A metastatic brain tumor spreads to the brain from a primary cancer elsewhere in the body – often the lung, breast, skin (melanoma) or kidneys. Metastases may result in one or multiple brain tumors – most of which are treatable. Treatment often results in improved survival rate, quality of life and brain functioning.
Metastatic brain cancer is diagnosed through a neurological examination followed by a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain. MRI scans are usually performed with contrast dye to help identify the tumor’s size, location and type.
In most situations, the primary cancer elsewhere within the body is diagnosed before spreading to the brain. However, in some cases, the metastatic brain tumors are found at the same time or before the primary cancer is discovered. If a metastatic tumor is diagnosed before the primary cancer site is found, additional tests are needed to locate the primary site within the body.
An exact diagnosis can only be confirmed following a stereotactic biopsy or surgical removal of the tumor. Tissue analysis by a neuropathologist defines the diagnosis, genetic profile of the tumor and where in the body the cancer began.
Your number one defense against a metastatic brain tumor is the team of specialists we provide. Our oncologist, radiation oncologist and neurosurgeon together determine what treatment or combination of treatments are right for your individual case. Treatment decisions consider long-term survival possibilities, quality of life during and after treatment as well as concerns regarding any neuro-cognitive impact from the treatments.
Treatments could include:
The diagnosis and molecular profile of each tumor is individually reviewed by our multi-disciplinary tumor board. Together, our experts recommend the best personalized and targeted treatment options incorporating the latest molecular diagnostics, treatment protocols and participation in national clinical trials. We work and communicate with your medical oncologist for coordinated care.
This phase II trial studies how well genetic testing works in guiding treatment for patients with solid tumors that have spread to the brain. These brain metastases often have altered or mutated genes. Medications that target these genes may stop the growth of tumor cells by blocking some of the enzymes needed for cell growth.