Brain metastasis is a common complication of advanced malignancies, especially, lung cancer, breast cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Traditionally surgery, when indicated, and radiation therapy, either as whole-brain radiation therapy or stereotactic radiosurgery, constituted the major treatment options for brain metastases. Until recently, most of the systemic chemotherapy agents had limited activity for brain metastases. However, with the advent of small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors and immunotherapy agents, there has been renewed interest in using these agents in the management of brain metastases.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized the treatment of metastatic melanoma, lung cancer, kidney cancer, and bladder cancer among others. They modulate the immune system to recognize tumor antigens as "non-self" antigens and mount an immune response against them. Initial studies of using immune checkpoint inhibitors in brain metastases have shown promising activity, and several clinical trials are currently underway. Studies are also assessing the combination of radiation therapy and immunotherapy in brain metastases. The results of these ongoing clinical trials have the potential to change the therapeutic paradigm in patients with brain metastases.
Current neurology and neuroscience reports. 2018 Aug 18*** epublish ***
Adam Lauko, Bicky Thapa, Vyshak Alva Venur, Manmeet S Ahluwalia
Burkhardt Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Ave, S73, Cleveland, OH, 44195, USA., Fairview Hospital-Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA., University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA, USA., Burkhardt Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Ave, S73, Cleveland, OH, 44195, USA. .