Targeted Treatment of Brain Metastases
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Purpose of Review
Brain metastases are the most common intracranial tumors in adults. Historically, the median survival after the diagnosis of brain metastases has been dismal and medical therapies had a limited role in the management of these patients.
The advent of targeted therapy has ushered in an era of increased hope for patients with brain metastases. The most common malignancies that result in brain metastases—melanoma, lung cancer, and breast cancer, often have actionable mutations, which make them good candidates for targeted systemic therapy. These brain metastases have been shown to have relevant and sometimes divergent genetic alterations, and there has been a resurgence of interest in targeted drug delivery to the brain by using standard or pulsatile dosing to achieve adequate concentration in the brain.
An increased understanding of oncogenic alterations, a surge in targeted drug development with good blood barrier penetration, and inclusion of patients with active brain metastases on clinical trials have led to improved outcomes for patients with brain metastases.