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Stereotactic radiosurgery preferred method of treating cancer patients with brain metastases
Date:10/6/2009

HOUSTON Cancer patients who receive stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) for the treatment of metastatic brain tumors have more than twice the risk of developing learning and memory problems than those treated with SRS alone, according to researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The findings of the phase III randomized trial are published in the October 5, 2009 online edition of the Lancet Oncology. Led by Eric L. Chang, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at M. D. Anderson, the study supports the use of SRS alone combined with close monitoring as the initial treatment strategy for cancer patients newly diagnosed with one to three brain metastases.

"Though both approaches are equally acceptable and practiced in the United States, these findings allow radiation oncologists to recommend the optimal treatment for this group of patients," Chang said. "This method is consistent with the trend of personalized medicine and tailoring therapies, rather than applying the "one size fits all" approach of giving WBRT to all patients with brain metastases."

The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 170,000 cancer patients will experience metastases to the brain from common primary cancers such as breast, colorectal, kidney and lung in 2009. More than 80,000 of those patients will have between one and three brain metastases.

Over the last decade, SRS, which uses high-doses of targeted x-rays, has gained acceptance as an initial treatment for tumors that have spread to the brain. SRS is also commonly used in combination with WBRT, radiation of the entire brain, to treat tumors that are visible and those that may not be detected by diagnostic imaging.

The seven year study observed 58 patients presenting with one to three newly diagnosed brain metastases who were randomized to receive SRS followed by WBRT or SRS alone. Ap
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Contact: Lindsay Anderson
lindsay.anderson@gabbe.com
212-220-4444
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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