Chemotherapy may be the initial treatment for patients with brain metastases from chemosensitive tumors, like small cell lung cancers, lymphomas, germ cell tumors and breast cancers, especially for chemonaive patients or if an effective chemotherapy schedule for the primary is still available. Radiation therapy, with or without chemotherapy, is still the treatment of choice for patients needing a palliation of neurological symptoms
In two phase II trials of temozolomide in heavily pretreated patients with various solid tumor brain metastases, temozolomide was safe and generally well tolerated and showed clinical activity, with three partial responses and 19 disease stabilizations. Results of a third randomized phase II trial of concurrent administration of temozolomide and radiation therapy followed by adjuvant temozolomide therapy compared with radiation alone showed a higher rate of complete and partial responses (objective response of 96% v 67%) and significantly more complete responses (38% v 33%, P =.017), primarily in patients with newly diagnosed brain and lung metastases.
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Soffietti R, Cornu P, Delattre JY, Grant R, Graus F, Grisold W, Heimans J, Hildebrand J, Hoskin P, Kalljo M, Krauseneck P, Marosi C, Siegal T, Vecht C. EFNS Guidelines on diagnosis and treatment of brain metastases: report of an EFNS Task Force. Eur J Neurol 2006 Jul;13(7):674-81. [44 references]
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