✓ Results of reoperation in 48 patients who developed recurrent brain metastases between January 1984 and April 1993 are presented. Median time from first craniotomy to diagnosis of recurrence (time to recurrence) was 6.7 months. Median Karnofsky performance scale (KPS) score prior to reoperation was 80. Recurrence was local in 30 patients, distant in 16 patients, and both local and distant in two patients. Median survival time after reoperation was 11.5 months. There were no operative mortalities. Multivariate analysis revealed that presence of systemic disease (p = 0.008), KPS scores less than or equal to 70 (p = 0.008), time to recurrence of less than 4 months (p = 0.008), age greater than or equal to 40 years (p = 0.51), and primary tumor type of breast or melanoma (p = 0.028) negatively affected patient survival time. These five factors were used to develop a grading system (Grades I–IV). Patients categorized in Grade I had a 5-year survival rate of 57%, whereas the median survival time of patients in Grades II, III, and IV was 13.4, 6.8, and 3.4 months, respectively (p < 0.0001).
Overall, 26 patients developed a second recurrence after reoperation. Seventeen patients underwent a second reoperation, whereas nine did not. Patients undergoing a second reoperation survived a median of 8.6 additional months versus 2.8 months for those who did not (p < 0.0001).
This study concludes that reoperation for recurrent brain metastasis can prolong survival and improve quality of life. A second reoperation can also increase survival. Five factors influence survival: status of systemic disease, KPS score, time to recurrence, age, and type of primary tumor. The grading system using these five factors correlates with survival time. Reoperation should be approached with caution in Grade IV patients because of their poor prognosis.