To examine stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) following whole brain radiotherapy for metastases in eloquent, central brain locations: brainstem, thalamus, and basal ganglia.
We conducted a retrospective review of patients with metastases in eloquent, central brain locations who were treated with SRS between January 2000 and April 2012. All patients had whole brain radiotherapy. Patients eligible for SRS had one to three brain metastases, metastasis size ≤4 cm, and Karnofsky performance status ≥70. Local progression-free survival and overall survival were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method.
For 24 patients, the median age was 50 years (range, 36-73). Metastases by location were: 11 brainstem, 9 thalamus, and 5 basal ganglia. The median metastasis size was 15 mm (range, 2-33) and the median SRS dose prescription was 15 Gy (range, 12-24). The median local progression-free survival was 13.7 months and median overall survival was 16.4 months. Compared with a cohort of 188 patients with noneloquent brain metastases receiving a median dose of 24 Gy, overall survival of 10.8 months was not significantly different (p=0.16). The only symptomatic complication was grade 2 headache in 8.3%. Asymptomatic adverse radiologic events were radionecrosis in two (8.3%), peritumoural edema in four (16.7%), and hemorrhage in one patient (4.2%).
Lower SRS marginal doses do not appear to compromise survival in patients with eloquently located brain metastases compared with higher doses for other brain metastases, with minimal symptomatic complications.