How does treatment affect survival rates for brain metastasis?

Updated: Aug 01, 2018
  • Author: Victor Tse, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
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Answer

Surgery and WBRT remain the standard of care. Emerging data suggest that WBRT and radiosurgery is as promising as surgery and WBRT, especially in patients with more than 1 lesion in the brain. Furthermore, no significant difference has been observed between stereotactic radiosurgery and combined WBRT and radiosurgery in this population of patients. Hence, patients of RAP 2 or 3 may not have any survival advantage with aggressive and prolonged treatment, and radiosurgery alone may be a more sensible therapeutic option.

To date, treatment options for metastatic disease to the brain are mainly palliative, but this is changing. With newer chemotherapeutic agents, the repetitive use of stereotactic radiosurgery, and the growing trend in developing comprehensive cancer centers and integrative medicine to address emotional, nutritional, and cognitive/social issues of cancer patients, physicians and auxiliary staffs caring for cancer patients are more equipped to meet the personal needs of the patients.


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