OBJECTIVE For patients with surgically accessible solitary metastases or oligometastatic disease, treatment often involves resection followed by postoperative stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). This strategy has several potential drawbacks, including irregular target delineation for SRS and potential tumor “seeding” away from the resection cavity during surgery. A neoadjuvant (preoperative) approach to radiation therapy avoids these limitations and offers improved patient convenience. This study assessed the efficacy of neoadjuvant SRS as a new treatment paradigm for patients with brain metastases. METHODS A retrospective review was performed at a single institution to identify patients who had undergone neoadjuvant SRS (specifically, Gamma Knife radiosurgery) followed by resection of a brain metastasis. Kaplan-Meier survival and log-rank analyses were used to evaluate risks of progression and death. Assessments were made of local recurrence and leptomeningeal spread. Additionally, an analysis of the contemporary literature of postoperative and neoadjuvant SRS for metastatic disease was performed. RESULTS Twenty-four patients who had undergone neoadjuvant SRS followed by resection of a brain metastasis were identified in the single-institution cohort. The median age was 64 years (range 32–84 years), and the median follow-up time was 16.5 months (range 1 month to 5.7 years). The median radiation dose was 17 Gy prescribed to the 50% isodose. Rates of local disease control were 100% at 6 months, 87.6% at 12 months, and 73.5% at 24 months. In 4 patients who had local treatment failure, salvage therapy included repeat resection, laser interstitial thermal therapy, or repeat SRS. One hundred thirty patients (including the current cohort) were identified in the literature who had been treated with neoadjuvant SRS prior to resection. Overall rates of local control at 1 year after neoadjuvant SRS treatment ranged from 49% to 91%, and rates of leptomeningeal dissemination from 0% to 16%. In comparison, rates of local control 1 year after postoperative SRS ranged from 27% to 91%, with 7% to 28% developing leptomeningeal disease. CONCLUSIONS Neoadjuvant SRS for the treatment of brain metastases is a novel approach that mitigates the shortcomings of postoperative SRS. While additional prospective studies are needed, the current study of 130 patients including the summary of 106 previously published cases supports the safety and potential efficacy of preoperative SRS with potential for improved outcomes compared with postoperative SRS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE8
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022


  • Brain metastasis
  • Neoadjuvant stereotactic radiosurgery
  • Preoperative
  • Resection


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