with this specific mutation are being found.
Unfortunately, the drugs used in other BRAF mutated cancers are not currently “approved” for patients with BRAF mutated brain tumors. These drugs are expensive and are often difficult for patients to obtain. Furthermore, it is not clear which of these drugs best penetrate the blood-brain barrier or are the most effective in brain cancers.
Treatment of BRAF-mutated Brain Tumors
Clinical trials demonstrate BRAF inhibitors in combination with MEK inhibitors can be efficacious for some patients with BRAF mutated glioma. The best time to use these medications is still unclear. It is also difficult to predict which patients will have a response and which will not.
Treatment trials are available for people with BRAF-mutate brain tumors. Check here for current status of our clinical trials.
We are studying the way BRAF mutated brain tumors can become resistance to BRAF and MEK inhibitors in order predict who might benefit from these drugs and what the optimal combination might be.