Surgical treatment of brain metastases from renal cell carcinoma
Between January 1976 and December 1986, 22 patients with renal cell carcinoma underwent surgical resection of brain metastases at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Ten of the patients had metastases limited to the brain and 12 also had extracranial metastases. Twenty patients received external radiotherapy. Five had craniotomy after failing radiation therapy and 15 had adjuvant radiotherapy. Two patients died within thirty days following craniotomy; the median survival of the remaining 20 patients was 20.9 +/- 6.8 months calculated according to a Weibull survival model. Variables examined in relation to survival included absence or presence of extracranial metastases at time of craniotomy, time interval between nephrectomy and diagnosis of cerebral metastases, neurologic status prior to craniotomy, location of the brain tumor, and patient age. None of the variables was significant at the 10 percent level by the Weibull analysis. However, three favorable prognostic factors, namely metachronous brain metastasis more than one year after nephrectomy, minimal or no neurologic deficit at time of craniotomy, and infratentorial lesions show a trend toward improved survival with p less than 0.20. The data suggest that surgical resection of a single and occasionally multiple brain metastases is warranted in selected patients with renal cell carcinoma.