An Overview of the Therapeutic Strategies for Neoplastic Meningitis due to Breast Cancer: When and Why?


Introduction: Neoplastic meningitis (NM), also known as leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, is characterized by the infiltration of tumor cells into the meninges, and poses a significant therapeutic challenge owing to its aggressive nature and limited treatment options. Breast cancer is a common cause of NM among solid tumors, further highlighting the urgent need to explore effective therapeutic strategies. This review aims to provide insights into the evolving landscape of NM therapy in breast cancer by collating existing research, evaluating current treatments, and identifying potential emerging therapeutic options.

Areas covered: This review explores the clinical features, therapeutic strategies, recent advances, and challenges of managing NM in patients with breast cancer. Its management includes multimodal strategies, including systemic and intrathecal chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and supportive care. This review also emphasizes targeted drug options and optimal drug concentrations, and discusses emerging therapies. Additionally, it highlights the variability in treatment outcomes and the potential of combination regimens to effectively manage NM in breast cancer.

Expert opinion: Challenges in treating NM include debates over clinical trial end points and the management of adverse effects. Drug resistance and low response rates are significant hurdles, particularly inHER2-negative breast cancer. The development of more precise and cost-effective medications with improved selectivity is crucial. Additionally, global efforts are needed for infrastructure development and cancer control considering the diverse nature of the disease.

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