What is the prevalence of brain metastasis?

Updated: Aug 01, 2018
  • Author: Victor Tse, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
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Metastatic tumors are among the most common mass lesions in the brain. In the United States, an estimated 98,000-170,000 cases occur each year. This is about 24-45% of all cancer patients. [1] The prevalence of brain metastasis is thought to be 120,000-140,000 per year. This disease accounts for 20% of cancer deaths annually, a rate that can be traced to an increase in the median survival of patients with cancer because of modern therapies, increased availability of advanced imaging techniques for early detection, and vigilant surveillance protocols for monitoring recurrence. In addition, most systemic treatments (eg, the use of chemotherapeutic agents, which may penetrate the brain poorly) can transiently weaken the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and allow systemic disease to be seeded in the CNS, leaving the brain a safe haven for tumor growth.

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