Factors affecting the risk of brain metastases after definitive chemoradiation for locally advanced non-small-cell lung carcinoma

T. J. Robnett, M. Machtay, J. P. Stevenson, K. M. Algazy, S. M. Hahn

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160 Scopus citations


Purpose: As therapy for locally advanced non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) improves, brain metastases (BM) may become a greater problem. We analyzed our chemoradiation experience for patients at highest risk for the brain as the first failure site. Methods: Records for 150 consecutive patients with stage II/III NSCLC treated definitively with chemoradiation from June 1992 to June 1998 at the University of Pennsylvania were reviewed. Most patients (89%) received cisplatin, paclitaxel, or both. All had negative brain imaging before treatment. Posttreatment brain imaging was performed for suspicious symptoms. Incidence of BM was examined as a function of age, sex, histology, stage, performance status, weight loss, tumor location, surgery, radiation dose, initial radiation field, chemotherapy regimen, and chemotherapy timing. Results: Crude and 2-year actuarial rates of BM were 19% and 30%, respectively. Among pretreatment parameters, stage IIIB was associated with a higher risk of BM (P < .04) versus stage II/IIIA. Histology alone was not significant (P <. 12), although patients with IIIB nonsquamous tumors had an exceptionally high 2-year BM rate of 42% (P < .01 v all others). Examining treatment-related parameters, crude and 2-year actuarial risk of BM were 27% and 39%, respectively, in patients receiving chemotherapy before radiotherapy and 15% and 20%, respectively, when radiotherapy was not delayed (P < .05). On multivariate analysis, timing of chemotherapy (P < .01) and stage IIIA versus IIIB (P < .01) remained significant. Conclusion: Patients with later stage, nonsquamous NSCLC, particularly those receiving induction chemotherapy, have sufficiently common BM rates to justify future trials including prophylactic cranial irradiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1344-1349
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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