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Ann Afr Med. 2019 Jul-Sep;18(3):127-131. doi: 10.4103/aam.aam_42_18.

Palliative external beam radiotherapy for advanced breast cancer patients with brain metastasis in the university college hospital Ibadan.

Author information

Department of Radiation and Clinical Oncology, Usman Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital Sokoto, Sokoto, Nigeria.
Department of ENT Surgery, Specialist Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria.


in English, French


Brain metastasis is a dreaded complication that significantly reduces the quality of life in breast cancer patients. The treatment options are limited by the inability of many chemotherapeutic agents to cross the blood-brain barrier. Surgery also has a limited role, except in few selected patients with oligometastasis. Therefore, whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) remains the available option that gives a gratifying result. However, the benefit of this treatment modality in our resource-poor environment needs to be investigated.

Materials and Methods:

The data of breast cancer patients with brain metastasis who were treated with WBRT using cobalt-60 equipment between 2005 and 2009 were retrospectively collected from the departmental medical record unit. The information extracted included biodata, presenting symptoms, imaging modality for confirmation of brain metastasis, treatment records, performance status pre-WBRT and 4 weeks post-WBRT, and other supportive treatments.


A total of 52 female patients were reviewed between 2005 and 2009. The mean age of patients was 44.7 years. The common clinical features on presentation were headache, nausea, and visual impairment in 30.8% of patients with the WHO performance status score ranging between 2 and 4. Patients with more than three brain deposits accounted for 71.2% of all the brain metastases. The mean radiation dose used for WBRT was 30 Gy in 10 fractions, and total responses recorded were 86.5% with 53.8% complete improvement in patients' performance status 4 weeks after WBRT treatment.


WBRT is an effective treatment modality for patients with brain metastasis in our resource-poor environment. However, improvement of patients' performance status declined with advancing age.


Brain metastasis; breast cancer; whole-brain radiotherapy

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