Sarah B. Goldberg, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center, discusses treatment strategies for patients with non–small cell lung cancer that develop central nervous system metastases.
Sarah B. Goldberg, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center, discusses treatment strategies for patients with non—small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who develop central nervous system (CNS) metastases.
Osimertinib (Tagrisso), the standard frontline therapy for patients with EGFR-positive NSCLC, is a very good CNS penetrant, with patients demonstrating high response rates and disease control in the brain and body, Goldberg says. In these cases, Goldberg says she would hold off on giving brain radiation, especially if patients are asymptomatic and their lesions are small and are in areas that are not particularly concerning. Instead, she would treat these patients with an EGFR TKI alone.
When there is progression in the brain alone and the body is still controlled, Goldberg says she would consider the use of radiation with the continuation of treatment on an EGFR inhibitor. This strategy is based largely on data from early retrospective studies examining earlier generations of targeted therapies, but she feels it’s a very reasonable approach.
In the case of ALK-positive patients, there are several available targeted therapies, and even if a patient progresses on 1 of these drugs, a different, next-generation ALK inhibitor could still effectively control CNS metastases, she adds.