NEuro-Oncology Program
  • The Neuro-Oncology Program is established with Naef K Basile Cancer Institute with a goal of improving survival and quality of life for patients with brain and CNS tumors.


  • Numerous oncology centers specialized in treating Brain and CNS tumors have established specialized programs that address special care, research development, and educational activities. Having a good number of patients presenting with CNS and Brain tumors to NKBCI from both Lebanon and the MENA region, made establishing a specialized program a necessity.


  • The Neuro-Oncology Program is planned to be a multidisciplinary, collaborative group dedicated to understanding and treating brain tumors and neurological problems associated with cancer.

  • In patient care, the neuro-oncology team employs a state-of-the-art approach to treat patients, in recognition of the particular needs of those who have cancers involving the neurological system.

  • In research, the program supports investigations into the cellular biology of brain cells and brain cancers, the role of imaging and cell

  • In education, the program hosts on annual basis the Middle East neuro-oncology conference that is affiliated with the most renewed universities in Brain tumors that are Heidelberg University and Dana Fabre Cancer Institute as well as Brigham Health.
Neuro-Oncology Patient Care

Multidisciplanary Neuro-oncology Tumor Board:

  • The Multidisciplinary tumor boards (MTBs) are used to achieve high-quality treatment recommendations for cancer patients.


  • The MTB gathers all patient caregivers be it the Adult Neuro-oncologists, Adult specialized Neurologists, Neurosurgeons, Radiation Neuro-oncologists, Neuro Diagnostics and Neuropathologists and allows best evidence-based discussion to create a comprehensive optimal treatment plan gathering the expertise of:


– Pathology and Laboratory Medicine:

– Diagnostic Imaging (specialized MRI, Neuro-diagnostic services)

– Neurology department

– Neuro- Surgery division

– Neuro- Oncology Care

– Radiation Therapy

Collaborative research
  • Putting Brain Cancers to the test is a majorly important factor that helps in learning more about Brain and CNS tumors and in delineating defects that can create opportunities for targeted therapies


  • At the Neuro-oncology Program, collaborative research with the Basic Science department led the way to a brain tumor translational research program that is developing research in:


– Brain Tumors

– CNS tumors

– Personalized treatment research program


  • Funding is crucial to continue developing research in the area of Brain and CNS tumors

The Neuro-Oncology program consists of a team of dedicated specialized and qualified physicians and healthcare professionals working collaboratively to satisfy patient needs and offer state-of-the-art medical and surgical services.

This medical teams includes:


  • Adult Neuro-oncologists


  • Specialized adult Neurologists


  • Neurosurgeons


  • Radiation Neuro-oncologists


  • Neuro Diagnostics


  • Neuro Pathologists


  • Palliative Care Team


  • Researchers
  • The Neuro-Oncology Program works in continuous collaboration with:

Heidelberg University and Dana Fabre Cancer Institute to continuously update its guidelines for treatment and to follow up on the latest innovative treatment for better outcomes.


  • The Neuro-Oncology Program is a member of these International societies:

– The Society for Neuro-Oncology: aims to advance multi-disciplinary brain tumor research, education, and collaboration to drive discovery and improve patient care

– The European Association for Neuro-Oncology: Europe’s multidisciplinary Neuro-Oncology organization representing all medical and scientific disciplines involved in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tumors of the central nervous system (CNS).

Why come to us?
  • The Neuro-Oncology Program ensures the timely and early comprehensive provision of treatment interventions, enhanced through frequent and regular screening of distress and close monitoring of well-being.
  • We strive to provide patients with a holistic collaborative treatment plan that is tailored to the unique needs and experience of the patient and family.
Patient education

1- Definition:

• A brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in your brain.

• Brain tumors can be noncancerous (benign), while some are cancerous (malignant).

• They are called primary brain tumors when they begin in your brain or secondary(metastatic) brain tumors when the cancer spread from other parts of the body to the brain.


How quickly a brain tumor grows can vary greatly. The growth rate as well as the location of a brain tumor determines how it will affect the function of your

nervous system.


2- Types of brain tumors:

Different types include:


Meningiomas grow in the meninges, the protective lining of the brain. It is the most common type of brain tumor.

Pituitary tumors develop in the pituitary gland.

