Our surgeons are among the most experienced in the world in treating an array of neurosurgical conditions.
Read about our surgical team >
Brain metastases, also called metastatic brain tumors or secondary brain tumors, originate from cancer cells in another part of the body that have spread to the brain from such regions as the lungs or breasts.
Metastatic brain tumors may appear anywhere in the brain, but are most commonly found at the junction of gray matter and white matter.
Treatments for brain metastases vary, depending on the type and location.
The neurosurgical team at UPMC may recommend a combination of surgical and non-surgical approaches for treating brain metastases:
To diagnose brain metastases, your doctor will:
Symptoms may vary, depending on the size and location of the tumor.
Common brain metastases symptoms may include:
In addition to a physical exam, your doctor may request imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans.
Treatments vary, depending on the type and location of your brain tumor.
The three standard treatments are:
Your doctor may recommend one or a combination of these treatments.
Whenever possible, surgeons will remove brain metastases. The type of surgical treatment depends on the size and location of the tumor.
Several minimally invasive surgical options allow UPMC surgeons to access brain metastases that previously were difficult or impossible to reach.
Metastatic tumors in the skull base or upper spine may be approached directly using the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA). This state-of-the-art, minimally invasive approach allows surgeons to access the tumor through the natural corridor of the nose, without making an open incision. Surgeons then remove the tumor through the nose and nasal cavities.
EEA offers the benefits of no incisions to heal, no disfigurement, and a faster recovery time. If you need complementary treatments, such as radiation, those therapies can begin soon after EEA surgery.
Neuroendoport® surgery offers a minimally invasive option for tumors within the ventricles (fluid spaces) or deep-seated tumors within the substance of the brain. A narrow tube or port allows surgeons to access these tumors through a tiny incision in the scalp, in contrast to traditional brain surgery.
Radiation is a common treatment for brain metastases, since surgery isn't always an option.
We deliver radiation therapy:
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a painless procedure that uses hundreds of highly focused radiation beams to target tumors and lesions within the brain, with no surgical incision.
As the nation's leading provider of Gamma Knife procedures, UPMC has treated more than 12,000 patients with tumors, vascular malformations, pain, and other functional problems.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells.
Depending on the type and stage of brain cancer, chemotherapy may be taken by mouth, injected, or placed directly into the brain tumor.
How can we help you?
Schedule anappointment >
Ask a question >
Request our expertopinion >
1-877-986-9862(within the U.S.)
Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by
A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.
For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.
UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.
Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.
For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com