Meet Dr. Lucien Nedzi
Technology has dramatically changed treatment methods – and survival odds – for patients with metastatic brain cancer, according to Lucien Nedzi, M.D., Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and a specialist in treating central nervous system (CNS) cancers.
My whole career has focused on advancing the practice of stereotactic radiation therapy so we can eliminate whole-brain radiation for a majority of patients with brain metastases.
“When I first began my practice, most people with metastatic brain cancer were treated with whole-brain radiation,” Dr. Nedzi says. “After years of follow-up with these patients, I have seen the downside of whole-brain treatment, such as chronic fatigue and memory problems.
“Fortunately, we have increasingly better treatment methods, and today we can treat multiple brain lesions very efficiently using the latest Gamma Knife technology. Radiosurgery that was once limited to a handful of sites can now be offered to patients with as many as 10 lesions, thanks to more automated delivery and shaping of the radiation beam.”
The brain is the most common site for cancer to metastasize to from other organs, and metastatic cancer is itself far more common than “true” brain cancer (cancer that originates from within the tissues of the brain). Because patients are living longer with managed treatment of their primary tumors, dealing with brain metastases (known as brain “mets,” for short) can become an important part of ongoing disease management.
Stereotactic radiation, the principal on which Gamma Knife and some other treatments are based, uses multiple beams of radiation to converge from various angles on the target, delivering a deadly dose to the tumor while sparing normal tissue at the various entry points from the full effects of radiation. The stereotactic approach requires advanced imaging and targeting technology in order to accurately deliver the dose deep within the brain to a target that may be only a few centimeters wide.
“The noninvasive Gamma Knife treatment is more than 90 percent effective in the treatment of smaller mets and 70 to 80 percent effective for larger lesions,” Dr. Nedzi notes. “I can be very optimistic with my patients – and they are often very excited and relieved when they learn about our options to whole-brain radiation.”
In addition to his focus on brain mets, Dr. Nedzi also uses stereotactic radiation to treat base of skull tumors such as acoustic neuroma and glomas tumors, and he is experienced in using CyberKnife as a boost to increase the efficacy of some treatments.
Dr. Nedzi’s clinical interests include:
- Brain cancer and metastases
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
- Stereotactic radiation therapy