Neurosurgical resection for locally recurrent brain metastasis

Alexander F C Hulsbergen, Abdullah M Abunimer, Fidelia Ida, Vasileios K Kavouridis, Logan D Cho, Ishaan A Tewarie, Rania A Mekary, Philippe Schucht, John G Phillips, Joost J C Verhoeff, Marike L D Broekman, Timothy R Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: In patients with locally recurrent brain metastases (LRBMs), the role of (repeat) craniotomy is controversial. This study aimed to analyze long-term oncological outcomes in this heterogeneous population.

METHODS: Craniotomies for LRBM were identified from a tertiary neuro-oncological institution. First, we assessed overall survival (OS) and intracranial control (ICC) stratified by molecular profile, prognostic indices, and multimodality treatment. Second, we compared LRBMs to propensity score-matched patients who underwent craniotomy for newly diagnosed brain metastases (NDBM).

RESULTS: Across 180 patients, median survival after LRBM resection was 13.8 months and varied by molecular profile, with >24 months survival in ALK/EGFR+ lung adenocarcinoma and HER2+ breast cancer. Furthermore, 102 patients (56.7%) experienced intracranial recurrence; median time to recurrence was 5.6 months. Compared to NDBMs (n = 898), LRBM patients were younger, more likely to harbor a targetable mutation and less likely to receive adjuvant radiation (p < 0.05). After 1:3 propensity matching stratified by molecular profile, LRBM patients generally experienced shorter OS (hazard ratio 1.67 and 1.36 for patients with or without a mutation, p < 0.05) but similar ICC (hazard ratio 1.11 in both groups, p > 0.20) compared to NDBM patients with similar baseline. Results across specific molecular subgroups suggested comparable effect directions of varying sizes.

CONCLUSIONS: In our data, patients with LRBMs undergoing craniotomy comprised a subgroup of brain metastasis patients with relatively favorable clinical characteristics and good survival outcomes. Recurrent status predicted shorter OS but did not impact ICC. Craniotomy could be considered in selected, prognostically favorable patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2085-2094
Number of pages10
Issue number12
Early online date16 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Craniotomy
  • Local recurrence
  • Molecular markers
  • Propensity score matching
  • Recurrent brain metastasis


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