Oligometastatic disease, the curative challenge in radiation oncology

World J Clin Oncol. 2015 Aug 10;6(4):30-4. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v6.i4.30.


The concept of oligometastatic disease was first described by Hellman and Weichselbaum in 1995. The mere insight of this concept led to the hypothesis that this disease may be cured using local ablative weapons. Surgery has already demonstrated this hypothesis. Surgery limitations, either technical or due to refusal or associated comorbidity, have led to implement alternative ablative options such as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). SBRT evolved from (stereotactic radiosurgery) because of the need to irradiate extracranial lesions and has been shown to be safe and effective. SBRT achieves local control rates ranging from 70%-90%, but highly variable survival rates depending on the group analyzed. Series with heterogeneous metastatic sites and tumor origin have reported 20% survival rates at 2-3 years, similar to those achieved with surgery. Despite its excellent results, SBRT still faces significant clinical challenges. Its optimal integration with systemic treatment is unknown, and response assessment is very difficult. However, the greatest challenge lies in selection of patients most likely to remain oligometastatic, those who will most benefit from the technique. Biomarkers, molecular signatures, that accurately predict the biological behavior of malignancy are needed. The expression profile of specific miRNAs has been shown to have a potential in this regard.

Keywords: Curative intent; Oligometastases; Radiotherapy; Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy; Stereotactic body radiation therapy; Stereotactic body radiotherapy.