Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Stereotactic radiosurgery (SR) is being used with increasing frequency in the treatment of brain metastases. This study provides data from a clinical experience with radiosurgery in the treatment of cases with multiple metastases and identifies parameters that may be useful in the proper selection and therapy of these patients. From January 1993 to April 1997, 97 patients (43 women and 54 men; median age 58 years) suffering from multiple brain metastases (median 3; range 2–4) in MRI scans, received SR with the Gamma Knife. The median dose at the tumor margin was 20 Gy (range 17–30 Gy). Median tumor volume was 3900 cmm (range 100–10 000). Different forms of hemiparesis, focal and generalized seizures, cognitive deficit, headache, dizziness and ataxia had been the predominant neurological symptoms. Major histologies included lung carcinoma (44%), breast cancer (21%), renal cell carcinoma (10%), colorectal cancer (8%), and melanoma (7%). The median survival time was 6 months after SR. The actual one-year survival rate was 26%. In univariate and multivariate analysis, a higher Karnofsky performance rating and absence of extracranial metastases had a significantly positive effect on survival. Local tumor control was achieved in 94% of the patients. Complications included the onset of peritumoral edema (n=5) and necrosis (n=1). SR induces a significant tumor remission accompanied by neurological improvement and, therefore, provides the opportunity for prolonged high quality survival. We conclude that radiosurgical treatment of multiple brain metastases leads to an equivalent rate of survival when compared to the historic experience of patients treated with whole brain radiotherapy. Patients presenting initially with a higher Karnofsky performance rating and without extracranial metastases had a median survival time of nine months. Each such case should therefore be evaluated based on these factors to determine an optimal treatment regimen.
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