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J Clin Oncol. 2005 Dec 1;23(34):8870-6.

Phase II trial of radiosurgery for one to three newly diagnosed brain metastases from renal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and sarcoma: an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group study (E 6397).

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  • 1University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.



Long-term brain metastases survivors are at risk for neurologic morbidity after whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT). Retrospective radiosurgery (RS) reports found no survival difference when compared with WBRT. Before RS alone was evaluated with delayed WBRT in a phase III trial, the feasibility of RS alone was tested prospectively.


Patients with renal cell carcinoma, melanoma, or sarcoma; one to three brain metastases; and performance status of 0 to 2 were enrolled. Exclusion criteria were leptomeningeal disease; metastases in medulla, pons, or midbrain; or liver metastases. On the basis of tumor size, patients received 24, 18, or 15 Gy RS. At recurrence, management was discretionary. The primary end point was 3- and 6-month intracranial progression.


Between July 1998 and August 2003, 36 patients were accrued; 31 were eligible. Median follow-up was 32.7 months and the median survival was 8.3 months (95% CI, 7.4 to 12.2). Three- and 6-month intracranial failure with RS alone was 25.8% and 48.3%. Failure within and outside the RS volume, when in-field and distant intracranial failures were scored independently, was 19.3% and 16.2% (3 months) and 32.2% and 32.2% (6 months), respectively. Approximately 38% of patients experienced death attributable to neurologic cause. There were three grade 3 toxicities related to RS.


Intracranial failure rates without WBRT were 25.8% and 48.3% at 3 and 6 months, respectively. Delaying WBRT may be appropriate for some subgroups of patients with radioresistant tumors, but routine avoidance of WBRT should be approached judiciously.

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