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Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2014 Feb;14(2):173-83. doi: 10.1586/14737140.2014.863468. Epub 2013 Dec 2.

Brain metastases in breast cancer.

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Andrew Love Cancer Centre, Geelong Hospital, VIC, Australia.


Despite therapeutic advances, the development of breast cancer brain metastases (BCBM) is still the harbinger of a dismal prognosis. Patient outcomes vary depending on factors, including tumor phenotype, extent of disease within and outside the brain, as well as patient performance status. Treatment includes surgery, radiation therapy and systemic therapy determined by patient and tumor characteristics. Despite these approaches, novel treatments are needed and there is growing interest in systemic therapies. However, the efficacy of pharmacologic agents is hampered by poor penetration of drugs across the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, there is a pressing need for a greater understanding of the natural history of BCBM to guide the development of further therapies. This review analyzes prognosis and treatment of BCBM by tumor phenotype and discusses ongoing research into new therapies.

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