Leptomeningeal Metastases in Melanoma Patients: An Update on and Future Perspectives for Diagnosis and Treatment

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review



Leptomeningeal disease (LMD) is a devastating complication of cancer with a particularly poor prognosis. Among solid tumours, malignant melanoma (MM) has one of the highest rates of metastasis to the leptomeninges, with approximately 10–15% of patients with advanced disease developing LMD. Tumour cells that metastasise to the brain have unique properties that allow them to cross the blood–brain barrier, evade the immune system, and survive in the brain microenvironment. Metastatic colonisation is achieved through dynamic communication between metastatic cells and the tumour microenvironment, resulting in a tumour-permissive milieu. Despite advances in treatment options, the incidence of LMD appears to be increasing and current treatment modalities have a limited impact on survival. This review provides an overview of the biology of LMD, diagnosis and current treatment approaches for MM patients with LMD, and an overview of ongoing clinical trials. Despite the still limited efficacy of current therapies, there is hope that emerging treatments will improve the outcomes for patients with LMD.


Original languageEnglish
Article number11443
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

External IDs

PubMed 37511202
ORCID /0000-0003-4340-0402/work/145223798
ORCID /0000-0003-4340-9706/work/145224718
ORCID /0000-0002-2164-4644/work/148607197


Sustainable Development Goals


  • CNS microenvironment, intrathecal therapy, leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, leptomeningeal disease, leptomeningeal metastases, melanoma, Melanoma, Cutaneous Malignant, Brain, Meningeal Neoplasms/diagnosis, Humans, Meningeal Carcinomatosis/diagnosis, Tumor Microenvironment, Melanoma/diagnosis, Skin Neoplasms