Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of colon and lung cancer. Most cases of adenocarcinoma found in the brain are the result of metastasis from a distant site. A very rare form of adenocarcinoma, called adenoid cystic carcinoma, may start in the sinonasal mucosa and invade the skull base. Symptoms of adenocarcinoma in the brain depend on where the tumor is located, and may include headaches and seizures.
Several minimally invasive treatments are available at UPMC, offering benefits such as minimal scarring, fewer side effects and complications, and faster recovery. These include the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA) to reach tumors at the base of the skull and upper spine, and Neuroendoport® Surgery to reach tumors within the substance of the brain (the parenchyma) or within the fluid spaces of the brain (the ventricles). If complementary treatments, such as radiation therapy, are needed, those therapies can begin soon after EEA surgery.
Adenocarcinoma in the brain or skull base can be identified by imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans.
Your physician also will ask you about your symptoms. These may include:
- nausea or vomiting
- weakness or loss of sensation in the arms and/or legs
- speech, vision, or memory problems
- personality changes
Various methods may be used to treat adenocarcinomas in the brain and skull base. These treatments may be used together or individually.
Adenocarcinoma of the skull base may be approached directly by using the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA). This approach allows surgeons to see the tumor well without making incisions to the face or skull. The tumor is removed through the nose and nasal cavities, and recovery time is faster than with the traditional approach.
Neuroendoport® Surgery offers a minimally invasive option for deep-seated tumors within the substance of the brain or within the ventricles (fluid spaces). A narrow tube or port allows doctors to access tumors such as gliomas or brain metastases through a tiny incision in the skull, in contrast to conventional brain surgery.
At UPMC, we take a 360° Approach to treatment when evaluating each patient—looking at their conditions from every direction—to find the path that is least disruptive to the patient's brain, critical nerves, and ability to return to normal functioning. Our neurosurgical team may recommend a combination of surgical and non-surgical approaches to maximize the benefits of surgery while minimizing risks.
Treatments also may include chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Patients who received surgery with the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach may be able to begin chemotherapy or radiation therapy soon after surgery. In selected cases, chemotherapy and/or radiation may be performed before the surgical procedure.