Purpose: A small fraction of patients with 1–2 brain metastases will not be suitable candidates to either surgical resection or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) due to either their location or their size. The objective of this study was to determine the local control, survival, patterns of relapse and the incidence of brain injury following a course of hypofractionated stereotactic radiotherapy while avoiding upfront whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) in this subgroup of patients. Methods: A Gill-Thomas removable head frame system was used for immobilization. Brain LAB software with dynamic multileaf collimator hardware was used to design and deliver an intensity-modulated radiation therapy treatment plan. A dose of 600 cGy was prescribed to the 100% isodose line that would encompass the lesion with a 3-mm margin. A total dose of 3,000 cGy was delivered in 5 fractions using 2 fractions per week. The patients were followed with neurological examination and serial MRI images done every 3 months following the procedure. Results: Twenty patients have been treated using this fractionation schedule since April 2004. The 1-year local control at the site of original disease is 70%. The complete response, partial response and stable disease at the last follow-up were 15, 30 and 45%, respectively. Two patients had local recurrence at the site of original disease, while 5 had evidence of leptomeningeal disease. Two additional patients developed new brain metastases, resulting in a 1-year brain relapse-free survival of 36% following this approach. The median overall survival was 8.5 months. Three patients (15%) developed steroid dependency lasting 3 months or longer following the procedure. Four patients (20%) needed WBRT as salvage following this approach. Conclusions: The preliminary results of hypofractionated SRS are comparable to both surgery and SRS data for solitary brain metastases in terms of local control and overall survival with acceptable morbidity in this cohort of unfavorable patients.
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