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Hideyuki Kano, Alejandro Morales-Restrepo, Aditya Iyer, Gregory M. Weiner, Seyed H. Mousavi, John M. Kirkwood, Ahmad A. Tarhini, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford


The goal of this study was to use 4 prognostic indices to compare survival times of patients who underwent Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to treat melanoma brain metastases.


The authors analyzed 422 consecutive patients (1440 brain metastases) who underwent Gamma Knife SRS. The median total brain tumor volume was 4.7 cm3 (range 0.3–69.3 cm3), and the median number of metastases was 2 (range 1–32). One hundred thirty-two patients underwent whole-brain radiation therapy. Survival times were compared using recursive partitioning analysis (RPA), the Score Index for Radiosurgery (SIR), the Basic Score for Brain Metastases (BSBM), and the Diagnosis-Specific Graded Prognostic Assessment (DS-GPA).


The overall survival times after SRS were compared. With the RPA index, survival times were 2.6 months (Class III, n = 27), 5.5 months (Class II, n = 348), and 13.0 months (Class I, n = 47). With the DS-GPA index, survival times were 2.8 months (Scores 0–1, n = 67), 4.2 months (Scores 1.5–2.0, n = 143), 6.6 months (Scores 2.5–3.0, n = 111), and 9.4 months (Scores 3.5–4.0, n = 101). With the SIR, survival times were 3.2 months (Scores 0–3, n = 56), 5.8 months (Scores 4–7, n = 319), and 12.7 months (Scores 8–10, n = 47). With the BSBM index, survival times were 2.6 months (BSBM0, n = 47), 5.4 months (BSBM1, n = 282), 11.0 months (BSBM2, n = 86), and 8.8 months (BSBM3, n = 7). The DS-GPA index was the most balanced by case numbers in each class and provided the overall best prognostic index for overall survival.


The DS-GPA index proved most balanced and predictive of survival for patients with melanoma who underwent SRS as part of management for brain metastases. Patients whose DS-GPA score was ≥ 2.5 had predictably improved survival times after SRS.

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Donald N. Liew, Hideyuki Kano, Douglas Kondziolka, David Mathieu, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger, John M. Kirkwood, Ahmad Tarhini, Stergios Moschos and L. Dade Lunsford


To evaluate the role of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in the management of brain metastases from melanoma, the authors assessed clinical outcomes and prognostic factors for survival and tumor control.


The authors reviewed 333 consecutive patients with melanoma who underwent SRS for 1570 brain metastases from cutaneous and mucosal/acral melanoma. The patient population consisted of 109 female and 224 male patients with a median age of 53 years. Two hundred eleven patients (63%) had multiple metastases. One hundred eighteen patients (35%) underwent whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT). The target volume ranged from 0.1 cm3 to 37.2 cm3. The median marginal dose was 18 Gy.


Actuarial survival rates were 70% at 3 months, 47% at 6 months, 25% at 12 months, and 10% at 24 months after radiosurgery. Factors associated with longer survival included controlled extracranial disease, better Karnofsky Performance Scale score, fewer brain metastases, no prior WBRT, no prior chemotherapy, administration of immunotherapy, and no intratumoral hemorrhage before radiosurgery. The median survival for patients with a solitary brain metastasis, controlled extracranial disease, and administration of immunotherapy after radiosurgery was 22 months. Sustained local tumor control was achieved in 73% of the patients. Sixty-four (25%) of 259 patients who had follow-up imaging after SRS had evidence of delayed intratumoral hemorrhage. Sixteen patients underwent a craniotomy due to intratumoral hemorrhage. Seventeen patients (6%) had asymptomatic and 21 patients (7%) had symptomatic radiation effects. Patients with ≤ 8 brain metastases, no prior WBRT, and the recursive partitioning analysis Class I had extended survivals (median 54.3 months).


Stereotactic radiosurgery is an especially valuable option for patients with controlled systemic disease even if they have multiple metastatic brain tumors.

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Douglas Kondziolka, Phillip V. Parry, L. Dade Lunsford, Hideyuki Kano, John C. Flickinger, Susan Rakfal, Yoshio Arai, Jay S. Loeffler, Stephen Rush, Jonathan P. S. Knisely, Jason Sheehan, William Friedman, Ahmad A. Tarhini, Lanie Francis, Frank Lieberman, Manmeet S. Ahluwalia, Mark E. Linskey, Michael McDermott, Paul Sperduto and Roger Stupp


Estimating survival time in cancer patients is crucial for clinicians, patients, families, and payers. To provide appropriate and cost-effective care, various data sources are used to provide rational, reliable, and reproducible estimates. The accuracy of such estimates is unknown.


The authors prospectively estimated survival in 150 consecutive cancer patients (median age 62 years) with brain metastases undergoing radiosurgery. They recorded cancer type, number of brain metastases, neurological presentation, extracranial disease status, Karnofsky Performance Scale score, Recursive Partitioning Analysis class, prior whole-brain radiotherapy, and synchronous or metachronous presentation. Finally, the authors asked 18 medical, radiation, or surgical oncologists to predict survival from the time of treatment.


The actual median patient survival was 10.3 months (95% CI 6.4–14). The median physician-predicted survival was 9.7 months (neurosurgeons = 11.8 months, radiation oncologists = 11.0 months, and medical oncologist = 7.2 months). For patients who died before 10 months, both neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists generally predicted survivals that were more optimistic and medical oncologists that were less so, although no group could accurately predict survivors alive at 14 months. All physicians had individual patient survival predictions that were incorrect by as much as 12–18 months, and 14 of 18 physicians had individual predictions that were in error by more than 18 months. Of the 2700 predictions, 1226 (45%) were off by more than 6 months and 488 (18%) were off by more than 12 months.


Although crucial, predicting the survival of cancer patients is difficult. In this study all physicians were unable to accurately predict longer-term survivors. Despite valuable clinical data and predictive scoring techniques, brain and systemic management often led to patient survivals well beyond estimated survivals.