Brain Metastases: Stereotactic Radiation vs Surgery Compared

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Stephanie E. Weiss MD FASTRO Chief, Division of Neurologic Oncology Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology Director, Radiation Oncology Residency and Fellowship Training Program Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dr. Weiss

Dr. Stephanie E. Weiss MD FASTRO
Chief, Division of Neurologic Oncology
Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
Director, Radiation Oncology Residency and Fellowship Training Program
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Brain metastasis are the most common form of brain tumor.

Historically all patients received whole brain radiation as the primary therapy. Patients required neurosurgery to remove lesions if there was a question of diagnosis, what the diagnosis is and if there was a mass effect not relieved with steroids. Surgery was also indicated for patients with a single brain lesion because this offers a survival benefit over just receiving whole brain radiotherapy.

In 2003 a randomized trial proved that radiosurgery offers a similar benefit. So the question taxing patients and doctors at tumor boards since has been: which is better? If neurosurgery is superior, we are under-treating a lot of patients with radiosurgery. If radiosurgery is superior, we are subjecting a lot of patients to unnecessary brain surgery. Attempts to study this in a head-to-head randomized trial have failed. Patient and physician preference for one treatment or the other has proven to be a barrier to randomization and accrual. The EORTC 22952-2600 trial was originally designed to compare outcomes with and without whole brain radiation for patients receiving surgery or radiosurgery for brain metastasis.

We used this as the highest-quality source data available to compare local control of brain metastasis after surgery or radiosurgery, adjusted for by receipt or not of whole brain radiation.   Continue reading