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Rovel J. Colaco, Pierre Martin, Harriet M. Kluger, James B. Yu and Veronica L. Chiang


Radiation necrosis (RN), or its imaging equivalent, treatment-related imaging changes (TRIC), is an inflammatory reaction to high-dose radiation in the brain. The authors sought to investigate the hypothesis that immunotherapy increases the risk of developing RN/TRIC after stereotactic Gamma Knife (GK) radiosurgery for brain metastases.


A total of 180 patients who underwent GK surgery for brain metastases between 2006 and 2012 were studied. The systemic therapy they received was classified as cytotoxic chemotherapy (CT), targeted therapy (TT), or immunotherapy (IT). The timing of systemic therapy in relation to GK treatment was also recorded. Logistic regression was used to calculate the odds of developing RN according to type of systemic therapy received.


The median follow-up time was 11.7 months. Of 180 patients, 39 (21.7%) developed RN/TRIC. RN/TRIC rates were 37.5% (12 of 32) in patients who received IT alone, 16.9% (14 of 83) in those who received CT only, and 25.0% (5 of 20) in those who received TT only. Median overall survival was significantly longer in patients who developed RN/TRIC (23.7 vs 9.9 months, respectively). The RN/TRIC rate was increased significantly in patients who received IT alone (OR 2.40 [95% CI 1.06–5.44]; p = 0.03), whereas receipt of any CT was associated with a lower risk of RN/TRIC (OR 0.38 [95% CI 0.18–0.78]; p = 0.01). The timing of development of RN/TRIC was not different between patients who received IT and those who received CT.


Patients who receive IT alone may have an increased rate of RN/TRIC compared with those who receive CT or TT alone after stereotactic radiosurgery, whereas receiving any CT may in fact be protective against RN/TRIC. As the use of immunotherapies increases, the rate of RN/TRIC may be expected to increase compared with rates in the chemotherapy era.

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Jonathan P. S. Knisely, James B. Yu, Jaclyn Flanigan, Mario Sznol, Harriet M. Kluger and Veronica L. S. Chiang


A prospectively collected cohort of 77 patients who underwent definitive radiosurgery between 2002 and 2010 for melanoma brain metastases was retrospectively reviewed to assess the impact of ipilimumab use and other clinical variables on survival.


The authors conducted an institutional review board–approved chart review to assess patient age at the time of brain metastasis diagnosis, sex, primary disease location, initial radiosurgery date, number of metastases treated, performance status, systemic therapy and ipilimumab history, whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) use, follow-up duration, and survival at the last follow-up. The Diagnosis-Specific Graded Prognostic Assessment (DSGPA) score was calculated for each patient based on performance status and the number of brain metastases treated.


Thirty-five percent of the patients received ipilimumab. The median survival in this group was 21.3 months, as compared with 4.9 months in patients who did not receive ipilimumab. The 2-year survival rate was 47.2% in the ipilimumab group compared with 19.7% in the nonipilimumab group. The DS-GPA score was the most significant predictor of overall survival, and ipilimumab therapy was also independently associated with an improvement in the hazard for death (p = 0.03).


The survival of patients with melanoma brain metastases managed with ipilimumab and definitive radiosurgery can exceed the commonly anticipated 4–6 months. Using ipilimumab in a supportive treatment paradigm of radiosurgery for brain oligometastases was associated with an increased median survival from 4.9 to 21.3 months, with a 2-year survival rate of 19.7% versus 47.2%. This association between ipilimumab and prolonged survival remains significant even after adjustment for performance status without an increased need for salvage WBRT.

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Paul Porensky and E. Antonio Chiocca