Development of new brain metastases in triple negative breast cancer

Ravi Medikonda, Siddhartha Srivastava, Timothy Kim, Yuanxuan Xia, Jennifer Kim, Christopher Jackson, Jon Weingart, Debraj Mukherjee, Chetan Bettegowda, Gary Gallia, Henry Brem, Kristin Redmond, Vered Stearns, Lawrence Kleinberg, Michael Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Brain metastases are common in patients with breast cancer, and those with triple negative status have an even higher risk. Triple negative status is currently not considered when managing brain metastases. Objective: To determine whether triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients with brain metastases have a higher burden of intracranial disease and whether WBRT has a survival benefit in this cohort of patients. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study with 85 patients meeting the inclusion criteria. Results: 25% of patients had TNBC. 95% of the patients in this study received SRS and 48% received WBRT. The average number of new brain metastases from time of initial brain imaging to radiation therapy was 0.67 ± 1.1 in the non-TNBC status patients and 2.6 ± 3.7 in the triple negative status patients (p = 0.001). A cox proportional hazards model showed that WBRT does not significantly affect overall survival in patients with TNBC (HR 1.48; 95% CI 0.47–4.67; p = 0.50). Conclusion: Our findings highlight the highly aggressive intracranial nature of TNBC. The rate of new brain metastasis formation is higher in TNBC patients compared to non-TNBC patients. Furthermore, there is no survival benefit for WBRT in TNBC patients. These findings are relevant for clinicians planning brain radiation for TNBC patients as they may find more brain metastases at the time of brain radiation than they anticipated based on initial brain imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-338
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Brain metastasis
  • Breast cancer metastasis
  • Triple negative breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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