Metastatic brain tumours, also called lesions or brain metastases, are caused by cancer that has spread from another part of the body.
- Most brain metastases are located in the cerebrum, but can also develop in the cerebellum or brainstem
- The primary cancer is usually in the lung, breast, colon, kidney or skin (melanoma), but can originate from any cancer in any part of the body
Tumours that spread to the brain may be single (solitary metastasis) or multiple in number.
Common symptoms include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Symptoms depend on the size and location of the tumour.
- The spread of a tumour to the brain may produce symptoms before the primary tumour is diagnosed.
Treatment/Standard of Care
Surgery, radiation, radiosurgery and supportive care are the main treatment options. For patients with a limited number of tumours then surgery and/or radiosurgery may be delivered followed by whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT). In cases of multiple lesions, WBRT alone may be given. Selected chemotherapy agents have been shown to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and may be used as first-line therapy.