Toward determining the lifetime occurrence of metastatic brain tumors estimated from 2007 United States cancer incidence data

Faith G. Davis, Therese A. Dolecek, Bridget J. McCarthy, John L. Villano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Few population estimates of brain metastasis in the United States are available, prompting this study. Our objective was to estimate the expected number of metastatic brain tumors that would subsequently develop among incident cancer cases for 1 diagnosis year in the United States. Incidence proportions for primary cancer sites known to develop brain metastasis were applied to United States cancer incidence data for 2007 that were retrieved from accessible data sets through Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Wonder) and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program Web sites. Incidence proportions were identified for cancer sites, reflecting 80% of all cancers. It was conservatively estimated that almost 70 000 new brain metastases would occur over the remaining lifetime of individuals who received a diagnosis in 2007 of primary invasive cancer in the United States. That is, 6% of newly diagnosed cases of cancer during 2007 would be expected to develop brain metastasis as a progression of their original cancer diagnosis; the most frequent sites for metastases being lung and bronchus and breast cancers. The estimated numbers of brain metastasis will be expected to be higher among white individuals, female individuals, and older age groups. Changing patterns in the occurrence of primary cancers, trends in populations at risk, effectiveness of treatments on survival, and access to those treatments will influence the extent of brain tumor metastasis at the population level. These findings provide insight on the patterns of brain tumor metastasis and the future burden of this condition in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171-1177
Number of pages7
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Cancer incidence
  • Cancer surveillance
  • Metastatic brain tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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