Re-Whole Brain Radiotherapy May Be One of the Treatment Choices for Symptomatic Brain Metastases Patients

Cancers (Basel). 2022 Oct 27;14(21):5293. doi: 10.3390/cancers14215293.


Generally, patients with multiple brain metastases receive whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT). Although, more than 60% of patients show complete or partial responses, many experience recurrence. Therefore, some institutions consider re-WBRT administration; however, there is insufficient information regarding this. Therefore, we aimed to review re-WBRT administration among these patients. Although most patients did not live longer than 12 months, symptomatic improvement was sometimes observed, with tolerable acute toxicities. Therefore, re-WBRT may be a treatment option for patients with symptomatic recurrence of brain metastases. However, physicians should consider this treatment cautiously because there is insufficient data on late toxicity, including radiation necrosis, owing to poor prognosis. A better prognostic factor for survival following radiotherapy administration may be the time interval of > 9 months between the first WBRT and re-WBRT, but there is no evidence supporting that higher doses lead to prolonged survival, symptom improvement, and tumor control. Therefore, 20 Gy in 10 fractions or 18 Gy in five fractions may be a reasonable treatment method within the tolerable total biological effective dose 2 ≤ 150 Gy, considering the biologically effective dose for tumors and normal tissues.

Keywords: biological effective dose; late toxicities; re-whole brain radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.