Stereotactic Radiosurgery With or Without Whole-Brain Radiation Therapy for Limited Brain Metastases: A Secondary Analysis of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group N0574 (Alliance) Randomized Controlled Trial

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2017 Dec 1;99(5):1173-1178. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2017.07.045. Epub 2017 Aug 5.


Purpose: To determine whether whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) is associated with improved overall survival among non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with favorable prognoses at diagnosis.

Methods and materials: In the N0574 trial, patients with 1 to 3 brain metastases were randomized to receive stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) or SRS plus WBRT (SRS + WBRT), with a primary endpoint of cognitive deterioration. We calculated diagnosis-specific graded prognostic assessment (DS-GPA) scores for NSCLC patients and evaluated overall survival according to receipt of WBRT and DS-GPA score using 2 separate cut-points (≥2.0 vs <2.0 and ≥2.5 vs <2.5).

Results: A total of 126 NSCLC patients were included for analysis, with median follow-up of 14.2 months. Data for DS-GPA calculation were available for 86.3% of all enrolled NSCLC patients. Overall, 50.0% of patients had DS-GPA score ≥2.0, and 23.0% of patients had DS-GPA scores ≥2.5. The SRS and SRS + WBRT groups were well balanced with regard to prognostic factors. The median survival according to receipt of WBRT was 11.3 months (+WBRT) and 17.9 months (-WBRT) for patients with DS-GPA ≥2.0 (favorable prognoses, P=.63; hazard ratio 0.86; 95% confidence interval 0.47-1.59). Median survival was 3.7 months (+WBRT) and 6.6 months (-WBRT) for patients with DS-GPA <2.0 patients (unfavorable prognoses, P=.85; hazard ratio 0.95; 95% confidence interval 0.56-1.62). Outcomes according to the receipt of WBRT and DS-GPA remained similar utilizing DS-GPA ≥2.5 as a cutoff for favorable prognoses. There was no interaction between the continuum of the DS-GPA groups and WBRT on overall survival (P=.53).

Conclusions: We observed no significant differences in survival according to receipt of WBRT in favorable-prognosis NSCLC patients. This study further supports the approach of SRS alone in the majority of patients with limited brain metastases.

Trial registration: NCT00377156.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / secondary*
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Cranial Irradiation / methods
  • Cranial Irradiation / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Radiosurgery / methods
  • Radiosurgery / mortality*
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / methods
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / mortality

Associated data