Challenges in the treatment of breast cancer brain metastases: evidence, unresolved questions, and a practical algorithm

I. Meattini, N. Andratschke, A. M. Kirby, G. Sviri, B. V. Offersen, P. Poortmans, O. Kaidar Person

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Breast cancer is the leading cause of brain metastases in women. Large randomized clinical trials that have evaluated local therapies in patients with brain metastases include patients with brain metastases from a variety of cancer types. The incidence of brain metastases in the breast cancer population continues to grow, which is, aside from the rising breast cancer incidence, mainly attributable to improvements in systemic therapies leading to more durable control of extracranial metastatic disease and prolonged survival. The management of breast cancer brain metastases remains challenging, even more so with the continued advancement of local and highly effective systemic therapies. For most patients, a metastases-directed initial approach (i.e., radiation, surgery) represents the most appropriate initial therapy. Treatment should be based on multidisciplinary team discussions and a shared decision with the patients taking into account the risks and benefits of each therapeutic modality with the goal of prolonging survival while maintaining quality of life. In this narrative review, a multidisciplinary group of experts will address challenging questions in the context of current scientific literature and propose a therapeutic algorithm for breast cancer patients with brain metastases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1698-1709
Number of pages12
JournalClinical and Translational Oncology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Brain metastases
  • Breast cancer
  • Craniotomy
  • Recommendations
  • Stereotactic radiation therapy
  • Systemic therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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