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Brain metastases are unfortunately very common and arise from cancers in the rest of the body and spread to the brain or the coverings of the brain which are called the "leptomeninges."

These are one of the most common brain tumors and may become even more common as our treatments of cancer improve and cancer cells get better at hiding in the brain. 

Brain metastases are not completely understood in terms of their biology. To further complicate matters, when a cancer grows in the brain it develops new mutations and strategies to survive that are different than the cancer in the rest of the body.

This means that there are unique challenges as well as opportunities for newer treatments. Among the most common cancers to metastasize to the brain and leptomeninges are melanoma, breast cancer and lung cancer.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, the scientists and clinicians in our Neuro-Oncology Program are continually investigating new and better ways to treat brain metastases, leptomeningeal disease and other forms of brain cancer, and we are making great strides. Our research breakthroughs have received national acclaim, including a Comprehensive Cancer Center designation by the National Cancer Institute.

The focus of our studies

Through our robust portfolio of basic research and clinical trials, Moffitt’s research team is able to assess the effectiveness of novel therapies for brain metastases and leptomeningeal disease as compared to the current standard of care. These important medical research studies also offer our patients opportunities to be among the first to benefit from promising new treatment options that are not yet widely available, such as:

  • Surgical techniques for brain tumor removal
  • Radiation therapy delivery methods for the microscopic portions of these tumors that cannot be surgically removed safely and spare normal brain
  • Chemotherapy medications and combinations of existing medications
  • Personalized medicine to match a treatment that penetrates the brain and is specific for the biology of the brain metastases or leptomeningeal disease
  • Immunotherapies and vaccines
  • Supportive therapies to manage the side effects of existing treatments and enhance quality of life
  • Neuropsychological, endocrinological assessments to limit side effects of treatments

Moffitt is a leading destination for brain tumor and leptomeningeal clinical trials, which are especially important given the limitations of the currently available treatment options. In addition to our renowned scientific researchers, our Neuro-Oncology Program includes experienced surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, neurologists, geneticists, personalized medicine doctors, and neuropsychologists all of whom specialize in treating cancers of the brain and spinal cord. Working together, we provide our patients with highly individualized care, which we believe is key to achieving the best possible outcome and quality of life.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Peter Forsyth, Chair, Department of Neuro-Oncology

If you have questions or would like to find brain metastases and leptomeningeal disease clinical trials that are currently accepting new patients, please call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form online to request an appointment at Moffitt.