Breast cancer can spread to the brain, called brain metastasis. However, breast cancer can also spread to the layers of tissue that line and protect the brain, which are called the leptomeninges. Leptomeningeal disease (LD) has some important differences from brain metastases that affect its treatment. Researchers continue to study ways to treat and manage LD in clinical trials.
Click the links below to learn about the leptomeninges, how cancer spreading to leptomeninges is different from spreading to the brain, and research efforts to treat LD.
Introduction to the Leptomeninges
- Plus Therapeutics: Breast cancer can spread to the leptomeninges, which line and protect the brain and spinal cord
- MBCBrainMets.org: When breast cancer spreads to the leptomeninges, the cancer cells float in the cerebrospinal fluid, which is liquid that circulates around and protects the brain and spinal cord
How Cancer Spreading to the Leptomeninges is Different From Spreading to the Brain
- Cleveland Clinic: In leptomeningeal disease, the cancer cells are near the brain but not in the brain tissue itself (scroll to “What is the difference between brain metastases and leptomeningeal disease?”)
Research for Leptomeningeal Disease
- OncLive: Treatments being studied for treating LD include trastuzumab given directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (called “intrathecal” administration) and a form of paclitaxel that can penetrate into the brain (scroll to “Leptomeningeal Disease”)
- Moffitt Cancer Center: Another treatment being studied is intrathecal delivery (directly into the cerebrospinal fluid) of a personalized vaccine
MBC Clinical Trials
- Metastatic Trial Search: Trials specifically for people with leptomeningeal disease
- Metastatic Trial Search: Trials enrolling people with leptomeningeal disease
Last Modified on January 31, 2024