Resection for solitary brain metastasis. Role of adjuvant radiation and prognostic variables in 229 patients

J Neurosurg. 1992 Oct;77(4):531-40. doi: 10.3171/jns.1992.77.4.0531.


The authors reviewed 229 consecutive patients treated intramurally by resection of solitary cerebral metastasis. Patients were classified into four groups on the basis of whether a gross total resection or subtotal resection was performed and whether systemic disease was present or absent at the time of craniotomy. Group 1 had gross total resection and no systemic disease; Group 2 had subtotal resection and no systemic disease; Group 3 had subtotal resection and systemic disease; and Group 4 had gross total resection and systemic disease. All four groups were further subdivided into Subgroup A (adjuvant whole-brain radiation therapy) or Subgroup B (no adjuvant radiation). Data were collected regarding multiple patient and tumor variables for multivariate analysis. Survival data for the 46 patients in Group 1A (median 1.3 years, 2-year survival rate 41%, 5-year survival rate 21%) were markedly better than those for the 75 in Group 1B (median 0.7 year, 2-year survival rate 19%, 5-year survival rate 4%). The 20 patients in Group 2A also had superior survival data (median 1.1 years, 2-year survival rate 30%, 3-year survival rate 30%) when compared with the eight patients in Group 2B (median 3 months, 1-year survival rate 0%). However, the 16 and 22 patients in Groups 3A and 4A, respectively, had no discernible differences compared to the seven and 35 patients in their Group 3B and 4B counterparts. Multivariate analyses were performed to assess the association of survival with multiple patient, disease, and treatment variables. Poor neurological status and systemic disease were significantly associated with inferior survival, while longer (greater than 36 months) intervals between primary diagnosis and craniotomy were significantly associated with improved survival. After adjusting for the effects of other patient, disease, and treatment characteristics, adjuvant whole-brain radiotherapy was significantly associated with improved survival times. These data support the continued use of craniotomy followed by adjuvant whole-brain radiation therapy for treatment of solitary brain metastasis. However, this aggressive therapy appears relatively contraindicated in the face of either systemic disease or substantial neurological deficit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Craniotomy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Rate