Purpose: The objective of this study was to report our experience with stereotactic radiosurgery performed with the Gamma Knife (GK) in the treatment of patients with brain metastases and to compare survival for those treated with radiosurgery alone with survival for those treated with radiosurgery and whole-brain radiotherapy.
Methods and materials: Prospectively collected demographic and clinical characteristics and treatment and survival data on 237 patients with intracranial metastases who underwent radiosurgery with the GK between 2003 and 2007 were reviewed. Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used to compare survival by demographic and clinical characteristics and treatment.
Results: The mean age of the patient population was 56 years. The most common tumor histologies were non-small-cell lung carcinoma (34.2%) and breast cancer (13.9%). The median overall survival time was 8.5 months from the time of treatment. The median survival times for patients with one, two/three, and four or more brain metastases were 8.5, 9.4, and 6.7 months, respectively. Patients aged 65 years or greater and those aged less than 65 years had median survival times of 7.8 and 9 months, respectively (p = 0.008). The Karnofsky Performance Score (KPS) at the time of treatment was a significant predictor of survival: those patients with a KPS of 70 or less had a median survival of 2.9 months compared with 10.3 months (p = 0.034) for those with a KPS of 80 or greater. There was no statistically significant difference in survival between patients treated with radiosurgery alone and those treated with radiosurgery plus whole-brain radiotherapy.
Conclusions: Radiosurgery with the GK is an efficacious treatment modality for brain metastases. A KPS greater than 70, histology of breast cancer, smaller tumor volume, and age less than 65 years were associated with a longer median survival in our study.