About 200,000 cases of brain cancer emerge each year in the US. Among them, 10% to 30% suffer from the metastatic disease where cancer spreads. Hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for long-term memory storage in humans.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic presented that traditionally memantine was used in radiotherapy to treat brain cancer. But now hippocampal-avoidance whole-brain radiotherapy combined with memantine is used which preserved cognitive functions much better. According to Dr. Brown, in case of whole-brain radiotherapy patients can face a memory loss because of affected hippocampus so this combined treatment could create a difference.
To understand the difference hippocampal-avoidance whole-brain radiotherapy and the traditional whole-brain radiotherapy were compared by Dr. Brown and his colleagues. For this 518 patients with an average age of 61.5 years were subjected to two study arms where those arms had same baseline traits.
The research was performed from 2016 to 2018. Results were that patients with hippocampal-avoidance whole-brain radiotherapy survived better with preserved memory. On the other hand, those with received standard whole-brain radiotherapy suffered a loss of cognitive functions of the hippocampus. And this was irrespective to the age of patients.
Dr. Brown is very hopeful for this research and can see the treatment progressing in further years. This is among those clinical trials of Radiation Oncology that started from laboratory and proved its efficacy in phase II and phase III trials. New findings related to this would soon be presented at the Society of Neuro-Oncology annual meeting which would be held in New Orleans.