Central Nervous System (CNS) Cancers

At Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, we see hundreds of new primary and metastatic cancers to the brain and spine every year, and many of these patients receive radiation therapy as either primary or adjuvant therapy after surgical resection. Our CNS service is dedicated to the clinical care of our CNS patients, and in improving treatment and minimizing side effects.

Cancer in the brain or spine can be extremely challenging and patients benefit from a comprehensive clinical approach, and so we present all cancers to our weekly multidisciplinary tumor board. We also have a neuropathology tumor board twice a month. The CNS Neuro-oncology Tumor Board, led by Dr. PK Agrawalla is composed of a panel of different types of physicians. Experts in neurosurgery and reconstruction, radiation oncology, medical oncology, neuro-radiology, pathology, and neurology, discuss each patient in order to come up with the best diagnostic and treatment plans. CNS cancers can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy or a combination thereof. Patients can be assured that all avenues of treatment options were discussed during this board meeting in order to provide them with the best care.

In the radiation oncology department, we are concerned with patients’ quality of life, as well as treating the cancer. We treat routinely with IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy) to spare normal tissues as much as possible, minimizing dose to critical structures like the optic nerves and brainstem.