Palliative care for brain metastases of solid tumour types

I. Pladdet, E. Boven, J. Nauta, H. M. Pinedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Prognostic factors for survival were analyzed retrospectively in 214 patients with brain metastases of the solid tumour type. The most frequent neurological signs and symptoms at diagnosis of cerebral involvement were headache-nausea-vomiting and focal weakness. Similar numbers of patients were found to have solitary metastasis and multiple lesions. Non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, and renal cell cancer comprised the majority of the primaries. Most patients received high-dose corticosteroids, while in a third, anticonvulsant agents were administered. Of 157 patients treated with radiation alone, or surgery with or without radiation, 110 experienced alleviation of symptoms or stabilisation of the disease. In 38 patients with a solitary lesion, craniotomy was carried out, either with or without postoperative radiation; the latter group showed the longest survival with a median of 37 wk. The remaining group of 73 patients with one brain metastasis had a median survival of only 15 wk. The 69 patients with multiple lesions who had been irradiated had a median survival of 15 wk, while that for 34 untreated patients was 7 wk. A short median survival of 11 and 13 wk, respectively, was observed in patients with concurrent progressive extracerebral disease and in those with progressive neurological symptoms regardless of treatment. It is concluded that in patients with a solitary brain metastasis without progressive extracerebral disease surgery should be considered the treatment of first choice aiming at a long-term survival with a good quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNetherlands Journal of Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain metastasis
  • Neurosurgery
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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