by Carson-DeWitt R

Other Treatments for Brain Tumors

Although surgery is usually the chosen treatment for brain tumors , there are times when the brain tumor cannot be operated on or surgery cannot completely remove all of the tumor.
When surgery is not a choice or when surgery cannot remove all of the tumor, other treatment options must be considered. Chemotherapy and radiation may be used to shrink and potentially cure the tumor. Or, these treatments may be used to prolong survival and decrease the severity of symptoms caused by the brain tumor.
Other treatments may also be used for brain tumors. These are often chosen based on the type of brain tumor. They may be used alone or in combination with traditional chemotherapy and/or radiation.
These other types of treatment include:
  • Targeted therapy
  • Immunotherapy

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy uses different biological pathways to interfere with the ability of cancer cells to grow, divide, and/or spread.
Examples of these types of treatments include:
  • Enzyme inhibitors—interfere with the cancer cells’ ability to grow and divide
  • Apoptosis inducers—target cancer cells to cause their death
  • Angiogenesis inhibitors—interfere with the cancer cells’ ability to create new blood vessels, which they need in order to continue growing
    • There are a number of anti-angiogenic agents being used. They include antibodies against the factors secreted by cells to promote new blood vessel growth, such as bevacizumab (Avastin).

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapies are treatments that improve the cancer-fighting ability of the immune system or administer immune cells in order to fight cancer. These treatments include:
  • Monoclonal antibodies—Large quantities of lab-produced antibodies are given to the patient. These antibodies interfere with basic cell processes and stop the cancer cells from growing, dividing, and interacting with other cancer cells. The antibodies' role is limited by their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier or blood-tumor barrier.
  • Cancer vaccines—Pieces of cancer cells or proteins modeled from cancer cells are given to the patient. This is done to activate the patient’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
  • Gene therapy—Gene therapy may attempt to change the patient’s own genes to make them more successful at battling cancer cells. Or, this form of therapy may change the cancer cells' genes to make the cancer more vulnerable to destruction by other forms of treatment.
  • Cytokines—These immune system substances may boost the effectiveness of other types of treatments, decrease treatment side effects, and improve the immune system’s ability to fight against cancer.

References

Brain tumor treatments. American Brain Tumor Association website. Available at: http://www.abta.org/care-treatment/treatments. Accessed June 4, 2013.

Lukas RV, Boire A, et al. Targeted therapy in the treatment of malignant gliomas. OncoTargets and Therapy. 2009;2:1-19.

Treatment information. National Brain Tumor Society website. Available at: http://www.braintumor.org/TreatmentInformation. Accessed June 4, 2013.

Understanding brain tumors. International Radiosurgery Support Association website. Available at: http://www.irsa.org/brain%5Ftumors.html. Accessed June 4, 2013.

Revision Information

Health Library Search

Only show results from the selected categories.











1 Treatments for Brain Tumors condition indepth
4 Symptoms of Brain Tumors condition indepth
6 Screening for Brain Tumors condition indepth
12 Medicines for Brain Tumors condition indepth
15 Diagnosis of Brain Tumors condition indepth
16 Astrocytoma condition

Astrocytoma is type of cancerous brain tumor. This type of tumor begins from small, star-shaped cells in the brain called astrocytes. Astrocytes are one of several types ...

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common glioma—a type of brain cancer. This cancer starts in the glial cells, which are cells that help nerve cells work. This c...

18 Meningioma condition

The meninges are a protective lining around the brain and spinal cord. A meningioma is a tumor of these linings. Most meningiomas do not cause symptoms. But, if the menin...

A brain tumor is a disease in which cells grow uncontrollably in the brain. Eventually these cells form a mass of tissue called a tumor. If the tumor invades nearby tissu...