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J Neurooncol. 2013 Jul;113(3):459-65. doi: 10.1007/s11060-013-1138-y. Epub 2013 May 10.

The efficacy and limitations of stereotactic radiosurgery as a salvage treatment after failed whole brain radiotherapy for brain metastases.

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Division of Radiation Oncology, Aizawa Comprehensive Cancer Center, Aizawa Hospital, 2-5-1 Honjo, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture 390-0814, Japan.


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy and limitations of repeat stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) salvage for patients with recurrence of brain metastases (BM) after whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT). This is a retrospective, observational, single-center trial analyzing 77 consecutive patients with recurrent BM who were treated primarily with WBRT. All patients underwent SRS as salvage treatment. Median age was 62 years, and median Karnofsky performance status (KPS) was 80. The median interval between the starting date of WBRT and radiosurgery was 10.6 months. One, two and more than two SRS sessions were required in 42, 13 and 22 patients, respectively. The median total planning target volume (PTV) was 8.1 mL and the median dose prescribed was 20 Gy. The median follow-up was 7.7 months. 1- and 2-year neurological death-free survival (NS) rates were 87 and 78 %, respectively. Competing risk analysis demonstrated active extra-central nervous system (CNS) disease [Hazard ratio (HR) 0.236, P = 0.041] and total PTV on initial SRS (≥ 5 mL) (HR 4.22, P = 0.033) to be associated with the NS rate. 1- and 2-year overall survival (OS) rates were 41 and 11 %, respectively. The median OS time was 8.2 months. Active extra-CNS disease (HR 1.94, P = 0.034) and high KPS (≥ 90) (HR 0.409, P = 0.006) were associated with the OS rate. In total, 798 tumors (75 %) in 66 patients (86 %) with sufficient radiological follow-up data were evaluated. 1- and 2-year metastasis local control rates were 76.6 and 57.9 %, respectively. Prescribed dose (≥ 20 Gy) (HR 0.326, P < 0.001), tumor volume (≥ 2 mL) (HR 1.98, P = 0.007) and metastases from breast cancer (HR 0.435, P < 0.001) were independent predictive factors for local tumor control. Repeat salvage SRS for recurrent BM after WBRT appeared to be a safe and effective treatment. In the majority of patients, even those with numerous BM, neurological death could be delayed or even prevented.

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