Pre-treatment factors associated with detecting additional brain metastases at stereotactic radiosurgery

J Neurooncol. 2016 Jun;128(2):251-7. doi: 10.1007/s11060-016-2103-3. Epub 2016 Mar 10.


The number of brain metastases identified on diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a key factor in consideration of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). However, additional lesions are often detected on high-resolution SRS-planning MRI. We investigated pre-treatment clinical characteristics that are associated with finding additional metastases at SRS. Patients treated with SRS for brain metastases between the years of 2009-2014 comprised the study cohort. All patients underwent frame-fixed, 1 mm thick MRI on the day of SRS. Patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics were analyzed for an association with increase in number of metastases identified on SRS-planning MRI. 289 consecutive SRS cases were analyzed. 725 metastases were identified on pre-treatment MRI and 1062 metastases were identified on SRS-planning MRI. An increase in the number of metastases occurred in 34 % of the cases. On univariate analysis, more than four metastases and the diameter of the largest lesion were significantly associated with an increase in number of metastases on SRS-planning MRI. When stratified by the diameter of the largest lesion into <2, 2-3, or ≥3 cm, additional metastases were identified in 37, 29, and 18 %, respectively. While this increase in the number of metastases is largely due to the difference in imaging technique, the number and size of the metastases were also associated with finding additional lesions. These clinical factors may be considered when determining treatment options for brain metastases.

Keywords: Brain metastasis; MRI; Stereotactic radiosurgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiosurgery*
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted*
  • Tumor Burden
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents