External radiation of brain metastases from renal carcinoma: A retrospective study of 119 patients from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Marek Wroński, Moshe H. Maor, Brian J. Davis, Raymond Sawaya, Victor A. Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Purpose: Approximately 10% of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma are diagnosed with brain metastases. Most of these patients receive palliative radiotherapy and die of progressive brain metastatic disease. This retrospective study examines the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center experience with such patients who received only whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT). Methods and Materials: Records of 200 patients with brain metastases from renal carcinoma who were treated at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center between 1976 and 1993 were reviewed. Of these patients, 119 received WBRT only and constitute the basis of this study. Different prognostic factors were analyzed. Results: Overall median survival time from diagnosis of the brain metastases was 4.4 months. Multiple brain tumors were treated in 70 patients (58.8%) who had a survival of 3.0 months compared with 4.4 months for patients having a single brain metastasis (p = 0.043). Among 117 patients the causes of death were neurologic in 90 (76%), systemic cancer in 19 (16%), and unknown in 9 (8%). Survival rates at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years, were 33.6, 16.8, and 5.9%, respectively. Patients in whom brain metastases were diagnosed synchronously with a renal primary (n = 24) had a median survival time of 3.4 months compared with 3.2 months for those 95 who were diagnosed metachrunously (p < 0.79, NS). In the Cox multivariate analysis of 13 possible prognostic factors, only a single brain metastasis (p = 0.0329), lack of distant metastases at the time of diagnosis (p = 0.0056), and tumor diameter ≤ 2 cm (p < 0.0016) were statistically significant. Conclusion: These unsatisfactory results with WBRT suggest that more aggressive approaches, such as surgery or radiosurgery should be applied whenever possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-759
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 1997


  • Brain metastases
  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Whole brain radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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