Medulloblastomas arise from the cerebellum or brainstem.

Skull based tumors grow on the underside of the brain, called the skull base.

Brain metastases occur when cancer cells spread from their original site to the brain.  Types most likely to cause brain metastases are lung, breast, colon, kidney and melanoma. They are a common type of malignant brain tumors.

Other brain tumors such as gliomas are composed of glial cells.


3- Symptoms of brain tumors:

The symptoms depend on the brain tumor’s size, location, and rate of growth.

They may include:


• New onset of headaches,

• Seizures or convulsions

• changes: in vision, smell, and/or hearing

• Weakness, numbness or paralysis in one part of the body

• Loss of awareness or loss of consciousness

• Loss of balance, dizziness or unsteadiness

• Repetitive, unintentional movements, such as twitching

• Speech difficulties

• Confusion and disorientation

• Personality or memory changes

• Unexplained nausea or vomiting

• Feeling very tired


4- Diagnosis

• A neurological exam

• Imaging tests

• Tissue biopsy

• Molecular/Biomarker tumor testing: to identify specific gene mutations (NGS)


5- Treatment

Treatment options depend on the type and grade of brain tumor you have, as well as its size and location.

• Surgery

• Radiosurgery

• Chemotherapy

• Targeted therapy

• Rehabilitation after treatment


6- Prognosis:

Brain tumor cases can vary a lot. The outcome of brain tumor treatment depends on:


• The type of brain tumor, its size, grade and location

• Whether the tumor has spread within the brain or to other parts of the body

• Your age and overall health

• How long you had symptoms before you were diagnosed with a brain tumor

• How much the brain tumor affects your ability to function

• Whether it can be surgically removed or reduced in size


Below webpages feature helpful information on brain tumors: 

Guide to genomic testing 

Roche-Foundation Medicine website 

Every Cancer Is Unique. Let’s Treat It That Way



Patient testimonials
Jamal Tamer experience’s with personalized treatment at NKBCI:


“Everyone has a dream, mine is to have a restaurant because I love cooking,” says Jamal Tamer, 27-year-old from a small town in South Lebanon. “It’s the most important thing in my life,” he continues.

Unfortunately, Jamal had to put his dream on hold in 2013 after recurring bouts of severe headaches. “When I found out that I had a tumor, I had to leave my job so I could be followed up regularly with by my doctor. I had to take care of myself.”

After the first major surgery to remove the tumor, his cancer stayed at bay for five years. Then, his tumor came back – with a headache, dizziness, and nausea. This time Jamal went to see Dr Hazem Assi, a specialized neuro- oncologist from the Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute at the American University of Beirut Medical Center, Lebanon.

Dr Assi says: “Jamal was referred to us almost two years ago in April 2017. At the time, Jamal was suffering from a rare type of brain tumor. We were monitoring Jamal for a couple of months and we saw rapid growth of the tumor.”

“So, we did the test, and it was positive for a gene defect [mutation] which is very rare in this type of tumor – very, very rare. Usually, we don’t think about it in our routine practice.”

Jamal started a treatment and to Dr Assi’s and his surprise, after a few months, the tumor started to shrink, and his symptoms improved. After almost a year, the tumor had significantly decreased in size, meaning that surgery was an option for him again, as well as radiation therapy.

Now, Jamal is able to start thinking about pursuing his dream again. And he’s thinking even bigger than his own dreams. “I want personally to thank those devoted to the evolution of science, which helped in creating such tests and medicines. We are in 2019 now, we have to find a way to end all tumors in the world.”


Publications from the Neuro-Oncology Program medical team are listed below:


1. Glioblastoma Multiforme Metastasizing To The Skin, A Case Report And Literature Review.

Nakib CE, Hajjar R, Zerdan MB, Darwish H, Zeidan Y, Alame S, Kassouf HK, Chamseddine N, Assi HI , Radiology Case Reports. 2022, vol.17, no.1, pp-171-175

2. Metabolic Syndrome: Updates On Pathophysiology And Management In 2021.

Fahed G, Aoun L, Bou Zerdan M, Allam S, Bou Zerdan M, Bouferraa Y, Assi HI, International Journal Of Molecular Sciences. 2022, vol.23, no.2

