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Ann Surg Oncol. 2012 Mar;19(3):1043-50. doi: 10.1245/s10434-011-2019-2. Epub 2011 Aug 23.

A review of current management of brain metastases.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Xijing Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, People's Republic of China.



The brain metastasis (BM) represents one of the most common and refractory malignancies worldwide with a rising incidence in all countries. It is generally believed that once a BM has developed, this disease cannot be cured and has a poor prognosis. The challenges of managing this tumor include diagnosis and selective treatment options. In addition, patients with BM frequently have greater expectations of the current therapy outcomes, which hope to get long-term survival and good quality of life.


This is a review of current clinical practice based on an exhaustive literature search of PubMed, Embase, and Google Scholar. A series of case studies is presented to provide outcomes of the effective management in BMs that have required treatment for the terminal stage of patients with cancer, and makes recommendations for future practice.


Current technical advances have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of BM. After surgery, radiotherapy, or stereotactic radiosurgery, and for some cases additional systemic chemotherapy for the primary cancer, most patients experience meaningful symptom relief, improved quality of life and longer survival time. An evidence-based summary of recommendations has been produced to guide neurosurgeons and oncologists in managing this particular group of patients.


On the basis of the available data, this treatment approach for well-selected patients is currently not recommended in the treatment of BMs except in experienced medical centers. Clinical judgment is made balancing surgical, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and management principles to advocacy the best therapy outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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