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Open Access Research

Stereotactic radiosurgery for single brain metastases from non-small cell lung cancer: progression of extracranial disease correlates with distant intracranial failure

Marie-Adele S Kress1*, Eric Oermann2, Matthew G Ewend2, Riane B Hoffman2, Huma Chaudhry3 and Brian Collins1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Radiation Medicine, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Hospital, Lower Level Bles, 3800 Reservoir Road, N.W, Washington, DC 20007, USA

2 Department of Neurosurgery, University of North Carolina: Chapel Hill, 170 Manning Drive, CB 7060, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA

3 George Washington University, Ross Hall, 2300 Eye Street,NW, Washington DC 20037, USA

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Radiation Oncology 2013, 8:64  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-8-64

Published: 19 March 2013



Limited data exist regarding management of patients with a single brain lesion with extracranial disease due to non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


Eighty-eight consecutive patients with a single brain lesion from NSCLC in the presence of extracranial disease were treated with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) alone. Local control (LC), distant intracranial failure (DIF), overall survival (OS), and toxicity were assessed. The logrank test was used to identify prognostic variables.


Median OS was 10.6 months. One-year DIF was 61%; LC 89%. Treatments were delivered in 1-5 fractions to median BED10 = 60Gy. Five patients developed radionecrosis. Factors associated with shortened OS included poor performance status (PS) (p = 0.0002) and higher Recursive Partitioning Analysis class (p = 0.017). For patients with PS 0, median survival was 22 months. DIF was associated with systemic disease status (progressive vs. stable) (p = 0.0001), as was BED (p = 0.021) on univariate analysis, but only systemic disease (p = 0.0008) on multivariate analysis.


This study identifies a patient population that may have durable intracranial control after treatment with SRS alone. These data support the need for prospective studies to optimize patient selection for up-front SRS and to characterize the impact of DIF on patients’ quality of life.

Brain metastases; Non-small cell lung cancer; Palliative care; Distant intracranial failure; Stereotactic radiosurgery; CyberKnife