Breast Cancer Brain Metastases: New Directions in Systemic Therapy

Ecancermedicalscience. 2013 Apr 18;7:307. doi: 10.3332/ecancer.2013.307. Print 2013.


The management of patients with brain metastases from breast cancer continues to be a major clinical challenge. The standard initial therapeutic approach depends upon the size, location, and number of metastatic lesions and includes consideration of surgical resection, whole-brain radiotherapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery. As systemic therapies for control of extracranial disease improve, patients are surviving long enough to experience subsequent progression events in the brain. Therefore, there is an increasing need to identify both more effective initial treatments as well as to develop multiple lines of salvage treatments for patients with breast cancer brain metastases. This review summarises the clinical experience to date with respect to cytotoxic and targeted systemic therapies for the treatment of brain metastases, highlights ongoing and planned trials of novel approaches and identifies potential targets for future investigation.

Keywords: brain and nervous system; breast.