Survival after surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery for patients with multiple intracranial metastases: results of a single-center retrospective study

Clinical article

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  • 1 Departments of Neurological Surgery and
  • 2 Radiation Oncology, Northwestern Memorial Hospital/McGaw Medical Center, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
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Object

Patients with systemic cancer and a single brain metastasis who undergo treatment with resection plus radiotherapy live longer and have a better quality of life than those treated with radiotherapy alone. Historically, whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) has been the mainstay of radiation therapy; however, it is associated with significant delayed neurocognitive sequelae. In this study, the authors looked at survival in patients with single and multiple intracranial metastases who had undergone surgery and adjuvant stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to the tumor bed and synchronous lesions.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records from an 8-year period at a single institution for consecutive patients with brain metastases treated via complete resection of dominant lesions and adjuvant radiosurgery. The cohort was analyzed for time to local progression, synchronous lesion progression, new intracranial lesion development, systemic progression, and overall survival. The Kaplan-Meier method (stratified by age, sex, tumor histology, and number of intracranial lesions prior to surgery) was used to calculate both progression-free and overall survival. A Cox proportional-hazards regression model was also fitted with the number of intracranial lesions as the predictor and survival as the outcome controlling for disease severity, age, sex, and primary histology.

Results

The median overall follow-up among the 150-person cohort eligible for analysis was 17 months. Patients had an average age of 46.2 years (range 16–82 years), and 62.7% were female. The mean (± standard deviation) number of intracranial lesions per patient was 2.5 ± 2.3. The mean time between surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) was 3.2 ± 4.1 weeks. Primary cancers included lung cancer (43.3%), breast cancer (21.3%), melanoma (10.0%), renal cell carcinoma (6.7%), and colon cancer (6.7%). The average number of isocenters per treated lesion was 7.6 ± 6.6, and the average treatment dose was 17.8 ± 2.8 Gy. One-year survival for patients in this cohort was 52%, and the 1-year local control rate was 77%. The median (±standard error) overall survival was 13.2 ± 1.9 months. There was no difference in survival between patients with a single lesion and those with multiple lesions (p = 0.319) after controlling for age, sex, and histology of primary tumor. Patients with primary breast histology had the greatest overall median survival (22.9 ± 6.2 months); patients with colorectal cancer had the shortest overall median survival (5.3 ± 1.8 months). The most common cause of death in this series was systemic progression (79%).

Conclusions

These results confirm that 1-year survival for patients with multiple intracranial metastases treated with resection followed by SRS to both the tumor bed and synchronous lesions is similar to established outcomes for patients with a single intracranial metastasis.

Abbreviations used in this paper:SRS = stereotactic radiosurgery; WBRT = whole-brain radiotherapy.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Timothy R. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Department of Neurological Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 676 N. St. Clair St., Ste. 2210, Chicago, IL 60611. email: timothy-smith-0@fsm.northwestern.edu.

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online May 23, 2014; DOI: 10.3171/2014.4.JNS13789.

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