Stereotactic radiosurgery boost to the resection bed for oligometastatic brain disease: challenging the tradition of adjuvant whole-brain radiotherapy

Brian J Karlovits, Matthew R Quigley, Stephen M Karlovits, Lindsay Miller, Mark Johnson, Olivier Gayou, Russell Fuhrer
Neurosurgical Focus 2009, 27 (6): E7

OBJECT: Whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) has been the traditional approach to minimize the risk of intracranial recurrence following resection of brain metastases, despite its potential for late neurotoxicity. In 2007, the authors demonstrated an equivalent local recurrence rate to WBRT by using stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to the operative bed, sparing 72% of their patients WBRT. They now update their initial experience with additional patients and more mature follow-up.

METHODS: The authors performed a retrospective review of all cases involving patients with limited intracranial metastatic disease (< or = 4 lesions) treated at their institution with SRS to the operative bed following resection. No patient had prior cranial radiation and WBRT was used only for salvage.

RESULTS: From November 2000 to June 2009, 52 patients with a median age of 61 years met inclusion criteria. A single metastasis was resected in each patient. Thirty-four of the patients each had 1 lesion, 13 had 2 lesions, 3 had 3 lesions, and 2 had 4 lesions. A median dose of 1500 cGy (range 800-1800 cGy) was delivered to the resection bed targeting a median volume of 3.85 cm(3) (range 0.08-22 cm(3)). With a median follow-up of 13 months, the median survival was 15.0 months. Four patients (7.7%) had a local recurrence within the surgical site. Twenty-three patients (44%) ultimately developed distant brain recurrences at a median of 16 months postresection, and 16 (30.7%) received salvage WBRT (8 for diffuse disease [> 3 lesions], 4 for local recurrence, and 4 for diffuse progression following salvage SRS). The median time to WBRT administration postresection was 8.7 months (range 2-43 months). On univariate analysis, patient factors of a solitary tumor (19.0 vs 12 months, p = 0.02), a recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) Class I (21 vs 13 months, p = 0.03), and no extracranial disease on presentation (22 vs 13 months, p = 0.01) were significantly associated with longer survival. Cox multivariate analysis showed a significant association with longer survival for the patient factors of no extracranial disease on presentation (p = 0.01) and solitary intracranial metastasis (p = 0.02). Among patients with no extracranial disease, a solitary intracranial metastasis conferred significant additional survival advantage (43 vs 10.5 months, p = 0.05, log-rank test). No factor (age, RPA class, tumor size or histological type, disease burden, extent of resection, or SRS dose or volume) was related to the need for salvage WBRT.

CONCLUSIONS: Adjuvant SRS to the metastatic intracranial operative bed results in a local recurrence rate equivalent to adjuvant WBRT. In combination with SRS for unresected lesions and routine imaging surveillance, this approach achieves robust overall survival (median 15 months) while sparing 70% of the patients WBRT and its potential acute and chronic toxicity.

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