3. Drug-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy: Diagnosis And Management. Merheb D, Dib G, Zerdan MB, Nakib CE, Alame S, Assi HI,Current Cancer Drug Targets. 2021

4. Trigeminal Neuralgia Secondary To Onyx Embolization Of Right Occipital Arteriovenous Malformation,El Houshiemy M, Bsat S, El Ghazal R, Moussalem C, Amine A, Kawtharani S, Kalaoui A, Assi H, Darwish H,Surgical Neurology International. 2021, vol.12, no.318

5. Pten R130q Papillary Tumor Of The Pineal Region (Ptpr) With Chromosome 10 Loss Successfully Treated With Everolimus: A Case Report. Assi HI, Kakati RT, Berro J, Saikali I, Youssef B, Hourany R, Alameh I, Tabbarah A, Khoury J, Darwish H, Alame S, Current Oncology (Toronto, Ont.). 2021, vol.28, no.2, pp-1274-1279

6. Oligodendroglioma: A Review Of Management And Pathways. Bou Zerdan M, Assi HI,Frontiers In Molecular Neuroscience. 2021, vol.14, pp-722396

7. Corrigendum to Demographics and outcomes of meningioma patients treated at a tertiary care center in the Middle East [Clin. Neurol. Neurosurg. 195 (2020) 105846] (Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery (2020) 195, (S030384672030189X), (10.1016/j.clineuro.2020.105846) Assi H.I., Hilal L., Abu-Gheida I., Berro J., Sukhon F., Skaf G., Geara F., Boulos F., Charafeddine M., Tabbarah A., Khoury J., Najjar M. Clinical Neurology And Neurosurgery. 2020, vol.197

8. Demographics And Outcomes Of Meningioma Patients Treated At A Tertiary Care Center In The Middle East Assi H.I., Hilal L., Abu-Gheida I., Berro J., Sukhon F., Skaf G., Geara F., Boulos F., Charafeddine M., Tabbarah A., Khoury J., Najjar M. Clinical Neurology And Neurosurgery. 2020, vol.195

9. The Use Of Heparin And Heparin-Like Molecules In Cancer Treatment: A Review. Atallah J, Khachfe HH, Berro J, Assi HI Cancer Treatment And Research Communications. 2020, vol.24, pp-100192

10. Correlation Of Genetic Alterations By Whole-Exome Sequencing With Clinical Outcomes Of Glioblastoma Patients From The Lebanese Population. Saadeh FS, Morsi RZ, El-Kurdi A, Nemer G, Mahfouz R, Charafeddine M, Khoury J, Najjar MW, Khoueiry P, Assi HI, Plos One. 2020, vol.15, no.11, pp-e0242793 11

11. Prognosis And Management of Gliosarcoma Patients: A Review Of Literature. Saadeh F, El Iskandarani S, Najjar M, Assi HI, Clinical Neurology And Neurosurgery. 2019, vol.182, pp-98-103

12. Prognostic Significance Of O6-Methylguanine-Dna-Methyltransferase (Mgmt) Promoter Methylation And Isocitrate Dehydrogenase-1 (Idh-1) Mutation In Glioblastoma Multiforme Patients: A Single-Center Experience In The Middle East Region, Ayoub Z., Geara F., Najjar M., Comair Y., Khoueiry-Zgheib N., Khoueiry P., Mahfouz R., Boulos F.I., Kamar F.G., Andraos T., Saadeh F., Kreidieh F., Abboud M., Skaf G., Assi H.I. Clinical Neurology And Neurosurgery. 2019, vol.182, pp-92-97

13. Therapeutic Interventions In Adult Low-Grade Gliomas. Chammas M, Saadeh F, Maaliki M, Assi H, Journal Of Clinical Neurology (Seoul, Korea). 2018

14. EGFR As A Clinical Marker In Glioblastomas And Other Gliomas.Saadeh FS, Mahfouz R, Assi HI The International Journal Of Biological Markers. 2018, vol.33, no.1, pp-22-3

Location and apointment scheduling

The Neuro-Oncology Program is located on the 4th floor at the Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute at the Aida and Halim Daniel Academic Center (Daniel ACC).

To contact us, please call:

Phone Number: +961 – 1 – 374 374 ext. 7980 – 9691
Direct Line: +961 – 1 – 759 618