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Brain metastases are the most common form of brain cancer. Brain metastases occur when cancerous cells break away from primary tumors in distant tissues or organs. The cancer cells travel to the brain via the bloodstream or lymphatic system. While any type of cancer can potentially spread to the brain, the cancers most associated with brain metastases initially develop in the lung, breast, skin (melanoma), colon, or kidney.

The enhanced knowledge of primary tumor biology, actionable molecular targets and continued improvements in systemic and radiotherapy regimens have helped improve survival rates. The treatment of brain metastasis involves a multidisciplinary collaboration with experts including neurosurgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists.

Recently, the multidisciplinary team at Moffitt authored a research article titled "Improving Brain Metastases Outcomes Through Therapeutic Synergy Between Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Targeted Cancer Therapies." The publication was recently featured in Frontiers in Oncology

The article outlined the advances in targeted therapies to date. It also discussed the findings of studies investigating the synergy of using stereotactic radiosurgery and immunotherapies. These synergies have improved the outcome for patients with non-small cell lung, HER-2 positive, endocrine receptor-positive breast, melanoma, and renal cell carcinoma brain metastases.

"While stereotactic radiosurgery has been a mainstay of treatment for brain metastases, recent advances in targeted therapies and immunotherapies have provided additional options for certain groups of patients with brain metastases," said Dr. Michael Vogelbaum, Program Leader of Neuro-Oncology and Chief of Neurosurgery. "We are now exploring combinations of these treatments that may provide even better cancer control within the brain."

The research article also pointed out the challenges of comparing results from multiple studies assessing outcomes in patients with brain metastases. However, the authors agreed that the cumulative synergies underscore the importance of a multidisciplinary team approach and/or the various treatment modalities for patients with brain metastasis will likely lead to a better outcome.  

Congratulations to the Moffitt Neuro-Oncology Program and the multidisciplinary team of authors including Drs. Sebastian Rubino, Daniel Oliver, Nam Tran, Michael Vogelbaum, Peter Forsyth, Hsiang-Hsuan Michael Yu, Kamran Ahmed and Arnold Etame.

If you’d like to refer a patient to Moffitt, complete our online form or contact a physician liaison for assistance. As part of our efforts to shorten referral times as much as possible, online referrals are typically responded to within 24 - 48 hours.