February 1st 2008
Despite the high prevalence of brain metastases in patients with metastatic lung cancer, these patients have been excluded from enrollment in clinical trials of new therapeutic drugs. The reasons for exclusion have centered on concerns that the blood-brain barrier may impede drug delivery into brain metastases, that brain metastases confer a dismal survival for metastatic lung cancer patients, and that brain metastases carry risk for cerebrovascular hemorrhage. A focused, updated review of these issues, however, clearly shows that these particular concerns are unwarranted. An extensive review of clinical trials on the efficacy of chemotheraputic agents against lung cancer brain metastases is also provided. This collective information describes an area in need of therapeutic development and supports an initiative to evaluate novel targeted therapies for lung cancer brain metastases.