The incidence and predictors of new brain metastases in patients with non–small cell lung cancer following discontinuation of systemic therapy

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  • 1 Departments of Neurosurgery,
  • | 2 Radiation Oncology, and
  • | 3 Medical Oncology, NYU Langone Health, Perlmutter Cancer Center, New York University, New York; and
  • | 4 Department of Radiation Oncology, Maimonides Cancer Center, Brooklyn, New York
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OBJECTIVE

Patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) metastatic to the brain are living longer. The risk of new brain metastases when these patients stop systemic therapy is unknown. The authors hypothesized that the risk of new brain metastases remains constant for as long as patients are off systemic therapy.

METHODS

A prospectively collected registry of patients undergoing radiosurgery for brain metastases was analyzed. Of 606 patients with NSCLC, 63 met the inclusion criteria of discontinuing systemic therapy for at least 90 days and undergoing active surveillance. The risk factors for the development of new tumors were determined using Cox proportional hazards and recurrent events models.

RESULTS

The median duration to new brain metastases off systemic therapy was 16.0 months. The probability of developing an additional new tumor at 6, 12, and 18 months was 26%, 40%, and 53%, respectively. There were no additional new tumors 22 months after stopping therapy. Patients who discontinued therapy due to intolerance or progression of the disease and those with mutations in RAS or receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) pathways (e.g., KRAS, EGFR) were more likely to develop new tumors (hazard ratio [HR] 2.25, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.33–3.81, p = 2.5 × 10−3; HR 2.51, 95% CI 1.45–4.34, p = 9.8 × 10−4, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

The rate of new brain metastases from NSCLC in patients off systemic therapy decreases over time and is uncommon 2 years after cessation of cancer therapy. Patients who stop therapy due to toxicity or who have RAS or RTK pathway mutations have a higher rate of new metastases and should be followed more closely.

ABBREVIATIONS

CI = confidence interval; EGFR = epidermal growth factor receptor; HR = hazard ratio; IQR = interquartile range; NSCLC = non–small cell lung cancer; PDL-1 = programmed death ligand-1; RTK = receptor tyrosine kinase; SRS = stereotactic radiosurgery; TKI = tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Table and Figures (PDF 466 KB)

Images from Minchev et al. (pp 479–488).

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