Neuro-Oncology: Brain & Spine Tumor Program

Julian Smith and Dr. David Cachia

Our MUSC Health Brain & Spine Tumor Program at Hollings Cancer Center offers you the highest level of neuro-oncology care through an experienced team with state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge technology and breakthrough laboratory research. Over the years, the Brain & Spine Tumor Program has expanded the types of tumors treated through advances in medical and surgical therapies and a broadened array of clinical trials. As a result, patients throughout the Southeast have access to extraordinary neuro-oncology services close to home.

Diagnosis & Treatment 

Gamma Knife Center

Our commitment to ensuring you get the best possible care means we work hard to lead the field when it comes to having the latest technology. We have one of only two Leksell Gamma Knife ® Perfexions™ in the state. They’re considered the gold standard for non-invasive management of benign and malignant brain tumors, vascular malformations, and other abnormalities of the head and neck. Using this radiosurgery technology, tumors that might be difficult or impossible to manage with other techniques can often be treated safely and quickly. Open-skull incisions are unnecessary and the sub-millimeter accuracy of the Gamma Knife minimizes dose exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.

Skull Base Surgery Program

People with skull base disorders face special challenges because this area is so complex. We are ready to treat your complex lesions, with experts in neurological surgery, head and neck surgery, orbital surgery, and plastic surgery, using the latest microsurgical techniques. The level of collaboration between ENT (rhinologists and head and neck surgeons) and neurosurgery is the highest in the state.

Advanced Imaging Technologies

The Brain & Spine Tumor Program utilizes the latest MRI scanners with dedicated imaging protocols for evaluation of brain tumors, including:

  • MR Perfusion - evaluation of blood vessels and blood supply to brain tumors, also used to distinguish tumor from treatment effects.
  • MR Spectroscopy - chemical analysis of brain tissue to determine tumor type and distinguish tumor from treatment effects.
  • Functional MRI (fMRI) - maps brain activity for treatment planning.
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) - shows white matter tracts important for preoperative planning.
  • Nuclear Medicine Imaging Techniques - FDG-PET/CT scans used to analyze metabolic activity in tumors to determine tumor type, margins and response to treatment, and Fusion (coregistration) of PET/CT and MR images to more precisely establish tumor extension and treatment effects.
  • Imaging Innovations - image-guided systems for minimally invasive procedures using both MRI and CT imaging to locate and remove tumors as well as portable CT scanners for immediate results.
illustration of a brain with a tumor in the front part


Glioblastoma is an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord. We treat glioblastoma with the latest medical and surgical therapies and a variety of clinical trials.

Glioblastoma Treatment

Pediatric Brain Tumor Program

We know that children with brain cancer need more than smart doctors. They need a medical team that sees them as the amazing individuals they are. Whether the child’s cancer is benign or malignant, our specialists work with children and families to ensure our expertise in pediatric neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, neuroradiology, and radiation oncology gives the child the best care possible. We offer highly advanced diagnostic and imaging technology, dedicated lab facilities, and a collaborative approach to planning. We also offer unique therapeutic options ranging from minimally invasive neurosurgery to cutting-edge medical protocols.

Pituitary Tumor Program

Comprehensive pituitary disorder care has been a specialty at MUSC since the early 1990s, with more than 1,500 patients treated. Your pituitary tumors will be treated by a multi-disciplinary team of neurosurgeons, ophthalmologists, endocrinologists, oncologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists and ENT surgeons. You may also be a candidate for advanced, minimally invasive surgical procedures performed in our state-of-the-art operating room, which has both microscopic and endoscopic surgical capabilities and a dedicated neurosurgical staff.

Video EEG monitoring

This diagnostic technique is used to monitor a patient’s seizure activities.

Dedicated Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit

The seven-bed neuroscience intensive care unit is dedicated to patients with critical neurologic problems. This unit is staffed by dedicated neurointensivists.

Our Brain & Spine Cancer care team works together to deliver cutting-edge treatments that are tailored to your needs.