Author(s): Norden AD, Wen PY, Kesari S
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Abstract PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Brain metastases occur in 10-30\% of cancer patients, and they are associated with a dismal prognosis. Radiation therapy has been the mainstay of treatment for patients without surgically treatable lesions. For patients with good prognostic factors and a single metastasis, surgical resection is recommended. The management of patients with multiple metastases, poor prognostic factors, or unresectable lesions is, however, controversial. Recently published data will be reviewed. RECENT FINDINGS: Radiation therapy has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of local recurrence after surgical resection of brain metastases, although this does not translate into improved survival. Recently, stereotactic radiosurgery has emerged as an increasingly important alternative to surgery that appears to be associated with less morbidity and similar outcomes. Other potentially promising therapies under investigation include interstitial brachytherapy, new chemotherapeutic agents that cross the blood-brain barrier, and targeted molecular agents. SUMMARY: Patients with brain metastases are now eligible for a number of treatment options that are increasingly likely to improve outcomes. Randomized, prospective trials are necessary to better define the utility of radiosurgery versus surgery in the management of patients with brain metastases. Future investigations should address quality of life and neurocognitive outcomes, in addition to traditional outcome measures such as recurrence and survival rates. The potentially substantial role for chemotherapeutics that cross the blood-brain barrier and for novel targeted molecular agents is now being elucidated.
This article was published in Curr Opin Neurol
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