Role of Gamma Knife surgery in patients with 5 or more brain metastases

J Neurosurg. 2012 Dec;117 Suppl:5-12. doi: 10.3171/2012.8.GKS12983.


Object: The authors evaluated overall survival and factors predicting outcome in patients with ≥ 5 brain metastases who were treated with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS).

Methods: Medical records from patients with ≥ 5 brain metastases treated with GKS between 1997 and 2010 at the Cleveland Clinic Gamma Knife Center were retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographics, tumor characteristics, treatment-related factors, and outcome data were evaluated.

Results: One hundred seventy patients were identified, with a median age of 58 years. The female/male ratio was 1.2:1. Gamma Knife surgery was used as an upfront treatment in 35% of patients and as salvage treatment in 65% of patients with multiple brain metastases. The median overall survival after GKS was 6.7 months (95% CI 5.5-8.1). At the time of GKS, 128 patients (75%) had concurrent extracranial metastases, and in 69 patients (41%) multiple extracranial sites were involved. Ninety-two patients (54%) had a history of whole-brain radiation therapy, and 158 patients (93%) had a Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score ≥ 70. The median total intracranial disease volume was 3.2 cm(3) (range 0.2-37.2 cm(3)). A total intracranial tumor volume ≥ 10 cm(3) was observed in 32 patients (19%). Lower KPS score at the time of treatment (p < 0.0001), patient age > 60 years (p = 0.004), multiple extracranial metastases (p = 0.0001), and greater intracranial burden of disease (p = 0.03) were prognostic factors for poor outcome in the univariate and multivariate analyses.

Conclusions: In this study, GKS was safe and effective for upfront and salvage treatment in patients with ≥ 5 brain metastases. Gamma Knife surgery should be considered as an additional treatment modality for these patients, especially in the subset of patients with favorable prognostic factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / surgery*
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Radiosurgery / instrumentation*
  • Radiosurgery / mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salvage Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Salvage Therapy / mortality
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Burden