Assessing the Effectiveness of Systemic Therapy after Stereotactic Radiosurgery on Cancer Recurrence and All-Cause Mortality

Timour Al-Khindi, Colette J. Shen, Luke Peng, Kristin A Redmond, Michael Lim, Lawrence R Kleinberg, Chetan Bettegowda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Patients with cancer often present with brain metastases in the setting of controlled extracranial disease, for which they receive stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and surgical resection. The role of systemic therapy after SRS is unclear. Brain metastasis indicates active cancer dissemination, and microscopic systemic disease may be present despite absence of gross disease as assessed by conventional imaging modalities. Objective: The aim was to determine if post-SRS systemic therapy reduces the risk of brain relapse, systemic relapse, and death in patients with brain metastases and controlled extracranial disease. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 67 patients with controlled extracranial disease who received SRS for brain metastases. Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards regression were used to assess how post-SRS systemic therapy affected the risk of brain relapse, systemic relapse, and all-cause mortality. Results: In our sample, 31% of patients received systemic therapy after SRS. Post-SRS systemic therapy did not affect median time to brain relapse (P = 0.43), systemic relapse (P = 0.16), or death (P = 0.33) by univariate analysis. After accounting for confounding factors such as cancer histology and age, post-SRS systemic therapy significantly reduced the risk of brain relapse (hazard ratio [HR], 0.22; P = 0.002) but not systemic relapse (HR, 0.38; P = 0.09) or all-cause mortality (HR, 2.16; P = 0.09). Conclusions: Only a minority of patients with brain metastases and controlled extracranial disease receive adjuvant systemic therapy after SRS, but those that do have a reduced risk of brain relapse. Post-SRS systemic therapy may act prophylactically to reduce the risk of intracranial cancer recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Chemotherapy
  • Metastasis
  • Neoplasm recurrence
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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