Chemotherapy and Other Systemic Therapies for Brain Tumors


Chemotherapy uses medications to destroy cancer cells in your body. They work by stopping the cells’ ability to grow and divide. Chemotherapy can improve how well other treatments work when both treatments are used together.

Your care team may recommend one or a combination of chemotherapy medications to treat your tumor. Temozolomide is the medication most often used for brain tumors.

Chemotherapy is given in cycles. You are treated for a period of time and then you have time to rest. Chemotherapy can be given on a single day, a few days in a row or continuously for a set amount of time. Your treatment cycle may repeat every week or month.

Other systemically delivered therapies, administered orally or intravenously, may be used. These include immunotherapies which attempt to harness the immune system to treat tumors or targeted therapies which go after specific molecular abnormalities within the tumor cells. The decisions regarding which approach to use is developed with your neuro-oncologist.