What is the role of multimodality therapy in the treatment of brain metastasis?

Updated: Aug 01, 2018
  • Author: Victor Tse, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
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In 2 prospective randomized trials, surgical resection plus WBRT was more effective than WBRT alone in controlling disease. The combination had a median survival of 8-16 months and 7-15% local recurrence rates. The role of adjunctive WBRT after surgery for a solitary lesion is controversial.

Postoperative WBRT reduces the recurrence rate but does not affect overall survival.

In 1 comparison of radiosurgery plus WBRT versus WBRT alone in patients with multiple metastases (2-4 tumors, < 25-mm total diameter), combined therapy was most effective in controlling disease and that it had a survival advantage (median time to local failure of 36 vs 6 mo).

WBRT after surgery or radiosurgery is controversial. Local control is best with a combined approach, but functional scores and overall survival were not clearly different.

The growing trend is to postpone WBRT until recurrence and to use fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy with radiosensitizers (eg, gadolinium texaphyrin, RSR13).

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