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Published on May 31, 2019

Cone Health Studies Recurrence of Brain Cancer

Cone Health partnered with health care heavy hitters in the esoteric research.


Cone Health Cancer Center joined a group of highly prestigious organizations in research about a rare cancer complication known as leptomeningeal disease. Since it is a rare situation, several institutions pooled their data to look for meaningful answers.

Cone Health Cancer Center joined Stanford University, University of Alabama Birmingham, Emory University, Mayo Clinic, Beaumont Health and Levine Cancer Institute in looking at the condition. Their findings were published in the premier brain tumor journal “Neuro-Oncology.”

The study included patients with leptomeningeal disease after previous surgery plus stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). SRS allows doctors to treat small areas of the brain to avoid side effects. When leptomeningeal disease occurred, some patients were treated with SRS again or whole brain radiotherapy. Whole brain radiotherapy blankets the entire brain in radiation. 

The study compared the use of stereotactic radiosurgery SRS against whole brain radiotherapy following brain cancer surgery. “Cone Health has been an early adopter of highly precise preoperative stereotactic radiosurgery in conjunction with surgery in treating cancer,” says Matt Manning, MD, interim chief of oncology for Cone Health, who along with Jody Stern, MD, was involved in the study. “We believe SRS provides a better quality of life and fewer side effects for patients with its more focused approach.”

The study found that using more focused radiation in select patients is a reasonable alternative to bathing the entire brain in radiation in treating widespread cancer.

Leptomeningeal disease is when cancer spreads into the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It happens in about 5% of people with cancer and is usually terminal. Through this collaborative research, Cone Health is shedding light on new strategies and better outcomes.

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