Brain metastases as preventive and therapeutic targets

Nat Rev Cancer. 2011 May;11(5):352-63. doi: 10.1038/nrc3053. Epub 2011 Apr 7.


The incidence of metastasis to the brain is apparently rising in cancer patients and threatens to limit the gains that have been made by new systemic treatments. The brain is considered a 'sanctuary site' as the blood-tumour barrier limits the ability of drugs to enter and kill tumour cells. Translational research examining metastasis to the brain needs to be multi-disciplinary, marrying advanced chemistry, blood-brain barrier pharmacokinetics, neurocognitive testing and radiation biology with metastasis biology, to develop and implement new clinical trial designs. Advances in the chemoprevention of brain metastases, the validation of tumour radiation sensitizers and the amelioration of cognitive deficits caused by whole-brain radiation therapy are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans


  • Antineoplastic Agents