Prognostic Factors in Patients with Non-small Cell Lung Carcinoma and Brain Metastases: a Malaysian Perspective

  • Tang, Weng Heng (Clinical Oncology Unit, University of Malaya Medical Centre) ;
  • Alip, Adlinda (Clinical Oncology Unit, University of Malaya Medical Centre) ;
  • Saad, Marniza (Clinical Oncology Unit, University of Malaya Medical Centre) ;
  • Phua, Vincent Chee Ee (Clinical Oncology Unit, University of Malaya Medical Centre) ;
  • Chandran, Hari (Neurosurgical Unit, University of Malaya Medical Centre) ;
  • Tan, Yi Hang (Beacon Cancer Hospital) ;
  • Tan, Yan Yin (Beacon Cancer Hospital) ;
  • Kua, Voon Fong (Beacon Cancer Hospital) ;
  • Wahid, Mohamed Ibrahim (Beacon Cancer Hospital) ;
  • Tho, Lye Mun (Beacon Cancer Hospital)
  • Published : 2015.03.18


Background: Brain metastases occur in about 20-40% of patients with non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC), and are usually associated with a poor outcome. Whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) is widely used but increasingly, more aggressive local treatments such as surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) or stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) are being employed. In our study we aimed to describe the various factors affecting outcomes in NSCLC patients receiving local therapy for brain metastases. Materials and Methods: The case records of 125 patients with NSCLC and brain metastases consecutively treated with radiotherapy at two tertiary centres from January 2006 to June 2012 were analysed for patient, tumour and treatment-related prognostic factors. Patients receiving SRS/SRT were treated using Cyberknife. Variables were examined in univariate and multivariate testing. Results: Overall median survival was 3.4 months (95%CI: 1.7-5.1). Median survival for patients with multiple metastases receiving WBRT was 1.5 months, 1-3 metastases receiving WBRT was 3.6 months and 1-3 metastases receiving surgery or SRS/SRT was 8.9 months. ECOG score (${\leq}2$ vs >2, p=0.001), presence of seizure (yes versus no, p=0.031), treatment modality according to number of brain metastases (1-3 metastases+surgery or $SRS/SRT{\pm}WBRT$ vs 1-3 metastases+WBRT only vs multiple metastases+WBRT only, p=0.007) and the use of post-therapy systemic treatment (yes versus no, p=0.001) emerged as significant on univariate analysis. All four factors remained statistically significant on multivariate analysis. Conclusions: ECOG ${\leq}2$, presence of seizures, oligometastatic disease treated with aggressive local therapy (surgery or SRS/SRT) and the use of post-therapy systemic treatment are favourable prognostic factors in NSCLC patients with brain metastases.


Non-small cell lung carcinoma;brain metastases;stereotactic radiosurgery;Cyberknife


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