newsletter

Summer 2015
Negative Impact Of Whole Brain Radiation Highlighted In New Cancer Study
Study Co-Authored By Dr. Anthony Asher Shifts Emphasis
To Focused Therapies For Brain Tumor Treatment




The results of a 10-year international clinical research study, initiated by two Charlotte physicians, will impact the care of tens of thousands of patients with the most common form of brain cancer. The study demonstrated that the use of whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) had significant negative impacts on the overall quality of life for patients with brain cancer and did not extend survival rates. The evidence from this study should serve as a catalyst to immediately reduce the use of WBRT for treatment of cerebral metastases and accelerate the
Anthony Asher, MD
development of novel, focused therapies for brain cancer patients.

The international research trial was conceived and developed by neurosurgeon Anthony Asher, MD, FACS, of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates and Stuart Burri, MD, of Southeast Radiation Oncology Group in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Asher was co-principal investigator of the international study, along with Dr. Paul Brown from MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The study represents the most comprehensive evaluation of neuro-cognitive and quality-of-life patient data of any similar trial worldwide. These study results were selected for presentation in June at the plenary session of the world's largest oncology conference, the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

"The results from this clinical study mark the end to the routine use of whole brain radiation for patients with one to three brain metastases, and will spark a renewed emphasis on focused therapies, like radiosurgery, for these conditions," said Dr. Asher. "It also highlights the importance of measuring cancer therapy outcomes other than survival, such as patients' quality of life, cognitive ability and functional capacity."

According to Dr. Asher, it is now recommended that most patients with one to three metastases be treated with radiosurgery alone with close monitoring. Drs. Asher and Burri continue to lead national efforts to develop new focused therapies for brain metastases, including unique combinations of surgery and radiosurgery.
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