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Radiother Oncol. 1998 Jan;46(1):33-8.

Prognostic factors in lung cancer with brain metastasis.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Dokuz Eylül University Medical Faculty, Inciralti, Izmir, Turkey.



Metastasis to the brain develops in 25% of all patients with lung cancer. Although the outcome is usually poor, there seems to be a subset of patients with favorable prognostic factors who may live longer. Prognostic factors were analyzed retrospectively in 103 patients with brain metastases from lung carcinoma to identify patients who would benefit from more intensive treatment strategies.


Between October 1991 and December 1994, 103 patients with brain metastasis from lung cancer were irradiated with palliative intent. Palliation was defined as 50% or more regression of neurological signs and symptoms 2 weeks after the completion of cranial radiotherapy. Local (related to the lung tumor) symptom status at the time of brain metastasis, the presence of metastases other than brain, multiplicity of brain metastases on CT scan and time of occurrence of brain metastasis were the factors which were evaluated with multivariate analysis.


Palliation was accomplished in 85% of cases. Palliation duration ranged from 0.5 to 54 months (median 3 months). The overall median survival was 5 months. Only one patient is under follow-up without any symptoms related to the brain metastasis. According to the multivariate analysis survival was significantly decreased in the presence of symptoms related to the primary tumor (P = 0.001).


The presence of symptoms related to the primary tumor at the time of brain metastasis is one of the factors that can be used to distinguish patients with a favorable outcome. In patients with favorable prognostic factors and thus longer survival probability, the role of boost dose after whole brain radiotherapy or surgical resection in suitable cases needs to be investigated.

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