Initial SRS for Patients With 5 to 15 Brain Metastases: Results of a Multi-Institutional Experience

Ryan T. Hughes, Adrianna H. Masters, Emory R. McTyre, Michael K. Farris, Caroline Chung, Brandi R. Page, Lawrence R. Kleinberg, Jaroslaw Hepel, Joseph N. Contessa, Veronica Chiang, Jimmy Ruiz, Kounosuke Watabe, Jing Su, John B. Fiveash, Steve Braunstein, Samuel Chao, Albert Attia, Diandra N. Ayala-Peacock, Michael D. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Several studies evaluating stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for patients with >4 brain metastases (BM) demonstrated similar outcomes after treatment of 1, 2 to 4, and 5 to 15 BM; others found clinically significant survival decrements in the latter group. In this review of 8 academic centers, we compared outcomes of patients undergoing initial SRS for 1, 2 to 4, and 5 to 15 BM. Methods and Materials: A total of 2089 patients treated with initial SRS for BM were included. Overall survival (OS) was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the log-rank test. Patient and disease characteristics were evaluated for association with OS and cumulative incidence of distant brain failure (DBF) using stepwise multivariable Cox proportional hazards and competing risk regression modeling. Results: In this series, 989 (47%) patients had 1 metastasis, 882 (42%) had 2 to 4 metastases, and 212 (10%) had 5 to 15 metastases treated. Median OS for the 1, 2 to 4, and 5 to 15 BM groups was 14.6, 9.5, and 7.5 months, respectively (log-rank P < .01). Univariate and multivariable analyses revealed no difference in survival between 2 to 4 and 5 to 15 BM. DBF at 1 year was 30%, 41%, and 50%, respectively (Gray's P < .01). Two-year cumulative incidence of salvage SRS decreased with increasing number of BM (1: 21% vs 2-4: 19% vs 5-15: 13%; P < .01), but no difference in salvage whole brain radiation therapy was observed (1: 12% vs 2-4: 15% vs 5-15: 16%, P = .10). At the time of DBF, median brain metastasis velocity was 3.9, 6.1, and 11.7 new metastases per year in the 1, 2 to 4, and 5 to 15 BM groups, respectively (P < .01). Conclusions: Patients treated with initial SRS for 5 to 15 BM experienced survival similar to that in patients with 2 to 4 BM. Lower rates of salvage SRS were observed in the 5 to 15 BM group, with no difference in rates of salvage whole brain radiation therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1091-1098
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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