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Multi-institution project examines cognitive effects of brain cancer treatments

Elana Farace, associate professor of public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine, and a team of researchers from eight other institutions recently published a paper examining the cognitive effects of different brain radiation treatments.

“Effect of Radiosurgery Alone vs Radiosurgery With Whole Brain Radiation Therapy on Cognitive Function in Patients With 1 to 3 Brain Metastases: A Randomized Clinical Trial” was published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA). The group’s findings were based on 11 years of data collection on treatments and outcomes for patients whose primary cancer had metastasized to the brain.

Farace notes the study changes the treatment paradigm for cancer patients whose primary cancer has metastasized to the brain; showing superiority of one form of brain radiation treatment (radiosurgery) that extends survival without loss to quality of life from neurocognitive decline over whole brain radiation, which does not extend survival but does cause neurocognitive decline. The work of this research team will help identify a treatment plan to improve quality of life for cancer patients.

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