Special Issue

Outcome and clinico-biological characteristics of advanced breast cancer patients with surgically resected brain metastases: a multidisciplinary approach

18 Apr 2013
Elisabetta Munzone, Cecilia Casali, Gaetano Aurilio, Edoardo Botteri, Alessandro Perin, Giuliana Pelicci, Paola Brescia, Angela Sciandivasci, Laura Adamoli, Giuseppe Viale, Francesco DiMeco

Background: Despite improvements in brain surgery and radiotherapy, patients with brain metastases (BM) from breast cancer still have a poor prognosis. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the outcome of a multimodal therapeutic strategy in an unselected cohort of patients. 

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 24 breast cancer patients who developed BM and were treated with brain surgery, radiotherapy, and/or systemic therapy in the same institutions.

Results: Primary treatment for BM was surgery in the whole cohort, radiotherapy in 11 patients, radiotherapy combined with systemic therapy in nine patients, and systemic therapy as single treatment in six patients (chemo/targeted therapy n= 4; hormonal therapy n=2). The median time from breast cancer diagnosis to brain surgery was 57.6 months (range 1.8–130.7 months). The overall survival from surgery for BM was 22 months and the overall survival from BM surgery by presence of other metastatic sites at surgery was 25 months for patients with BM only and 11 months for patients with other metastatic sites (p=0.046).

Conclusion: Although this study is retrospective and limited by the small number of patients, the overall survival of 22 months from the time of brain surgery represents an excellent outcome. The multidisciplinary approach that combines the efforts of specialists from different disciplines leads to satisfactory results for patients in terms of survival in the current clinical practice and prospective subtype-oriented trials are urgently required in this category of patients.

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