Brain metastases are the most common malignancy encountered in the central nervous system (CNS), with up to 30-40% of cancer patients developing brain metastases at some point during the course of their disease. The management of brain metastasis is rapidly evolving and the roles of local therapies such as whole-brain radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, and resection along with systemic therapies are in flux. An emphasis on the neurocognitive side effects associated with treatment has gained prominence. Novel molecular studies have demonstrated important evolutionary patterns underpinning the development of brain metastasis and leptomeningeal disease, which may be key to unlocking new therapeutic strategies. This article provides a framework for incorporating the results of recent randomized radiotherapy clinical trials into practice, expounds upon the emphasis on cognition being an important driver in therapeutic selection, describes the importance of CNS-penetrating systemic therapies, and provides an overview of the novel molecular insights that will likely set the stage for future developments in this field.

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© 2018 Kotecha R et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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