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Brain Mets and immunotherapy


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That’s an interesting question Barb.  I don’t know but what I can say is that there is increasing evidence that brain Mets can be effectively managed and doesn’t necessarily impact OS.  We have multiple group members with a history of brain Mets who are NED after immunotherapy and radiation. 

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A year ago, my husband was diagnosed with a 13mm brain met.  He went through three 40 minute radiation treatments (every other day). It was done by a machine they call "Cyberknife", so they were able to dial in precisely to the tumor and he didn't have to do whole brain radiation.  Two months later his CT showed the brain met was resolved. 

My husband was on immunotherapy at the time of the brain met diagnosis.  Actually, he still is, but it is a different kind of immunotherapy now (Keytruda + Inlyta a targeted therapy drug).  His cancer was found in a kidney in August of 2018, but had already spread (mainly to his lungs) by the time it was diagnosed. 

My husbands oncologist told us doctors are in agreement that immunotherapy can possibly prevent brain mets from forming, but radiation is the best treatment protocol once a brain met has been discovered.   His doctor explained to us there is something called the "brain barrier" which protects the brain from infection and viruses.  Because of this there is not enough blood flow into the brain to make immunotherapy as effective for treating brain cancer as it is for treating the rest of the body. 

Hopefully, you'll never get a brain met diagnosis,  but if you do this type of precise radiation makes it much more treatable than years ago.

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