Therapeutic options for brain metastases (BMs) that recur after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) remain limited.
The authors provide the collective experience of 4 institutions where treatment of BMs that recurred after SRS was performed with stereotactic laser ablation (SLA).
Twenty-six BMs (in 23 patients) that recurred after SRS were treated with SLA (2 patients each underwent 2 SLAs for separate lesions, and a third underwent 2 serial SLAs for discrete BMs). Histological findings in the BMs treated included the following: breast (n = 6); lung (n = 6); melanoma (n = 5); colon (n = 2); ovarian (n = 1); bladder (n = 1); esophageal (n = 1); and sarcoma (n = 1). With a median follow-up duration of 141 days (range 64–794 days), 9 of the SLA-treated BMs progressed despite treatment (35%). All cases of progression occurred in BMs in which < 80% ablation was achieved, whereas no disease progression was observed in BMs in which ≥ 80% ablation was achieved. Five BMs were treated with SLA, followed 1 month later by adjuvant SRS (5 Gy daily × 5 days). No disease progression was observed in these patients despite ablation efficiency of < 80%, suggesting that adjuvant hypofractionated SRS enhances the efficacy of SLA. Of the 23 SLA-treated patients, 3 suffered transient hemiparesis (13%), 1 developed hydrocephalus requiring temporary ventricular drainage (4%), and 1 patient who underwent SLA of a 28.9-cm3 lesion suffered a neurological deficit requiring an emergency hemicraniectomy (4%). Although there is significant heterogeneity in corticosteroid treatment post-SLA, most patients underwent a 2-week taper.
Stereotactic laser ablation is an effective treatment option for BMs in which SRS fails. Ablation of ≥ 80% of BMs is associated with decreased risk of disease progression. The efficacy of SLA in this setting may be augmented by adjuvant hypofractionated SRS.