Stereotactic radiosurgery for brain metastases: Comparison of lung carcinoma vs. non-lung tumors

Jeffery Williams, Cheryl Enger, Moody Wharam, Diane Tsai, Henry Brem

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30 Scopus citations


In the medical literature, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for brain metastases results in rates of local control of 65 to 85%. To define patient selection criteria, we measured the survival in a population with a high proportion of non-small cell lung carcinoma (NCS lung) metastases that occurred soon after primary diagnosis. Between 9/89 and 10/93 30 adults (21 M, 9 F) had SRS for metastatic NSC lung carcinoma (14 patients) vs. non-lung carcinomas (16 patients having breast (3), renal (3), melanoma (3), GI (2, thyroid (1) or carcinoma of unknown origin (4)). The metastases were solitary for 22 patients and multiple for 8 patients. Average ages (y) (± SD) were 58.6 ± 10.4 for NSC lung patients and 53.4 ± 12.5 (p = 0.32) for non-lung patients. The average interval (months) from diagnosis of the primary to metastasis was 23.8 ± 41.4 for all patients. This interval was shorter for NSC lung patients: 3.1 ± 6.0 vs. 48.0 ± 51.7 (p < 0.001) for non-lung patients. Twenty seven patients had conventional radiotherapy (XRT) before (24 patients) or after (3 patients) SRS. Doses (cGy) were 3303 ± 841 for 13 NSC lung patients and 4256 ± 992 for 14 non-lung patients (p = 0.034). The median time from primary diagnosis to SRS was shorter for the NSC lung patients (11 mo) compared to the non-lung patients (35 mo). SRS was given for recurrence of metastases after XRT for 11/14 NSC lung patients and 13/16 non-lung patients. The doses (cGy) of SRS were 1579 ± 484 vs. 1682 ± 476 (p = 0.45) for the NSC lung and non-lung groups, respectively. After SRS a decrease in metastasis diameter was observed in 10 of 14 NSC lung patients vs. 12 of 16 non-lung patients (p = 0.85 Chi-square). Twenty-seven of the 30 patients have died. For all patients, the median survival after diagnosis of the primary and after radiosurgery was 31.3 and 8.4 months, respectively. The median survival (95% CI) from primary diagnosis was 24.3 months (13.2-27.3) for NSC lung patients and 46.5 months (39.2-65.5) for non-lung patients (p = 0.005 logrank test). The median survival (95% CI) after SRS was 7.9 months (3.0-14.3) for the NSC lung patients and 8.4 (2.9-11.9) months for the non-lung patients (p = 0.98 logrank test). Within the two groups, no difference in survival was observed for patients who had SRS sooner (< 1 yr for NSC lung; < 3 yr for non-lung) after primary diagnosis: 9.3 vs. 6.5 mo for NSC lung (p = 0.21) and 10.5 vs. 7.2 mo for non-lung (p = 0.87). In this series, the shortened intervals from primary diagnosis to SRS for NSC lung metastases was associated with post-SRS survivorship that was equivalent to the more favorable non-lung group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-85
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998


  • Brain metastasis
  • External beam radiotherapy
  • Non-small cell lung carcinoma
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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