We have two clinical trials underway to treat breast cancer with tumor cell spread metastasis to the brain and/or meninges: DEBBRAH and PHENOMENAL. Currently there is no authorized treatment for this type of metastasis once local therapies through radiosurgery and/or radiotherapy cease to be effective. Both studies, which are currently in the patient recruitment phase will be carried out in various hospitals and reference centers in Spain, the Institut Català d’Oncologia, the Institut Valencià d’Oncologia or the Ramón y Cajal de Madrid.
After lung cancer, breast cancer is the most common cause of developing brain metastases. It is estimated that between 10 and 16% of patients with metastatic breast cancer develop metastases in the brain or meninges - a percentage that rises to 30% if autopsy data is included, since it is common for these metastases not to be detected correctly during patient treatment .
The standard treatments for breast cancer with brain metastases are radiosurgery and radiation therapy. When these local treatments fail to slow the progression of metastasis, there is no defined standard therapy to treat these patients.
The use of systemic therapies such as chemotherapy or targeted therapies is limited in these cases, since most drugs are not able to cross the protective barrier between blood vessels and brain fluid, which prevents therapeutic agents to get to the place where they should perform.
Not only have few clinical trials been conducted for these patients with systemic therapies, but they are also frequently excluded from other breast cancer clinical trials precisely because of the presence of brain metastases. This limits the applicability of the results and obscures information on the potential benefit of new drugs. Therefore, it is essential to design specific clinical trials for patients with breast cancer and brain metastases.
The Spanish magazine Saber Vivir has echoed our two studies to disseminate this type of cancer among the general population. This is the link in case you are interested in reading the interview (in Spanish) and for any other doubt or question you can contact us!
________________________________________________________________________________________  Nancy U Lin, Jennifer R Bellon, Eric P Winer. CNS metastases in breast cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2004 Sep 1;22(17):3608-17.