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Romagna, Alexander; Schwartz, Christoph; Egensperger, Rupert; Watson, Juliana; Tonn, Jörg-Christian; Belka, Claus; Kreth, Friedrich-Wilhelm; Nachbichler, Silke Birgit (2016): Iodine-125 brachytherapy as upfront and salvage treatment for brain metastases. In: Strahlentherapie und Onkologie, Vol. 192, No. 11: pp. 780-788
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Abstract

Background Outcome and toxicity profiles of salvage stereotactic ablative radiation strategies for recurrent pre-irradiated brain metastases are poorly defined. This study compared risk-benefit profiles of upfront and salvage iodine-125 brachytherapy (SBT) for small brain metastases. As the applied SBT treatment algorithm required histologic proof of metastatic brain disease in all patients, we additionally aimed to elucidate the value of biopsy before SBT. Patients and methods Patients with small untreated (n = 20) or pre-irradiated (n = 28) suspected metastases intended for upfront or salvage SBT, respectively, were consecutively included. Temporary iodine-125 implants were used (median reference dose: 50 Gy, median dose rate: 15 cGy/h). Cumulative biologically effective doses (BED) were calculated and used for risk assessment. Treatment toxicity was classified according to Radiation Therapy Oncology Group/European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (RTOG/EORTC) criteria. Results Upfront SBT was initiated in 20 patients and salvage SBT in 23. In 5 patients, salvage SBT was withheld because of proven radiation-induced lesions. Treatment groups exhibited similar epidemiologic data except for tumor size (which was slightly smaller in the salvage group). One-year local/distant tumor control rates after upfront and salvage SBT were similar (94%/65% vs. 87%/57%, p = 0.45, respectively). Grade I/II toxicity was suffered by 2 patients after salvage SBT (cumulative BED: 192.1 Gy(3) and 249.6 Gy(3)). No toxicity-related risk factors were identified. Conclusion SBT combines diagnostic yield with effective treatment in selected patients. The low toxicity rate in the salvage group points to protective radiobiologic characteristics of continuous low-dose rate irradiation. Upfront and salvage SBT are similarly effective and safe. Histologic reevaluation should be reconsidered after previous radiotherapy to avoid under-or overtreatment.