3 years ago

Brain metastases as first manifestation of advanced cancer: exploratory analysis of 459 patients at a tertiary care center

L. M. Füreder, G. Widhalm, B. Gatterbauer, K. Dieckmann, J. A. Hainfellner, R. Bartsch, C. C. Zielinski, M. Preusser, A. S. Berghoff


Symptomatic brain metastases (BM) are a frequent and late complication in cancer patients. However, a subgroup of cancer patients presents with BM as the first symptom of metastatic cancer. Here we aimed to analyze the clinical course and prognostic factors of this particular BM patient population. Patients presenting with newly diagnosed BM without a history of metastatic cancer were identified from the Vienna Brain Metastasis Registry. Clinical characteristics and overall survival were retrieved by chart review. 459/2419 (19.0%) BM patients presented with BM as first symptom of advanced cancer. In 374/459 (81.5%) patients, an extracranial primary tumor, most commonly lung cancer, could be identified within 3 months after BM diagnosis. In 85/459 (18.5%) patients no extracranial primary tumor could be identified despite comprehensive diagnostic workup within the first 3 months after diagnosis of BM. Survival of patients with identified extracranial tumor differed only numerically from patients with cancer of unknown primary (CUP), however patients receiving targeted therapy after molecular workup showed significantly enhanced survival (20 months vs. 7 months; p = 0.003; log rank test). The GPA score showed a statistically significant association with median overall survival times in the CUP BM patients (class I: 46 months; class II: 7 months; class III: 4 months; class IV: 2 months; p < 0.001; log rank test). The GPA score has a strong prognostic value in patients with CUP BM and may be useful for patient stratification in the clinical setting. Comprehensive diagnostic workup including advanced imaging techniques and molecular tissue analyses appears to benefit patients by directing specific molecular targeted therapies.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10585-018-9947-1

DOI: 10.1007/s10585-018-9947-1

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