UCSF improves outcomes of brain tumors through aggressive surgery


SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – The Journal of Clinical Oncology recently published the results of a study done at UCSF, indicating patient outcomes are better when aggressive surgical intervention is performed on brain tumors.

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Historically, a more common approach for surgeons was to be very conservative when removing brain tumors. However, Dr. Mitch Berger, a Neurosurgeon, Professor of Neurosciences and Director of the Brain Tumor Center at UCSF, found that maximal surgical intervention can minimize recurrence of tumors, causing patients to live longer.

"It turned out, for decades, we were not making progress, unfortunately, and so I think it got to the point where we were trying to determine whether or not we were going to be more aggressive with surgery," Berger told KCBS Radio's As Prescribed.

Even after surgery, some brain tumors can leave behind tumor cells that can cause tumors to regrow. UCSF researchers discovered that at least 75% of a tumor needs to be resected to improve long-term outcomes. Berger's aggressive surgical technique was then validated by two external studies of 365 patients.

"It's absolutely changed the whole pattern of survival," Berger said. "It's significantly changed the outcome of patients with brain tumors and I think equally important, we're able to achieve that milestone with safety."

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