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Stereotaxic radiosurgery for brain metastases: the importance of adjuvant whole brain irradiation.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University Medical Center, CA 94305.


Stereotaxic radiosurgery delivered from a modified 4 MV linear accelerator was used to treat 47 brain metastases in 27 patients at Stanford. Response was assessed in 41 lesions. Histopathologies included adenocarcinoma (24 lesions), renal cell carcinoma (9 lesions), melanoma (6 lesions), and squamous cell carcinoma (2 lesions). Follow-up ranged from 1.0-16.5 months, with a median of 5.0 months. Radiographic local control was achieved in 88% of the lesions. Three patients developed enlarging contrast-enhancing lesions in the radiosurgical field; one of these was biopsied and revealed necrosis with no viable tumor. Adjuvant whole brain irradiation (10 patients) was associated with regional intracranial control in 80% of patients. This was statistically superior (p = 0.0007) to the regional intracranial control rate achieved when radiosurgery alone was employed (6 patients). Most patients reported resolution of their neurologic symptoms, and were able to discontinue dexamethasone without impairment of neurologic function.

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