Brain metastases treatment
Most often, metastases to the brain are caused by malignant tumours of the lungs, intestines, kidneys, skin and mammary glands. Common symptoms are headache, convulsions, high intracranial pressure, nausea and vomiting. The usual treatment is radiotherapy, and additional methods might include CyberKnife, MRI-guided laser ablation and chemotherapy.
Metastases in the brain are secondary neoplasms that arise due to the migration of malignant cells from primary cancer. Metastases appear as a complication of oncology. Almost all cancers can provoke brain metastases, but there are also types of oncology that metastasise more often. Most often, lesions in the head are formed from kidney, lungs, intestine and breast cancer.
Approximately 50% of the total number of tumours in the brain is occupied by metastatic nature, which originates from lung neoplasms. In 30% of cases, breast cancer in women is the cause of brain metastases.
Usually, metastases in the brain develop in people aged 45-70, that is, in people of the older age category. However, it should be noted that distant cancer develops almost the same percentage in women and men. But at the same time, some types of cancer occur more often in men (lung cancer) and some - in women (mammary gland cancer).
In addition to the symptoms of the primary tumour, patients may experience the following signs of metastatic brain damage:
- Headache is one of the first symptoms;
- Nausea and vomiting (most often observed in children);
- Disturbance of consciousness of various levels, from light confusion of thoughts to coma;
- Epileptiform convulsions — most often in patients older than 45 years;
- Focal neurological symptoms: impaired sensitivity (its decrease, hypoesthesia or anaesthesia), movement (paralysis and paresis of arms and legs, or half of the face), speech, vision, and hearing disorders.
Oncologists use such modern diagnostic methods as CT or MRI to diagnose metastases that have affected the brain. At the same time, MRI is done with contrast to visualise the tumours' blood supply. Doctors also prescribe blood tests (biochemistry) and a biopsy for further histological examination. The earlier the diagnosis is confirmed, the higher the chances of a full recovery.
The choice of treatment tactics depends on a particular disease's characteristics. With the development of medical technologies, the preference for neurosurgery is given less and less. Non-surgical technologies show high efficiency in treatment. Using non-contact remote stereotaxic radiosurgery (CyberKnife) is the gold standard in treating metastases of any complexity and localisation. This method allows for a single radio dose, which leads to the destruction of the tumour (metastasis) without affecting healthy cells.
However, other treatment methods remain in modern cancer centres: radiotherapy (primarily IMRT), drug therapy (chemotherapy and target therapy) and surgery (MRI-guided laser ablation for metastatic brain lesions).
Where can I get Brain metastases treatment?
What are the best clinics for Brain metastases treatment?
Who are the best doctors for Brain metastases?
Prof. Dr. med. Alexander Muacevic from European Radiosurgery Centre Munich
Prof. Dr. med Harald-Robert Bruch, MSc, PhD from Oncological and Haematological Praxis Clinic Bonn
Prof. Dr. med. Bernhard Meyer from University Hospital rechts der Isar Munich
Prof. Dr. med. Florian Bassermann from University Hospital rechts der Isar Munich
Prof. Dr. med. Stefan Eber from M1 Private Clinic Munich