What is the prevalence of brain metastasis in the US?

Updated: Aug 01, 2018
  • Author: Victor Tse, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
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The incidence of metastatic brain tumors exceeds that of primary brain tumors, accounting for 50% of total brain tumors and for as many as 30% of tumors seen on imaging studies alone. An estimated 100,000 new cases are diagnosed per year in the United States; about 60% of patients are aged 50-70 years.

More than 20% of patients with systemic disease have brain metastasis on autopsy. About 15% of patients with cancer present with neurologic symptoms before their systemic cancer is diagnosed. Among them, 43-60% have an abnormal chest radiograph suggestive of bronchogenic primary or other metastases to the lung. In 9%, the CNS is the only site of spread. About 10% of patients with proven metastatic disease have no identifiable primary source.

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