, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp 453-463

Colorectal carcinoma and brain metastasis: Distribution, treatment, and survival

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Background: Brain metastasis from colorectal cancer is rare. The present study reports the nature of this disease and analyzes factors correlated with survival in patients harboring such disease.

Patients and Methods: One hundred patients diagnosed between 1980 and 1994 with metastatic brain tumors secondary to colorectal adenocarcinoma were retrospectively reviewed. Of these patients, 36 underwent surgery, 57 underwent radiotherapy alone, and the remaining seven received steroids.

Results: The most common primary sites were the sigmoid colon and rectum (65%). Brain metastases with concomitant liver and/or lung metastases were seen more frequently than brain metastases alone. The median interval between the diagnosis of primary cancer and the diagnosis of brain metastasis was 26 months (95% confidence interval =22–30). The median survival time after the diagnosis of brain metastasis was 1 month for patients who received only steroids, 3 months for those who received radiotherapy (p=0.1), and 9 months for those who underwent surgery (p<0.0001). The extent of noncerebral systemic disease was not correlated with survival (p>0.05), but early onset of brain metastasis was significantly associated with poor prognosis (p=0.04).

Conclusion: Surgical removal of colorectal metastatic brain lesions results in significantly increased survival time, regardless of the status of the noncerebral systemic disease.