Brain metastasis: Opportunity for drug development?

Matthias Preusser*, Anna S. Berghoff, Dirk Schadendorf, Nancy U. Lin, Roger Stupp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Brain metastases are a common clinical problem, and only limited treatment options exist. We review recent advances in medical brain metastasis research with a focus on the most common tumor types associated with secondary brain colonization: melanoma, breast cancer and lung cancer. We speculate on opportunities for drug development in patients with brain metastases, both as a treatment of established disease and as an adjuvant and prophylactic strategy. RECENT FINDINGS: BRAF inhibitors and the immunomodulatory anticytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 antibody ipilimumab have shown clinically meaningful activity in melanoma patients with brain metastases. In breast cancer, current studies on drug treatment of brain metastases are mainly focusing on human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 targeting agents such as lapatinib. Emerging data seem to implicate a potential role of targeted agents including antiangiogenic compounds, pazopanib, and epithelial growth factor receptor inhibitors for prevention of brain metastasis formation in breast cancer or nonsmall cell lung cancer. SUMMARY: Novel drugs are beginning to enter clinical practice for selected patients with brain metastases. The promising findings from recent studies may fuel more research on brain metastases and their optimal drug treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-794
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • brain metastases
  • drug
  • prophylaxis
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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