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Overview of dosimetric and biological perspectives on radiosurgery of multiple brain metastases in comparison with whole brain radiotherapy
Jinyu Xue, Tamara LaCouture, Jimm Grimm, H. Warren Goldman, Geoffrey S. Ibbott, Ellen Yorke and Gregory J. Kubicek

Purpose: Treatment option of stereotactic radiosurgery versus whole brain radiotherapy for multiple brain metastases (>10) is an ongoing debate. Detailed dosimetric and biological information are presented in this study to investigate the possible clinical outcomes.

Materials and Methods: Nine patients with multiple brain metastases (11–25) underwent stereotactic radiosurgery. Whole brain radiotherapy plans are retrospectively designed with the same MR image set and the same structure set for each patient using the standard opposing lateral beams and fractionation (3 Gy × 10).

Physical doses and biologically effective doses are calculated for each lesion target and the CNS normal tissues and they are compared between whole brain radiotherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery in the context of clinical efficacy and published toxicities.

Results: Tumor biologically effective dose is higher in radiosurgery than in whole brain radiotherapy by factors of 3.2–5.3 in maximum dose and of 2.4–3.1 in mean dose. Biologically effective mean dose in radiosurgery is 1.3–34.3% for normal brain, 0.7–31.6% for brainstem, 0.5–5.7% for chiasm, 0.2–5.7% for optic nerves and 0.6–18.1% for hippocampus of that in whole brain radiotherapy over nine cases presented here. We also presented the dose-volume relationship for normal brain to address the dosimetric concerns in radiosurgery.

Conclusions: Dose-volume metrics presented in this study are essential to understanding the safety and efficacy of whole brain radiotherapy and/or radiosurgery for multiple brain metastases. Whole brain radiotherapy has resulted in higher incidence of radiation-related toxicities than radiosurgery. Even for patients with more than 10 brain metastases, the CNS normal tissues receive significantly lower doses in radiosurgery. Mean normal brain dose in SRS is found to correlate with the total volume of lesions rather than the number of lesions treated.

Keywords: whole brain radiotherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, multiple brain metastases, toxicities, biologically effective dose, radiation complication.

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