Cerebral metastases-a therapeutic update

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Cerebral metastases remain a common complication among patients with cancer. Historically, whole-brain radiotherapy has remained the standard of care, with surgery being reserved for selected cases. Recent advances have changed our practice, however. In particular, stereotactic radiosurgery has emerged as a vital treatment modality for this disease. In addition, chemotherapy, including temozolomide, topoisomerase inhibitors and antimetabolites, and treatment sensitizers, such as efaproxiral and motexafin gadolinium, are actively being assessed in clinical trials, and are likely to play an increasing role in the management of cerebral metastases in the future. Nonetheless, many uncertainties remain, such as the optimal combination and timing of therapeutics. As the arsenal of therapeutics expands, it will be increasingly important to select appropriate patients for a particular treatment paradigm. Understanding the efficacy and toxicity of treatment is essential to this task.

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