Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Brain Metastases: An International, Multicenter Study

Adomas Bunevicius, Sarah Fribance, Stylianos Pikis, John Y.K. Lee, Love Y. Buch, Michael Moran, Andrew I. Yang, Kenneth Bernstein, David Mathieu, Rémi Perron, Roman Liscak, Gabriela Simonova, Samir Patel, Daniel M. Trifiletti, Roberto Martínez Álvarez, Nuria Martínez Moreno, Cheng Chia Lee, Huai Che Yang, Ben A. Strickland, Gabriel ZadaEric L. Chang, Douglas Kondziolka, Jason Sheehan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Brain metastases (BM) from differentiated thyroid cancer are rare. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is commonly used for the treatment of BMs; however, the experience with SRS for thyroid cancer BMs remains limited. The goal of this international, multi-centered study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of SRS for thyroid cancer BMs. Methods: From 10 institutions participating in the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation, we pooled patients with established papillary or follicular thyroid cancer diagnosis who underwent SRS for histologically confirmed or radiologically suspected BMs. We investigated patient overall survival (OS), local tumor control, and adverse radiation events (AREs). Results: We studied 42 (52% men) patients who underwent SRS for 122 papillary (83%) or follicular (17%) thyroid cancer BMs. The mean age at SRS was 59.86 ± 12.69 years. The mean latency from thyroid cancer diagnosis to SRS for BMs was 89.05 ± 105.49 months. The median number of BMs per patient was 2 (range: 1-10 BMs). The median SRS treatment volume was 0.79 cm3 (range: 0.003-38.18 cm3), and the median SRS prescription dose was 20 Gy (range: 8-24 Gy). The median survival after SRS for BMs was 14 months (range: 3-58 months). The OS was significantly shorter in patients harboring ≥2 BMs, when compared with patients with one BM (Log-rank = 5.452, p = 0.02). Two or more BMs (odds ratio [OR] = 3.688; confidence interval [CI]: 1.143-11.904; p = 0.03) and lower Karnofsky performance score at the time of SRS (OR = 0.807; CI: 0.689-0.945; p = 0.008) were associated with shorter OS. During post-SRS imaging follow-up of 25.21 ± 30.49 months, local failure (progression and/or radiation necrosis) of BMs treated with SRS was documented in five (4%) BMs at 7.2 ± 7.3 months after the SRS. At the last imaging follow-up, the majority of patients with available imaging data had stable intracranial disease (33%) or achieved complete (26%) or partial (24%) response. There were no clinical AREs. Post-SRS peritumoral T2/fluid attenuated inversion recovery signal hyperintensity was noted in 7% BMs. Conclusion: The SRS allows durable local control of papillary and follicular thyroid cancer BMs in the vast majority of patients. Higher number of BMs and worse functional status at the time of SRS are associated with shorter OS in patients with thyroid cancer BMs. The SRS is safe and is associated with a low risk of AREs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1244-1252
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • brain metastases
  • local control
  • stereotactic radiosurgery
  • survival
  • thyroid cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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