Surgical treatment of multiple brain metastases

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  • 1 Departments of Neurosurgery and Biomathematics. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas
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✓ The authors conducted a retrospective review of the charts of 56 patients who underwent resection for multiple brain metastases. Of these, 30 had one or more lesions left unresected (Group A) and 26 underwent resection of all lesions (Group B). Twenty-six other patients with a single metastasis who underwent resection (Group C) were selected to match Group B by type of primary tumor, time from first diagnosis of cancer to diagnosis of brain metastases, and presence or absence of systemic cancer at the time of surgery. Statistical analysis indicated that Groups A and B were also homogeneous for these prognostic indicators. Median survival duration was 6 months for Group A, 14 months for Group B, and 14 months for Group C. There was a statistically significant difference in survival time between Groups A and B (p = 0.003) and Groups A and C (p = 0.012) but not between Groups B and C (p > 0.5). Brain metastasis recurred in 31% of patients in Group B and in 35% of those in Group C; this difference was not significant (p > 0.5). Symptoms improved after surgery in 65% of patients in Group A, 83% in Group B, and 84% in Group C. Symptoms worsened in 13% of patients in Group A, 6% in Group B, and 0% in Group C. Groups A, B, and C had complication rates per craniotomy of 8%, 9%, and 8%, and 30-day mortality rates of 3%, 4%, and 0%, respectively. Guidelines for management of patients with multiple brain metastases are discussed. The authors conclude that surgical removal of all lesions in selected patients with multiple brain metastases results in significantly increased survival time and gives a prognosis similar to that of patients undergoing surgery for a single metastasis.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Raymond Sawaya, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030.
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