Gamma knife radiosurgery in patients with advanced breast cancer undergoing bone marrow transplant

Kenneth J. Levin, Emad F. Youssef, Andrew E. Sloan, Rajiv Patel, Rana K. Zabad, Lucia Zamorano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Object. Recent studies have suggested a high incidence of cognitive deficits in patients undergoing high-dose chemotherapy, which appears to be dose related. Whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) has previously been associated with cognitive impairment. The authors attempted to use gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) to delay or avoid WBRT in patients with advanced breast cancer treated with high-dose chemotherapy and autologous bone marrow transplantation (HDC/ABMT) in whom brain metastases were diagnosed. Methods. A retrospective review of our experience from 1996 to 2001 was performed to identify patients who underwent HDC/ABMT for advanced breast cancer and brain metastasis. They were able to conduct GKS as initial management to avoid or delay WBRT in 12 patients following HDC/ABMT. All patients were women. The median age was 48 years (range 30-58 years). The Karnofsky Performance Scale score was 70 (range 60-90). All lesions were treated with a median prescription dose of 17 Gy (range 15-18 Gy) prescribed to the 50% isodose. Median survival was 11.5 months. Five patients (42%) had no evidence of central nervous system disease progression and no further treatment was given. Four patients were retreated with GKS and three of them eventually received WBRT as well. Two patients were treated with WBRT as the primary salvage therapy. The median time to retreatment with WBRT was 8 months after the initial GKS. Conclusions. Gamma knife radiosurgery can be effectively used for the initial management of brain metastases to avoid or delay WBRT in patients treated previously with HDC, with acceptable survival and preserved cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-665
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Brain metastasis
  • Breast cancer
  • Cognitive function
  • Gamma knife
  • Radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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