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Recommended first-line management of asymptomatic brain metastases from EGFR mutant and ALK positive non-small cell lung cancer varies significantly according to specialty: an international survey of clinical practice.

BACKGROUND: The role for radiotherapy or surgery in the upfront management of brain metastases (BrM) in epidermal growth factor receptor mutant ( EGFR m) or anaplastic lymphoma kinase translocation positive ( ALK +) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is uncertain because of a lack of prospective evidence supporting tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) monotherapy. Further understanding of practice heterogeneity is necessary to guide collaborative efforts in establishing guideline recommendations.

METHODS: We conducted an international survey among medical (MO), clinical (CO), and radiation oncologists (RO), as well as neurosurgeons (NS), of treatment recommendations for asymptomatic BrM (in non-eloquent regions) EGFRm or ALK+ NSCLC patients according to specific clinical scenarios. We grouped and compared treatment recommendations according to specialty. Responses were summarized using counts and percentages and analyzed using the Fisher exact test.

RESULTS: A total of 449 surveys were included in the final analysis: 48 CO, 85 MO, 60 NS, and 256 RO. MO and CO were significantly more likely than RO and NS to recommend first-line TKI monotherapy, regardless of the number and/or size of asymptomatic BrM (in non-eloquent regions). Radiotherapy in addition to TKI as first-line management was preferred by all specialties for patients with ≥4 BrM. NS recommended surgical resection more often than other specialties for BrM measuring >2 cm.

CONCLUSIONS: Recommendations for the management of BrM from EGFRm or ALK+ NSCLC vary significantly according to oncology sub-specialties. Development of multidisciplinary guidelines and further research on establishing optimal treatment strategies is warranted.

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