Various methods are used to treat brain tumours: surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. These can be employed singly or combined. The choice of treatment is made by consultation between specialists from different disciplines (surgery, radiotherapy, oncology, neurology and pathological anatomy) and always makes allowances for the unique nature of each patient.
At Gustave Roussy, a personalised care plan (PPS) is handed to each patient. This document reviews the details and the process of treatment.
The initial treatment of brain tumours is surgical. If surgery can be considered, it aims to remove the largest possible amount of the tumour and to make a histological and cytological diagnosis. This surgery is carried out in other hospital centres (Sainte-Anne CH, Kremlin-Bicêtre CHU, Pitié-Salpêtrière CHU), as part of a coordinated care pathway. Gustave Roussy and the Sainte-Anne Hospital Centre in particular have established a framework agreement which formalises their medical and scientific collaboration. This facilitates comprehensive treatment of their patients.
Radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy may be employed to complement the surgery. The objective of these therapies is to eliminate the tumour cells which are still present and to limit the risk of recurrence.
Radiotherapy is now very precise: this means that it can target the zones which require irradiation while sparing healthy tissue. At Gustave Roussy, every patient receiving a course of radiotherapy is advised to have a weekly outpatient appointment with a doctor. This follow-up visit allows a dialogue with the patient, the assessment of toxicity and possible adjustment of the treatment. New functional imaging techniques can be used to predict responsiveness of the tumour to radiotherapy and to assess the response after radiotherapy and thus personalise the treatment more effectively.
Chemotherapy involves the use of various drugs, employed singly or in combination. Some new agents, known as targeted therapy, are being evaluated in clinical trials at Gustave Roussy. By targeting specific characteristics of each tumour, they aim to improve the efficacy of treatment while reducing its toxicity.