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Whole Brain Radiation Increases Risk of Learning and Memory Problems in Cancer Patients with Brain Metastases

Posted Sep 28 2008 3:06pm

Nearly half of patients experience impaired neurocognitive function, prompts possible change to standard practice

Cancer patients who receive stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) for the treatment of metastatic brain tumors have more than twice the risk of developing learning and memory problems than those treated with SRS alone, according to new research from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The findings of the phase III randomized trial were presented at today’s 50th annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Led by Eric L. Chang, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at M. D. Anderson, the study offers greater context to the ongoing debate among oncologists about how best to manage the treatment of cancer patients with one to three brain metastases.

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