Brain metastases in breast cancer.


Brain metastases are less common than bone or visceral metastases in patients with breast cancer. The overall prognosis of breast cancer patients with brain metastases remains poor, and these metastases are less responsive to systemic therapies. Brain metastasis is associated with a reduced quality of life due to progressive neurologic impairments. Recently, a trend of increased incidence of brain metastases in breast cancer has been noted. Reasons for this increased incidence include the more frequent use of sensitive detection methods such as contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging and increased awareness of brain metastasis among patients and clinicians. Adjuvant and systemic therapy with drugs that have a low blood-brain barrier penetrance can lead to an increased risk of brain metastases in breast cancer patients. Molecular subtype is a predictive factor for overall survival after developing brain metastases. Patients who do not have a poor prognosis based on previously identified prognostic factors should be treated with radiation therapy to control symptoms. Whole-brain radiation therapy, stereotactic irradiation and surgery are tools for the local treatment of brain metastases. Novel molecular target therapy, including HER2-targeted therapy, has demonstrated an antitumor effect on brain metastases. In this review, we provide a practical algorithm for the treatment of breast cancer brain metastases. This review provides an overview of the incidence, risk factors, diagnosis, prognostic factors and current and potential future management strategies of breast cancer brain metastases.

DOI: 10.1093/jjco/hyu156
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@article{Niikura2014BrainMI, title={Brain metastases in breast cancer.}, author={Naoki Niikura and Shigehira Saji and Yutaka Tokuda and Hiroji Iwata}, journal={Japanese journal of clinical oncology}, year={2014}, volume={44 12}, pages={1133-40} }