Purpose: To identify important prognostic factors predictive of survival and tumor control in patients with metastatic melanoma to the brain who underwent gamma knife radiosurgery.
Methods and materials: A total of 122 consecutive patients with 332 intracranial melanoma metastases underwent gamma knife radiosurgery over a 5-year period. Of these, 39 (32%) also received whole-brain irradiation (WBI). The median tumor volume was 0.8 cm(3) (range: 0.02-30.20 cm(3)), and the median prescribed dose was 20 Gy (range: 14-24 Gy). Median follow-up was 6.8 months. Univariate and multivariate analyses of survival and freedom from progression were performed using the following parameters: status of systemic disease, intracranial tumor volume, number of lesions, tumor location, Karnofsky performance status, gender, age, and WBI.
Results: Overall median survival was 7.0 months from time of radiosurgery and 9.1 months from the onset of brain metastasis. In multivariate analysis, improved survival was noted in patients with total intracranial tumor volume <3 cm(3) (p = 0.003) and inactive systemic disease (p = 0.0065), whereas other parameters studied were of lesser importance (tumor location, p = 0.056, and Karnofsky performance status, p = 0.086), or of no significance (number of lesions, WBI, age, and gender). Freedom from subsequent brain metastasis depended on intracranial tumor volume (p = 0.0018) and status of systemic disease (p = 0.034).
Conclusions: Stereotactic radiosurgery is an effective treatment modality for patients with intracranial metastatic melanoma. Tumor volume and status of systemic disease are good independent predictors of survival and freedom from tumor progression.