EORTC Launches Brain Metastasis Platform

“This article also appeared in the 2013 edition of the IBTA’s Brain Tumour magazine (see www.theibta.org ).”

EORTC Brain Metastasis Platform. Participants at the first meeting, Jan 18 2013 in Brussels. From left and backrow: Vassilis Golfinopoulos (Vice Medical Director and Research Physician Brain Tumor Group (BTG), EORTC), Wolfgang Wick (Chair, BMP and BTG), Martin Bendszus (Imaging and Brain Tumor Group), Matthias Preusser (Vice-Chair, BMP), Jaap Reijneveld (BTG and Quality of Life Unit), Martin Klein (BTG), Michal Jarzab (Breast Tumor Group), Philippe Metellus (BTG), Damien Weber (BTG and Radiotherapy Oncology Group), Laurence Collette (Associate Head EORTC Biostatistics), Lotte Moser (Radiotherapy Oncology Group, Breast Cancer Group), Dieta Brandsma (BTG), Martin van den Bent (BTG, Chair Translational Research Division), Jörg-Christian Tonn (BTG), Sandrine Marreaud (EORTC Coordinator BMP), Anne-Sophie Govaerts (EORTC Project Development). Via Webex or early departure: Sanjay Popat (Lung Cancer Group), Frédéric Dhermain (BTG), Mary O’Brian (Lung Cancer Group).

Over the past three decades, treatment of several solid tumor entities and systemic disease outside the central nervous system has markedly improved. However, control of central nervous system metastases, mainly brain, remains challenging. Despite multimodal treatments, development of brain metastases occurs not just in patients who already have distant spread at diagnosis, but also in cancers that may be treated with a curative intent. The occurrence of brain metastases, then, often determines the prognosis and the quality of life of affected patients. Given this background, new strategies need to be explored to not only combat, but also to prevent, brain metastases. These strategies must take into account the biological differences of different tumor types, the specifics of a tumor in an individual patient, the existing therapies, as well as health-related quality of life and issues related to neurocognitive functioning. The common challenges faced across all tumor types are the central role of brain functions, the existence of a blood-brain–barrier at least for micro-metastases, the immune privilege of the brain, as well as the specific vulnerability, specifically of the white matter of the brain, to any form of toxic interventions.

In order to optimally develop and conduct projects focusing on brain metastases, the EORTC launched the development of a Brain Metastasis Platform in August 2012. This research platform brings together the multidisciplinary approach needed to develop brain metastases projects across several tumor types such as lung, breast and melanoma. It is expected that this cross-sectional platform stimulates innovative and insightful research in a collaborative environment in order to improve the standard of care and methodology of clinical research. The platform aims to generate academic projects with basic, translational and outcome research as well as clinical trials involving specialists in organ tumors, brain tumors, radiotherapy, imaging and pathobiology.

Structured interaction with industrial partners will be set up to foster development and place emphasis on this particular area of need.

Sandrine Marreaud, MD
Head of EORTC Medical Department

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