, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 57-61
Date: 11 Aug 2004

Brain metastasis from colorectal cancer

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The mechanism of brain metastasis is not well understood, but the affinity between cancer cells and neural tissues may be involved in the process. The aim of our study is to elucidate the involvement of neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) and therapeutic parameters in patients with brain metastasis from colorectal cancer.


We retrospectively identified 17 patients with brain metastasis from colorectal cancer. Data were collected with regard to patients’ characteristics, location, and stage of primary tumor, and extent and location of metastatic disease. NCAM histochemical staining was undertaken using a paraffin block, and compared with 56 Dukes C patients and 13 Dukes D patients.


Neural cell adhesion molecule expression was significantly higher in the primary tumors of the brain metastasis patients than in the lesions of the Dukes C and Dukes D control groups (p=0.0004). Patients whose tumor was managed by radiosurgery survived longer than patients who had had whole brain radiation or those who had been left untreated.


The fact that NCAM expression was high in the primary tumors of brain metastasis patients suggests that the affinity of cancer cells to a particular organ is important for circulation-mediated metastasis. Controlling local tumors using radiosurgery is certainly going to play an important role in extending survival and improving the patient’s quality of life (QOL).