Breast Cancer Coverage From Every Angle

ASTRO 2017: Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Brain Metastases From Breast Cancer

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Monday, October 2, 2017

A study presented at the 2017 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting found that the use of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) over whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) for brain metastases from breast cancer is increasing, with evidence showing a reduction in cognitive decline without apparent adverse effects on survival (Abstract 2963). Although further research is necessary to determine the best treatment for such patients, Michelle S. Ludwig, MD, MPH, PhD, of the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, and colleagues reported longer median survival with SRS (17.9–25.5 months) than with WBRT (10.3–11.9 months).

The study included 2236 patients from the National Cancer Data Base, who were treated with radiation to the brain for metastases from primary breast cancer. Among the pool of patients, 2020 patients (90.3%) received WBRT, and 216 patients (9.7%) received SRS.

The use of SRS increased relative to WBRT from 2004–2008 to 2009–2013. Differences were also found among socioeconomic characteristics of patients, including median income, facility academic status, and insurance type. For instance, WBRT was used more often than SRS for uninsured patients and for those in the bottom two income quartiles.