Comparison of three treatment options for single brain metastasis from lung cancer

Jun Itakura, Toshiyuki Ishiwata, Ben Shen, Marko Kornmann, Murray Korc

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107 Scopus citations


Whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), and the combination of both treatment methods were used for the management of single brain metastasis from lung cancer. The purpose of this study is to compare these three different treatment options in terms of local response, survival, and quality of life. From June 1995 to July 1998, 70 lung cancer patients with new diagnosed single brain metastasis were treated with either WBRT alone (n = 29), or SRS alone (n = 23), or the combination of both methods (n = 18). Multiple endpoints, including survival, freedom from local progression (FFLP), freedom from new brain metastasis (FFNBM), local control, Karnofsky performance status (KPS), and causes of death, were measured from the date of treatment completion and compared using univariate and multivariate analyses. For patients treated with WBRT-alone, SRS-alone, and SRS+WBRT, the median survivals were 5.7, 9.3, and 10.6 months, the median FFLP were 4.0, 6.9, and 8.6 months, the median FFNBM were 4.1, 6.7, and 8.6 months, and the local response rates were 55.6, 87.0, and 88.9%, respectively. Four of the 29 patients treated with WBRT-alone continued with progression of disease. The post treatment KPS showed improvement in 41.4, 82.6, and 88.9% of patients treated with WBRT, alone, SRS-alone, and SRS+WBRT, respectively. The progression of new and/or recurred metastatic brain tumor as the cause of death accounted for 51.7%, 50.0%, and 28.3% of the patients treated with WBRT-alone, SRS-alone, and SRS+WBRT, respectively. Univariate analyses showed that the significant differences among the three treatment arms were observed based on all of the above mentioned endpoints. However, the comparison between SRS-alone and SRS+WBRT groups indicated that adding WBRT only improves FFNBM (P = 0.0392). Cox regression analyses revealed no significant difference in both of the KPS (P = 0.1082) and causes of death (P = 0.081) among the three arms. Both SRS alone and SRS+WBRT seem better in prolonging life and improving quality of life than WBRT alone for patients with single brain metastasis from lung cancer. But the combined therapy did not show significant advantage over SRS alone in improving survival, enhancing local control, and quality of life except for a more favorable FFNBM. Further investigation via a randomized trial is needed to access the value of adding WBRT to SRS in the management of this group of patients. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 20 2000


  • Lung carcinoma
  • Single brain metastasis
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery
  • Whole brain radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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