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Simultaneous in-field boost for patients with 1 to 4 brain metastasis/es treated with volumetric modulated arc therapy: a prospective study on quality-of-life

Damien C Weber12*, Francesca Caparrotti1, Mohamed Laouiti1 and Karim Malek1

Author Affiliations

1 Radiation Oncology Department, Département de l'Imagerie Médical et Science de l'Information (DIMSI), Geneva University Hospital/University of Geneva, CH-1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland

2 University of Geneva, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland

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Radiation Oncology 2011, 6:79  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-6-79

Published: 30 June 2011



To assess treatment toxicity and patients' survival/quality of life (QoL) after volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) with simultaneous in-field boost (SIB) for cancer patients with 1 - 4 brain metastases (BM) treated with or without surgery.

Methods and Materials

Between March and December 2010, 29 BM patients (total volume BM, < 40 cm3) aged < 80 years, KPS ≥ 70, RPA < III were included in this prospective trial. Whole brain VMAT (30 Gy) and a SIB to the BM (40 Gy) was delivered in 10 fraction. Mean age was 62.1 ± 8.5 years. Fifteen (51.7%) underwent surgery. KPS and MMSE were prospectively assessed. A self-assessed questionnaire was used to assess the QoL (EORTC QLQ-C30 with -BN20 module).


As of April 2011 and after a mean FU of 5.4 ± 2.8 months, 14 (48.3%) patients died. The 6-month overall survival was 55.1%. Alopecia was only observed in 9 (31%) patients. In 3-month survivors, KPS was significantly (p = 0.01) decreased. MMSE score remained however stable (p = 0.33). Overall, QoL did decrease after VMAT. The mean QLQ-C30 global health status (p = 0.72) and emotional functional (p = 0.91) scores were decreased (low QoL). Physical (p = 0.05) and role functioning score (p = 0.01) were significantly worse and rapidly decreased during treatment. The majority of BN20 domains and single items worsened 3 months after VMAT except headaches (p = 0.046) and bladder control (p = 0.26) which improved.


The delivery of 40 Gy in 10 fractions to 1 - 4 BM using VMAT was achieved with no significant toxicity. QoL, performance status, but not MMSE, was however compromised 3 months after treatment in this selected cohort of BM patients.