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Upfront Immunotherapy Leads to Lower Brain Metastasis Velocity in Patients Undergoing Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Brain Metastases
Mohammed Abdulhaleem, Emmanuel Scott, Hannah Johnston, Scott Isom, Claire Lanier, Michael Lecompte, Christina K. Cramer, Jimmy Ruiz, Hui-Wen Lo, Kuonosuke Watabe, Stacey O’neill, Christopher Whitlow, Stephen B. Tatter, Adrian W. Laxton, Jing Su and Michael D Chan

Background: While immunotherapy has been shown to improve survival and decrease neurologic death in patients with brain metastases, it remains unclear whether this improvement is due to prevention of new metastasis to the brain.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of patients presenting with brain metastases simultaneously with the first diagnosis of metastatic disease and were treated with upfront immunotherapy as part of their treatment regimen and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to the brain metastases. We compared this cohort with a historical control population (prior to the immunotherapy era) who were treated with pre-immunotherapy standard of care systemic therapy and with SRS to the brain metastases.

Results: Median overall survival time was improved in the patients receiving upfront immunotherapy compared to the historical cohort (48 months vs 8.4 months, p=0.001). Median time to distant brain failure was statistically equivalent (p=0.3) between the upfront immunotherapy cohort and historical control cohort (10.3 vs 12.6 months). Brain metastasis velocity was lower in the upfront immunotherapy cohort (median 3.72 metastases per year) than in the historical controls (median 9.48 metastases per year, p=0.001). Cumulative incidence of neurologic death at one year was 12% in the upfront immunotherapy cohort and 28% in the historical control cohort (p=0.1).

Conclusion: Upfront immunotherapy appears to improve overall survival and decrease BMV compared to historical controls. While these data remain to be validated, they suggest that brain metastasis patients may benefit from concurrent immunotherapy with SRS.

Keywords: Stereotactic radiosurgery, immunotherapy, brain metastasis, BMV, overall survival

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