Supportive care for patients with brain metastases from lung cancer

J Thorac Dis. 2021 May;13(5):3258-3268. doi: 10.21037/jtd-2019-rbmlc-11.


Lung cancer is the most common cause of intracranial metastases (ICM). Metastases in the brain can result in a broad range of uncomfortable symptoms and significant morbidity secondary to neurological disability. Treatment options can range from surgical resection of solitary metastases to radiotherapy and more recently systemic targeted therapies and immunotherapy. Patient survival continues to improve with innovations made in treatments for this condition, but each of these treatments carry their own adverse effects that must be appropriately managed. These patients can benefit greatly from multidisciplinary care throughout the course of their disease. Clinicians involved in their care must be equipped with the ability to communicate skillfully and compassionately and set expectations for the road ahead, including symptoms, treatment plans, and prognosis. Involvement of a palliative care team can be very helpful, especially for patients who are nearing the terminal stages of the disease. Palliative care skills may be invaluable in the management of symptoms and can ease suffering for patients and their caregivers, thus allowing for maximum quality of life for as long as possible. End of life may bring its own complications and challenges; and opinion of an experienced and knowledgeable clinician can alleviate the pain and distress of the patient and also bring peace to the caregivers and loved ones.

Keywords: Brain metastasis; lung cancer; supportive care.

Publication types

  • Review