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Keywords:

  • brain metastases;
  • stereotactic radiosurgery;
  • whole brain radiotherapy;
  • meta-analysis;
  • neurocognition

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

To perform a meta-analysis on newly diagnosed brain metastases patients treated with whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) boost versus WBRT alone, or in patients treated with SRS alone versus WBRT and SRS boost.

METHODS:

The meta-analysis primary outcomes were overall survival (OS), local control (LC), and distant brain control (DBC). Secondary outcomes were neurocognition, quality of life (QOL), and toxicity. Using published Kaplan-Meier curves, results were pooled using hazard ratios (HR).

RESULTS:

Two RCTs reported on WBRT and SRS boost versus WBRT alone. For multiple brain metastases (2-4 tumors) we conclude no difference in OS, and LC significantly favored WBRT plus SRS boost. Three RCTs reported on SRS alone versus WBRT plus SRS boost (1-4 tumors). There was no difference in OS despite both LC and DBC significantly favoring WBRT plus SRS boost. Although secondary endpoints could not be pooled for meta-analysis, those RCTs evaluating SRS alone conclude better neurocognition using the validated Hopkins Verbal Learning Test, no adverse risk in deteriorating Mini-Mental Status Exam scores or in maintaining performance status, and fewer late toxicities. We conclude insufficient data for QOL outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS:

For selected patients, we conclude no OS benefit for WBRT plus SRS boost compared with SRS alone. Although additional WBRT improves DBC and LC, SRS alone should be considered a routine treatment option due to favorable neurocognitive outcomes, less risk of late side effects, and does not adversely affect the patients performance status. Cancer 2012. © 2011 American Cancer Society.