Object. The Photon Radiosurgery System (PRS) is a miniature x-ray generator that can stereotactically irradiate intracranial tumors by using low-energy photons. Treatment with the PRS typically occurs in conjunction with stereotactic biopsy, thereby providing diagnosis and treatment in one procedure. The authors review the treatment of patients with brain metastases with the aid of the PRS and discuss the indications, advantages, and limitations of this technique.
Methods. Clinical characteristics, treatment parameters, neuroimaging-confirmed outcome, and survival were reviewed in all patients with histologically verified brain metastases who were treated with the PRS at the Massachusetts General Hospital between December 1992 and November 2000. Local control of lesions was defined as either stabilization or diminution in the size of the treated tumor as confirmed by Gd-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging.
Between December 1992 and November 2000, 72 intracranial metastatic lesions in 60 patients were treated with the PRS. Primary tumors included lung (33 patients), melanoma (15 patients), renal cell (five patients), breast (two patients), esophageal (two patients), colon (one patient), and Merkle cell (one patient) cancers, and malignant fibrous histiocytoma (one patient). Supratentorial metastases were distributed throughout the cerebrum, with only one cerebellar metastasis. The lesions ranged in diameter from 6 to 40 mm and were treated with a minimal peripheral dose of 16 Gy (range 10–20 Gy). At the last follow-up examination (median 6 months), local disease control had been achieved in 48 (81%) of 59 tumors. An actuarial analysis demonstrated that the survival rates at 6 and 12 months were 63 and 34%, respectively. Patients with a single brain metastasis survived a mean of 11 months. Complications included four patients with postoperative seizures, three with symptomatic cerebral edema, two with hemorrhagic events, and three with symptomatic radiation necrosis requiring surgery.
Conclusions. Stereotactic interstitial radiosurgery performed using the PRS can obtain local control of cerebral metastases at rates that are comparable to those achieved through open resection and external stereotactic radiosurgery. The major advantage of using the PRS is that effective treatment can be accomplished at the time of stereotactic biopsy.