Background: To evaluate the therapeutic strategies commonly employed in the clinic for the management of brain metastases (BMs) and to correlate disease outcome with type of treatment and therapeutic resources available at the treating center.
Methods: Four Cancer centres participated to the survey. Data were collected through a questionnaire filled in by one physician for each centre.
Results: Clinical data regarding 290 cancer patients with BMs from solid tumors were collected. Median age was 59 and 59% of patients had ≤ 3 brain metastases. A local approach (surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery) was adopted in 31% of patients. The local approach demonstrated to be superior in terms of survival compared to the regional/systemic approach (whole brain radiotherapy and chemotherapy, p = <.0001 for survival at 2 years). In the multivariate analysis local treatment was an independent prognostic factor for survival. When patients were divided into 2 groups whether they were treated in centers where local approaches were available or not (group A vs group B respectively, 58% of patients with ≤ 3 BMs in both cohorts), more patients in group A received local strategies although no difference in time to brain progression at 1 year was observed between the two groups of patients.
Conclusions: In clinical practice, local strategies should be integrated in the management of brain metastases. Proper selection of patients who are candidate to local treatments is of crucial importance.