Radiotherapy for cerebral metastases

Neurosurg Clin N Am. 1996 Jul;7(3):505-15.


Whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) for patients with unresected brain metastases results in symptomatic response in about 50% of patients and improvement in median survival to 3 to 6 months. Most patients with brain metastases are appropriately treated with a conventional palliative course of 30 Gy in 10 fractions over 2 weeks, although accelerated hyperfractionation with 32 Gy to the whole brain plus a boost to at least 54.4 Gy at 1.6 Gy twice daily yields better results for patients with solitary metastases. Patients with a life-expectancy of greater than 6 months should receive at most that or equal to 2.0 Gy per fraction to minimize the risk of radiation-induced leukoencephalopathy and dementia. Patients with good performance status, absent or controlled primary tumor, and no extracranial metastases might benefit from surgical resection or radiosurgery (with or without adjunctive WBRT) to improve local control.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Radiotherapy / methods
  • Radiotherapy Dosage