Epidemiology of Central Nervous System Metastases

  • Linda DirvenEmail author
  • Martin J. B. Taphoorn


The central nervous system (CNS) is a common site of metastatic spread of systemic cancer and continues to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Although brain metastases are the most common brain tumors, the exact incidence or prevalence is unavailable, and estimates vary considerably. Cancers most likely to metastasize to the brain are lung, breast, melanoma, renal, and colorectal cancers. The incidence of brain metastases varies widely between these cancers, as well as the number of brain metastases, their spatial distribution, and the order in which they occur (i.e., synchronously or metachronously). Factors such as the primary tumor, their genetic profile, and patient- and tumor-related characteristics contribute to the incidence of brain metastases. Understanding these patterns may guide clinicians in counselling individual patients in daily clinical practice, as prognosis of the underlying disease is a critical factor in treatment decision-making.


Central nervous system metastases Brain metastases Incidence Cancer Epidemiology 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyLeiden University Medical CenterLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyHaaglanden Medical CenterThe HagueThe Netherlands

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