Stereotactic radiosurgery with or without whole-brain radiotherapy for brain metastases: an update.
Brain metastases are unfortunately a common occurrence in patients with cancer. Whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) is still considered the standard of care in the treatment of brain metastases. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) offers the additional ability to treat tumors with relative sparing of normal brain tissue in a single fraction. While the addition of SRS to WBRT has been shown to improve survival and local tumor control in selected patients, the idea of deferring WBRT in order to avoid its effects on normal tissues and using SRS alone continues to generate significant discussion and interest. Three recent randomized trials from Japan, Europe and the MD Anderson Cancer Center (TX, USA) have attempted to address this issue. In this article, we update a previous review by discussing these trials to compare the outcomes for SRS alone versus SRS plus WBRT for limited metastases. We also discuss recent nonrandomized evidence for the use of SRS alone for oligometastatic disease.