Research Article| Volume 130, P132-138, January 2019

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Inhomogeneous tumor dose distribution provides better local control than homogeneous distribution in stereotactic radiotherapy for brain metastases



      The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of inhomogeneous versus homogeneous dose distribution on local control (LC) and radionecrosis (RN) in patients treated with fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) for newly-diagnosed brain metastases (BM).

      Patients and methods

      From 2014 to 2017, 134 patients (median age 61 years) underwent SRT for BM (n = 114 with ≤2, n = 20 with 3–6 BM) at our institution. Treatment was delivered using volumetric modulated arc therapy on a linear accelerator. Ninety-one consecutive patients (BM = 136) were irradiated at a dose of 21–23.1 Gy in 3 fractions delivered homogeneously (99% of the dose had to cover 99% of the planning target volume (PTV)) (group 1) whereas the following 43 patients (BM = 72) received an inhomogeneous dose of 10 or 11 Gy prescribed to the isocenter with the 70% isodose line covering the PTV (group 2). Variables analyzed included dose distribution, age, gender, histology, diagnosis-specific Graded Prognostic Assessment score, number of brain metastases, presence of extracranial metastases, and tumor volumes.


      After a median follow-up of 12.4 months (range, 1.4–33.1), the 1-year LC and RN rate were 78% and 7.5% in group 1 and 93% and 0% in group 2, respectively (p = 0.005). In multivariate analysis, improved LC was significantly correlated with SRT dose distribution (p = 0.009) and tumor volume (p = 0.03). The number of metastases (p = 0.03) and SRT dose distribution (p = 0.04) were both associated with increased risk of RN.


      SRT delivered with inhomogeneous dose distribution resulted in better LC and a lower risk of RN compared to homogeneous distribution.


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