State of the art of chemotherapy for the treatment of central nervous system metastases from non-small cell lung cancer
Chemotherapy is the mainstay of treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) without molecular drivers. Despite a low penetration of central nervous system (CNS), chemotherapy drugs demonstrated encouraging activity against CNS metastases from NSCLC. Based on the available data, chemotherapy should be considered as an important part of the multidisciplinary treatment of CNS metastases. Particularly, platinum-based regimens represent the most active combinations and pemetrexed is associated with a meaningful clinical benefit for patients with non-squamous histology. How to integrate chemotherapy and radiotherapy for newly diagnosed brain metastases (BMs) is still debated. Although flawed by some limitations, the available evidence suggests a role for upfront chemotherapy for the treatment of NSCLC patients with synchronous, asymptomatic BMs, thus allowing a delay of radiotherapy. Despite the introduction of modern and more effective chemotherapy, however, the prognosis of NSCLC patients with CNS metastases remains poor, especially for those with progressive BMs or leptomeningeal carcinomatosis (LC).