Metastatic brain tumor

Alternative Names

Brain tumor – metastatic (secondary); Cancer – brain tumor (metastatic)

Definition of Metastatic brain tumor

A metastatic is cancer that started in another part of the body and spread to the brain.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Many tumor or cancer types can spread to the brain, the most common being lung cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, certain sarcomas, and testicular and germ cell tumors. Some types of cancers only spread to the brain infrequently, such as colon cancer, or very rarely, such as prostate cancer.

Signs and tests

An examination reveals neurologic changes that are specific to the location of the tumor. Signs of increased pressure within the skull are also common. Some tumors may not show symptoms until they are very large. Then, they suddenly cause rapid decline in the person’s neurologic functioning.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the size and type of the tumor, the initial site of the tumor, and the general health of the person. The goals of treatment may be relief of symptoms, improved functioning, or comfort.

Expectations (prognosis)

In general, the probable outcome is fairly poor. For many people with metastatic brain tumors, the cancer spreads to other areas of the body. Death often occurs within 2 years.

Review

David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. – 3/2/2010

Brain

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

Article written by

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability.