Previous Japanese Leksell Gamma Knife Society studies (JLGK0901) demonstrated the noninferiority of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) alone as the initial treatment for patients with 5–10 brain metastases (BMs) compared with those with 2–4 BMs in terms of overall survival and most secondary endpoints. The authors studied the aforementioned treatment outcomes in a subset of patients with BMs from non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Patients with initially diagnosed BMs treated with SRS alone were enrolled in this prospective observational study. Major inclusion criteria were the existence of up to 10 tumors with a maximum diameter of less than 3 cm each, a cumulative tumor volume of less than 15 cm3, and no leptomeningeal dissemination in patients with a Karnofsky Performance Scale score of 70% or better.
Among 1194 eligible patients, 784 with NSCLC were categorized into 3 groups: group A (1 tumor, n = 299), group B (2–4 tumors, n = 342), and group C (5–10 tumors, n = 143). The median survival times were 13.9 months in group A, 12.3 months in group B, and 12.8 months in group C. The survival curves of groups B and C were very similar (hazard ratio [HR] 1.037; 95% CI 0.842–1.277; p < 0.0001, noninferiority test). The crude and cumulative incidence rates of neurological death, deterioration of neurological function, newly appearing lesions, and leptomeningeal dissemination did not differ significantly between groups B and C. SRS-induced complications occurred in 145 (12.1%) patients during the median post-SRS period of 9.3 months (IQR 4.1–17.4 months), including 46, 54, 29, 11, and 5 patients with a Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v3.0 grade 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 complication, respectively. The cumulative incidence rates of adverse effects in groups A, B, and C 60 months after SRS were 13.5%, 10.0%, and 12.6%, respectively (group B vs C: HR 1.344; 95% CI 0.768–2.352; p = 0.299). The 60-month post-SRS rates of neurocognitive function preservation were 85.7% or higher, and no significant differences among the 3 groups were found.
In this subset analysis of patients with NSCLC, the noninferiority of SRS alone for the treatment of 5–10 versus 2–4 BMs was confirmed again in terms of overall survival and secondary endpoints. In particular, the incidence of neither post-SRS complications nor neurocognitive function preservation differed significantly between groups B and C. These findings further strengthen the already-reported noninferiority hypothesis of SRS alone for the treatment of patients with 5–10 BMs.