The first national treatment guidelines for brain metastases, which account for nearly 500,000 new cancers annually in the United States, were released at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons in New Orleans.
A news release notes that the guidelines were developed by a 20-member panel in various specialties over the last year after reviewing the literature and reaching a consensus for different treatments. The panel was headed by neurosurgeon Steven N. Kalkanis, MD, Co-director of the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
“In the last 10 years, there has been an explosion of new treatments for brain metastases: surgical resection, stereotactic radiosurgery, whole brain radiation therapy, partial brain radiation, chemotherapy, and various combinations of all the above. Because of the growth of these new technologies, there has been wide variation among physicians in how to treat patients, and there hasn't been a central source on which treatment regimens give the best results. Our primary goal was to identify best treatment practices leading to the best outcomes for patients.”
In cases where there was not enough data to suggest a guideline or recommendation for a particular treatment, he explained, the report lists all relevant ongoing clinical trials as well as needed future studies to inform the medical community and foster support for continuing research.
Key points mentioned in the guidelines are:
- That there is range of therapeutic options for treating brain metastases.
- The existing evidence used to guide decision-making and its limitations.
- The range of diversity in practice patterns and the various demographic factors that influence clinical decisions.
- The impact of expert reviews of published clinical evidence on practice regarding treatment options for brain metastases.
The guidelines will be published in the December issue of the Journal of Neuro-Oncology.