• Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Parameter Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients with Metastatic Brain Tumor

    The American Association of Neurological Surgeons & the Congress of Neurological Surgeons

    4. The Role of Chemotherapy

    Should patients with brain metastases receive chemotherapy in addition to whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT)?

    Target population

    This recommendation applies to adults with newly diagnosed brain metastases; however, the recommendation below does not apply to the exquisitely chemosensitive tumors, such as germinomas metastatic to the brain.


    Level 1 Routine use of chemotherapy following WBRT for brain metastases has not been shown to increase survival and is not recommended. Four class I studies examined the role of carboplatin, chloroethylnitrosoureas, tegafur and temozolomide, and all resulted in no survival benefit. Two caveats are provided in order to allow the treating physician to individualize decision-making: First, the majority of the data are limited to non small cell lung (NSCLC) and breast cancer; therefore, in other tumor histologies, the possibility of clinical benefit cannot be absolutely ruled out. Second, the addition of chemotherapy to WBRT improved response rates in some, but not all trials; response rate was not the primary endpoint in most of these trials and end-point assessment was non-centralized, non-blinded, and post-hoc. Enrollment in chemotherapy-related clinical trails is encouraged.

    The Role of Chemotherapy

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