Lifetime Risk for Brain Mets Up in Elderly With Three Common Cancers

Highest incidence seen for patients with non-small cell lung cancer and triple-negative breast cancer

FRIDAY, May 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients with lung cancer, breast cancer, or melanoma are at increased risk for brain metastases (BMs) later in life, according to a study published online May 3 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Mustafa S. Ascha, from the Case Western University School of Medicine in Cleveland, and colleagues examined the incidence of BM diagnosed during primary cancer staging workup (synchronous BM [SBM]) versus lifetime BM (LBM) identified using Medicare claims for patients aged ≥65 years diagnosed with lung cancer, breast cancer, or melanoma. The authors present and compare incidence proportions (IPs) and age-adjusted rates for the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results SBM and Medicare LBM.

The researchers found that in lung, breast, and melanoma cancers, the SBM IPs were 9.6, 0.3, and 1.1 percent, respectively, and corresponding LBM IPs were 13.5, 1.8, and 3.6 percent. Among patients with lung and breast cancer, the greatest SBM IP was 13.4 percent for non-small cell lung cancer and 0.7 percent for triple-negative breast cancer. The corresponding LBM IPs were 23.1 percent in small cell lung cancer and 4.2 percent for triple-negative breast cancer.

"As people are living longer after an initial cancer diagnosis, their 'time at risk' for metastasis is going up," Ascha said in a statement. "In addition, the majority of primary cancer diagnoses have no standard of care for brain metastasis screening."

One author disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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