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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2012, Article ID 723541, 16 pages
Review Article

The Molecular Biology of Brain Metastasis

1The Burkhardt Brain Tumor & Neuro-Oncology Center, Cleveland Clinic, Desk S-7, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA
2Department of Neurosurgery, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA
3Division of Neurosciences, Department of Neurosurgery, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA 17822, USA

Received 20 October 2011; Accepted 25 November 2011

Academic Editor: Sushant Kachhap

Copyright © 2012 Gazanfar Rahmathulla et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Metastasis to the central nervous system (CNS) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with systemic cancers. Various crucial interactions between the brain environment and tumor cells take place during the development of the cancer at its new location. The rapid expansion in molecular biology and genetics has advanced our knowledge of the underlying mechanisms involved, from invasion to final colonization of new organ tissues. Understanding the various events occurring at each stage should enable targeted drug delivery and individualized treatments for patients, with better outcomes and fewer side effects. This paper summarizes the principal molecular and genetic mechanisms that underlie the development of brain metastasis (BrM).