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Prog Neurol Surg. 2012;25:82-95. doi: 10.1159/000331179. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

Whole-brain radiation therapy of brain metastasis.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Princess Margaret Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The purpose of this report was to review the role of whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) in the management of brain metastases. In particular, we review the role of WBRT as a prophylactic therapy, and the role of surgery and stereotactic radiousurgery (SRS) with respect to WBRT, by discussing the relevant randomized controlled trials. WBRT is associated with toxicities and this may influence the decision to use WBRT and, therefore, we review both the acute side effects of WBRT and the more serious late side effects of neurocognitive impairment and leukoencephalopathy. As patients are living longer with brain metastases the role of WBRT is moving forward; however, using modern radiation technology we may be able to reduce the morbidity of this therapy. We present an extreme case of re-re-treatment WBRT with hippocampal sparing and simultaneous integrated boosts to multiple lesions as one of the future directions under evaluation.

Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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