BRAIN TUMOR, BRAIN CANCER: NEW HOPE?

Increasingly more precise surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy … If brain cancer remains disease with poor prognosis, the arsenal of therapeutic approaches to combat them is getting rich.

-Brain tumors: still dangerous
-Brain tumor: the revolution of surgery awake
-Brain tumor: towards targeted therapies

brain cancer

Brain tumors: still dangerous

Every year in France, more than 4,000 people learn they are carrying a tumor brain. According to the Institute of Health, the mortality rate associated with this type of injury would have begun a slight decline in recent years. However, brain tumors still result in the deaths of nearly 3,000 patients a year. Many current researches, however, give hope to see this number decrease.

Brain tumor: the revolution of surgery awake

Surgery is currently the standard treatment for brain tumors and techniques are constantly improving: neurosurgeons are working continuously to develop strategies and tools to optimize the effectiveness of interventions, while limiting their possible sequelae.

Thus, treatment of brain tumors and less aggressive (low grade gliomas) is undergoing a revolution with the development of surgery awake: by making a conscious patient, it is possible to verify that the intervention does not affect functions such as speech, vision or motor skills. Therefore, the surgeon can address areas that are near the tumor tissue and healthy brain and remove more tumor cells than before. While it is still unwise to talk about healing, it became possible to obtain very prolonged remissions with improved quality of life, with this technique.

Brain tumor: towards targeted therapies

For more aggressive tumors, the surgery is not sufficient. The tumor treatment brain is most often based on radiotherapy. But recently, the arrival of a new molecule chemotherapy has changed the management of the most dangerous tumors, glioblastomas: this molecule, temozolomide, seems to allow to double the life expectancy of two years a portion of patients with this type of injury.

And progresses of this order are just beginning. Half of recurrent glioblastoma seem to respond to bevacizumab, a molecule targeted therapy that works by starving tumors. Treatment effectiveness is often transient and modest in terms of life expectancy. But this result opens a gap: there are already plenty of molecules targeted therapies used to treat other cancers. We must encourage clinical trials to assess their uses in the treatment of brain tumors. This is another chance for patients and is the only way to discover new effective treatments.