Stereotactic radiosurgery for the treatment of melanoma and renal cell carcinoma brain metastases

Shelly Lwu, Pablo Goetz, Eric Monsalves, Mandana Aryaee, Julius Ebinu, Norm Laperriere, Cynthia Menard, Caroline Chung, Barbara Ann Millar, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Mark Bernstein, Gelareh Zadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and melanoma brain metastases have traditionally been considered radioresistant lesions when treated with conventional radiotherapeutic modalities. Radiosurgery provides high-dose radiation to a defined target volume with steep fall off in dose at lesion margins. Recent evidence suggests that stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is effective in improving local control and overall survival for a number of tumor subtypes including RCC and melanoma brain metastases. The purpose of this study was to compare the response rate to SRS between RCC and melanoma patients and to identify predictors of response to SRS for these 2 specific subtypes of brain metastases. We retrospectively reviewed a prospectively maintained database of all brain metastases treated with Gamma Knife SRS at the University Health Network (Toronto, Ontario) between October 2007 and June 2010, studying RCC and melanoma patients. Demographics, treatment history and dosimetry data were collected; and MRIs were reviewed for treatment response. Log rank, Cox proportional hazard ratio and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis using SPSS were performed. A total of 103 brain metastases patients (41 RCC; 62 melanoma) were included in the study. The median age, Karnofsky performance status score and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance score was 52 years (range 27-81), 90 (range 70-100) and 1 (range 0-2), respectively. Thirty-four lesions received adjuvant chemotherapy and 56 received pre-SRS whole brain radiation therapy. The median follow-up, prescription dose, Radiation Therapy Oncology Group conformity index, target volume and number of shots was 6 months (range 1-41 months), 21 Gy (range 15-25 Gy), 1.93 (range 1.04-9.76), 0.4 cm3 (range 0.005-13.36 cm3) and 2 (range 1-22), respectively. Smaller tumor volume (P=0.007) and RCC pathology (P=0.04) were found to be positive predictors of response. Actuarial local control rate for RCC and melanoma combined was 89% at 6 months, 84% at 12 months, 76% at 18 months and 61% at 24 months. Local control at 12 months was 91 and 75% for RCC and melanoma, respectively. SRS is a valuable treatment option for local control of RCC and melanoma brain metastases. Smaller tumor volume and RCC pathology, predictors of response, suggest distinct differences in tumor biology and the extent of radioresponse between RCC and melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-412
Number of pages6
JournalOncology Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain metastases
  • Local control
  • Melanoma
  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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