• nonsmall cell lung cancer;
  • brain metastasis;
  • gamma knife radiosurgery;
  • circadian;
  • treatment time



Circadian cell-cycle progression causes fluctuating radiosensitivity in many tissues, which could affect clinical outcomes. The purpose of this study was to determine whether outcomes of single-session gamma knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for metastatic nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) differ based on treatment time.


Fifty-eight patients received GKRS between 10:00 am and 12:30 pm and 39 patients received GKRS between 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm. The mean peripheral dose was 18.6 Gy. The mean tumor size was 7.3 cm3. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to score local control at 3 months. Cause of death (COD) was categorized as central nervous system (CNS)-related or systemic.


Demographic and disease characteristics of the 2 groups were similar. Local control at 3 months was achieved in 97% (35/36) of patients who underwent GKRS early in the day versus 67% (8/12) of patients who underwent GKRS later in the day (chi-square, P = .014). Early GKRS was associated with better survival (median 9.5 months) than late GKRS (median 5 months) (Kaplan-Meier log-rank test, P = .025). Factors contributing to better survival in a Cox regression model included early treatment time (P = .004) and recursive partition analysis class (P < .001). Cause of death in the early treatment group was CNS-related in 6% (3/47) of patients versus 24% (8/34) of patients in the late treatment group (chi-square test, P = .026).


GKRS for metastatic NSCLC had better local control, better survival, and a lower rate of CNS-related cause of death when given earlier in the day versus later in the day. These retrospective data should encourage future study in brain radiosurgery and non-CNS stereotactic body radiotherapy series. Cancer 2011. © 2010 American Cancer Society.