Adjuvant radiation therapy (RT), such as cesium-131 (Cs-131) brachytherapy or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), reduces local recurrence (LR) of brain metastases (BM). However, SRS is less efficacious for large cavities, and the delay between surgery and SRS may permit tumor repopulation. Cs-131 has demonstrated improved local control, with reduced radiation necrosis (RN) compared to SRS. This study represents the first comparison of outcomes between Cs-131 brachytherapy and SRS for resected BM.
Patients with BM treated with Cs-131 and SRS following gross-total resection were retrospectively identified. Thirty patients who underwent Cs-131 brachytherapy were compared to 60 controls who received SRS. Controls were selected from a larger cohort to match the patients treated with Cs-131 in a 2:1 ratio according to tumor size, histology, performance status, and recursive partitioning analysis class. Overall survival (OS), LR, regional recurrence, distant recurrence (DR), and RN were compared.
With a median follow-up of 17.5 months for Cs-131–treated and 13.0 months for SRS-treated patients, the LR rate was significantly lower with brachytherapy; 10% for the Cs-131 cohort compared to 28.3% for SRS patients (OR 0.281, 95% CI 0.082–0.949; p = 0.049). Rates of regional recurrence, DR, and OS did not differ significantly between the two cohorts. Kaplan-Meier analysis with log-rank testing showed a significantly higher likelihood of freedom from LR (p = 0.027) as well as DR (p = 0.018) after Cs-131 compared to SRS treatment (p = 0.027), but no difference in likelihood of OS (p = 0.093). Six (10.0%) patients who underwent SRS experienced RN compared to 1 (3.3%) patient who received Cs-131 (p = 0.417).
Postresection patients with BM treated with Cs-131 brachytherapy were more likely to achieve local control compared to SRS-treated patients. This study provides preliminary evidence of the potential of Cs-131 to reduce LR following gross-total resection of single BM, with minimal toxicity, and suggests the need for a prospective study to address this question.