Prophylactic cranial irradiation: recent outcomes and innovations

James W. Snider, Vinai Gondi, Paul D. Brown, Wolfgang Tome, Minesh P. Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Brain metastases represent a frequent problem in several malignancies. They can shorten survival while causing significant morbidity and impairment in the patient's quality of life. Prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) has become an integral part of the standard of care in small cell lung cancer (SCLC), yet its role in other malignancies remains the subject of significant discussion. Its role has been extensively investigated in non-small cell lung cancer and less so for breast cancer and other malignancies. Improvements in medical care as well as in whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) techniques may improve the risk-benefit ratio of this therapy so as to expand its role in cancer care. The use of memantine in WBRT patients as well as the use of hippocampal avoidance techniques are of particular interest in this effort. Herein, we review the history of PCI, its current use, and areas of investigation in the application of PCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-230
Number of pages12
JournalCNS oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • brain metastasis
  • non-small-cell lung cancer
  • prophylactic cranial irradiation
  • small cell lung cancer
  • whole brain radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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