AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 3, 2018

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New radiotherapy treatment for brain cancer offers superior preservation of cognitive function, Mayo researchers say

When it comes to radiation therapy to treat brain cancer, hippocampal-avoidance whole-brain radiotherapy in conjunction with the drug memantine better preserved patients’ cognitive function and demonstrated similar cancer control outcomes, compared to traditional whole-brain radiotherapy with memantine.

“The hippocampus is a part of the brain associated with the limbic system and cognitive functions including memory,” says says Paul Brown, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Mayo Clinic and senior author of the study. “Based on decades of translational studies, we know that even relatively modest doses of radiation to the hippocampi region of the brain contributes to cognitive problems for patients, such as memory loss.” Dr. Brown says hippocampal-avoidance whole-brain radiotherapy was developed to help patients with brain cancer avoid cognitive damage during whole-brain radiation therapy.

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