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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 May 1;83(1):303-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.06.1987. Epub 2011 Nov 11.

Prognostic factors for survival in patients treated with stereotactic radiosurgery for recurrent brain metastases after prior whole brain radiotherapy.

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  • 1Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.



To evaluate prognostic factors for survival after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for new, progressive, or recurrent brain metastases (BM) after prior whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT).


Patients treated between 1991 and 2007 with Gamma Knife SRS for BM after prior WBRT were retrospectively reviewed. Potential prognostic factors were analyzed overall and by primary site using univariate and stepwise multivariate analyses and recursive partitioning analysis, including age, Karnofsky performance status (KPS), primary tumor control, extracranial metastases, number of BM treated, total SRS target volume, and interval from WBRT to SRS.


A total of 310 patients were analyzed, including 90 breast, 113 non-small-cell lung, 31 small-cell lung, 42 melanoma, and 34 miscellaneous patients. The median age was 56, KPS 80, number of BM treated 3, and interval from WBRT to SRS 8.1 months; 76% had controlled primary tumor and 60% had extracranial metastases. The median survival was 8.4 months overall and 12.0 vs. 7.9 months for single vs. multiple BM treated (p = 0.001). There was no relationship between number of BM and survival after excluding single-BM patients. On multivariate analysis, favorable prognostic factors included age <50, smaller total target volume, and longer interval from WBRT to SRS in breast cancer patients; smaller number of BM, KPS >60, and controlled primary in non-small-cell lung cancer patients; and smaller total target volume in melanoma patients.


Among patients treated with salvage SRS for BM after prior WBRT, prognostic factors appeared to vary by primary site. Although survival time was significantly longer for patients with a single BM, the median survival time of 7.9 months for patients with multiple BM seems sufficiently long for salvage SRS to appear to be worthwhile, and no evidence was found to support the use of a cutoff for number of BM appropriate for salvage SRS.

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