Recommendations on disease management for patients with advanced human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive breast cancer and brain metastases: American Society of Clinical Oncology clinical practice guideline

J Clin Oncol. 2014 Jul 1;32(19):2100-8. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2013.54.0955. Epub 2014 May 5.


Purpose: To provide formal expert consensus-based recommendations to practicing oncologists and others on the management of brain metastases for patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -positive advanced breast cancer.

Methods: The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) convened a panel of medical oncology, radiation oncology, guideline implementation, and advocacy experts and conducted a systematic review of the literature. When that failed to yield sufficiently strong quality evidence, the Expert Panel undertook a formal expert consensus-based process to produce these recommendations. ASCO used a modified Delphi process. The panel members drafted recommendations, and a group of other experts joined them for two rounds of formal ratings of the recommendations.

Results: No studies or existing guidelines met the systematic review criteria; therefore, ASCO conducted a formal expert consensus-based process.

Recommendations: Patients with brain metastases should receive appropriate local therapy and systemic therapy, if indicated. Local therapies include surgery, whole-brain radiotherapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery. Treatments depend on factors such as patient prognosis, presence of symptoms, resectability, number and size of metastases, prior therapy, and whether metastases are diffuse. Other options include systemic therapy, best supportive care, enrollment onto a clinical trial, and/or palliative care. Clinicians should not perform routine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to screen for brain metastases, but rather should have a low threshold for MRI of the brain because of the high incidence of brain metastases among patients with HER2-positive advanced breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Consensus
  • Cranial Irradiation*
  • Disease Management
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Radiosurgery*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / analysis*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • ERBB2 protein, human
  • Receptor, ErbB-2