Patient Centered Individualized Treatment
Led by Chirag G. Patil, MD, a neurosurgeon and Director of the Center for Neurosurgical Outcomes Research at Cedars-Sinai, the Metastatic Brain Tumor Program focuses on the comprehensive treatment of cancer that has metastasized (spread) to the brain.
Metastatic brain tumors are more common than brain tumors that begin in the brain. Not all cancers metastasize to the brain although any cancer might. The more common cancers that metastasize to the brain are lung, breast, kidney, melanoma, testicular, germ cell tumors and others.
Along with a multidisciplinary team of experts, Dr. Patil takes a patient-centered approach to treatment and follow-up care. No two patients are treated in exactly the same way so the team holds weekly case meetings to discuss each patient to develop an optimal, individualized treatment plan. Treatments and follow-up care are delivered in a compassionate environment by a supportive and knowledgeable staff.
Treatment for Metastatic Brain Tumors
There are several factors that are taken into consideration when we develop a treatment plan for metastatic brain tumors. In addition to the history of the primary cancer and the patient's response to treatment, the following are taken into consideration:
- Age and health of the patient
- Patient's symptoms
- Location, type and number of tumors
The treatment may include surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy, alone or in combination.
After treatment, physicians will follow up with various scans and tests to help determine what additional treatment may be necessary. Patient support is offered to patients and their families.
The goal of surgery is to completely remove as much of the tumor(s) as safely possible and to relieve pressure on the brain caused by the tumor. Surgery enables physicians to act quickly, particularly if there are only one or two small lesions.
The neurosurgeons at the Metastatic Brain Tumor Program aim to retain and, in many cases, improve neurological function while completely resecting the metastatic brain tumor.
Radiation therapy is complex and tailored specifically to the needs of each patient. Radiation therapy may be used after surgery to prevent tumors from spreading to other areas of the brain or it may be used instead of surgery.
Traditional chemotherapy drugs can't cross the blood-brain tumor barrier which prevents blood from entering the brain and effectively prevents the delivery of anti-cancer drugs to the tumor. Therefore, chemotherapy is not used to reduce or eliminate metastasized brain tumors but rather to prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells to other areas of the body.