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Brain Metastases

  • Keith L. Ligon, MD, PhD,   Jean Zhao, PhD, and Nancy U. Lin, MD

    Keith L. Ligon, MD, PhD, Jean Zhao, PhD, and Nancy U. Lin, MD

  • When breast cancer spreads to the brain

    When breast cancer spreads, it can travel to distant sites in the body such as the lungs, liver, bones, or brain. Breast cancer in the brain (called brain metastases) requires a dedicated team of experienced researchers and clinicians.

    At the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers, a patient with metastatic breast cancer that has spread to the brain can receive dedicated support through the Embrace program, and also benefit from a centralized program in Brain Metastases, in which a multidisciplinary team of experts including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and neurosurgeons work together to provide a seamless experience.

    Our medical oncologists in the Susan F. Smith Center have a special focus on treating breast cancer patients with brain metastases. In addition to offering expert, compassionate care, this core group leads national and international clinical trials testing new therapies, and combinations, for various subtypes of breast cancer that has spread to the brain.

    They also work hand-in-hand with scientists on genomic sequencing of tumor tissue samples, and basic researchers on the testing of various compounds in these samples.

    Clinical Trials

    The Susan F. Smith Center offers more clinical trials for metastatic breast cancer than any other center in New England. Within these trials, several are focused on breast cancer that has spread to the brain.

    Support and Education

    Patients with breast cancer that has spread to the brain have many opportunities for education and support through the Metastatic Breast Cancer Program. In particular, several recent webcasts address research and treatment for this type of cancer.

    Nancy Lin, MD, provides two presentations on treatments for patients whose breast cancer has traveled to the brain:

    • Part 1 provides an overview of breast cancer brain metastasis and describes local therapy including surgery and radiation.
    • Part 2 focuses on chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and ongoing clinical trials.

    Treatment Team

    Rachel Freedman, MD, MPH
    Ian Krop, MD, PhD
    Nancy Lin, MD
    Sara Tolaney, MD, MPH
    Eric Winer, MD