Scientific article
Open access

Where Are We Now and Where Might We Be Headed in Understanding and Managing Brain Metastases in Colorectal Cancer Patients?

Published inCurrent treatment options in oncology, vol. 23, no. 7, p. 980-1000
Publication date2022-07
First online date2022-04-28

Opinion statement: Compared to liver and lung metastases, brain metastases (BMs) from colorectal cancer (CRC) are rare and remain poorly investigated despite the anticipated rise in their incidence. CRC patients bearing BM have a dismal prognosis with a median survival of 3-6 months, significantly lower than that of patients with BM from other primary tumors, and of those with metastatic CRC manifesting extracranially. While liver and lung metastases from CRC have more codified treatment strategies, there is no consensus regarding the treatment of BM in CRC, and their management follows the approaches of BM from other solid tumors. Therapeutic strategies are driven by the number and localisation of the lesion, consisting in local treatments such as surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery, or whole-brain radiotherapy. Novel treatment modalities are slowly finding their way into this shy unconsented armatorium including immunotherapy, monoclonal antibodies, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, or a combination of those, among others.This article reviews the pioneering strategies aiming at understanding, diagnosing, and managing this disease, and discusses future directions, challenges, and potential innovations in each of these domains.

Highlights: • With the increasing survival in CRC, brain and other rare/late-onset metastases are rising. • Distal colon/rectal primary location, long-standing progressive lung metastases, and longer survival are risk factors for BM development in CRC. • Late diagnosis and lack of consensus treatment strategies make BM-CRC diagnosis very dismal. • Liquid biopsies using circulating tumor cells might offer excellent opportunities in the early diagnosis of BM-CRC and the search for therapeutic options. • Multi-modality treatment including surgical metastatic resection, postoperative SRS with/without WBRT, and chemotherapy is the best current treatment option. • Recent mid-sized clinical trials, case reports, and preclinical models show the potential of unconventional therapeutic approaches as monoclonal antibodies, targeted therapies, and immunotherapy. Graphical abstract.

  • Brain metastasis (BM)
  • Colorectal cancer (CRC)
  • Liquid biopsies
  • Metastatic pathways
  • Novel treatments
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Radiosurgery
  • Retrospective Studies
Citation (ISO format)
MJAHED, Ribal Bou et al. Where Are We Now and Where Might We Be Headed in Understanding and Managing Brain Metastases in Colorectal Cancer Patients? In: Current treatment options in oncology, 2022, vol. 23, n° 7, p. 980–1000. doi: 10.1007/s11864-022-00982-0
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1534-6277

Technical informations

Creation10/13/2022 9:41:22 AM
First validation05/23/2023 2:25:52 PM
Update time05/23/2023 2:25:52 PM
Status update05/23/2023 2:25:52 PM
Last indexation05/06/2024 3:57:34 PM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack