News | Radiation Therapy | February 16, 2017

Targeted Radiosurgery Better Than Whole-brain Radiation for Treating Brain Tumors

Study shows effectiveness of radiosurgery in controlling spread of brain cancer after surgery

targeted radiosurgery, stereotactic radiosurgery, whole-brain radiation, brain tumor metastases, Cureus, University of Missouri School of Medicine study

February 16, 2017 — University of Missouri (MU) School of Medicine researchers compared two common postsurgical therapies for metastatic brain tumors and found that stereotactic radiosurgery can provide better outcomes for patients compared to whole-brain radiation.

During whole-brain radiation therapy, beams of radiation cover the entire brain. Because it treats the whole brain, the therapy is thought to control the spread of tumors by treating both identifiable and hidden cancerous cells. However, whole-brain radiation has been associated with a decline in cognitive functions that can negatively affect a patient’s quality of life.

In stereotactic radiosurgery, radiation is delivered to more precise areas of the brain. Because it is a targeted therapy, less collateral damage occurs to healthy brain tissue. As a result, patients experience less cognitive decline when compared to whole-brain radiation, and experience a higher quality of life.

"Although radiosurgery has been shown to be an effective post-surgical treatment for metastatic brain tumors, previous studies did not compare patient outcomes from a single hospital over the same period of time," said N. Scott Litofsky, M.D., chief of the Division of Neurological Surgery at the MU School of Medicine and senior author of the study. "Our study is one of the first to directly compare outcomes of patients treated at the same hospital during a set period of time. Ultimately, our findings reinforce the use of radiosurgery over whole-brain radiation."

Under Litofsky’s mentorship, Kristen Scheitler-Ring, a medical student doing a pathology fellowship at the MU School of Medicine, studied the outcomes of patients treated at MU Health Care from 2010 to 2014. After undergoing brain surgery to remove a metastatic tumor, 46 patients received whole-brain radiation, while 37 patients received radiosurgery. The researchers found that radiosurgery controlled the spread of the cancerous cells as effectively as whole-brain radiation; patients who received radiosurgery experienced less cognitive decline compared to those who received whole-brain radiation. Additionally, the median survival rate for patients who received radiosurgery was 440 days, compared to 202 days for patients who received whole-brain radiation.

"For patients with metastatic cancer of the brain, the importance of surviving for a longer period of time cannot be overstated," Litofsky said. "In our practice, we now treat patients almost exclusively with radiosurgery following their surgery. Although this therapy does cost more, results often can be achieved in one to three visits compared to 10 to 12 visits for whole-brain radiation. With these considerations, we strongly suggest physicians consider radiosurgery as an initial radiation treatment after surgery."

The study, "Radiosurgery to the Postoperative Tumor Bed for Metastatic Carcinoma Versus Whole Brain Radiation after Surgery," recently was published in the medical journal Cureus. Research reported in this publication was supported by a Bob Willis Medical Student Fellowship of the American Brain Tumor Association and a Medical Student Summer Research Fellowship from the MU School of Medicine Office of Medical Research. The researchers have no conflicts of interest to declare related to this study.

For more information: www.cureus.com

References

Scheitler-Ring, K., Ge, B., Petroski, G., Biedermann, G., et al. "Radiosurgery to the Postoperative Tumor Bed for Metastatic Carcinoma Versus Whole Brain Radiation After Surgery," Cureus. Published Nov. 19, 2016. doi:10.7759/cureus.885

Related Content

Shorter Radiotherapy Courses Safe and Effective for Prostate Cancer
News | Prostate Cancer | April 23, 2018
Radiotherapy given in high doses over a shorter period of time is safe and effective for prostate cancer patients,...
Elekta Expands Mosaiq Oncology Information System With PalabraApps
News | Oncology Information Management Systems (OIMS) | April 20, 2018
April 20, 2018 — Elekta announced that it is making a strategic investment in PalabraApps LLC to advance the developm
This image, taken with Canon's Aquilion One, shows a lung with metastases from bowel cancer.

This image, taken with Canon’s Aquilion One, shows a lung with metastases from bowel cancer. Image courtesy of Canon.

Feature | Lung Cancer | April 18, 2018 | Jeff Zagoudis
In recent years, low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening has emerged as a proven, effective method to detect lung
Varian Launches Velocity 4.0 Cancer Imaging Software
Technology | Treatment Planning | April 16, 2018
April 16, 2018 — Varian announced a new version of its Velocity cancer imaging software that includes Rapidsphere, a
First Patient Treated in Online Adaptive Radiotherapy Trial With CyberKnife System
News | Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) | April 06, 2018
Accuray Inc. and Erasmus MC announced the first patient has been successfully treated using an online-adaptive (OA)...
First Patient Treated on Mevion's S250i Proton Therapy System
News | Proton Therapy | April 05, 2018
Mevion Medical Systems announced the treatment of the first patient in the world on the Mevion S250i Proton Therapy...
ASTRO Updates Guidelines for Palliative Lung Radiation Therapy
News | Radiation Therapy | April 05, 2018
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) issued an update to its clinical guideline for the use of...
Combination Radiotherapy Beneficial in Treating Prostate Cancer
News | Prostate Cancer | March 27, 2018
March 27, 2018 — While there are many treatment options for men with...
Loyola Study Finds Medical Students Receive Little Formal Instruction in Radiation Oncology
News | Radiation Therapy | March 26, 2018
Medical school students receive little formal instruction in radiation oncology, a Loyola study has found.
Overlay Init