Radiation therapy (RT) is the primary treatment of intracranial metastasis (ICM) from lung cancer
(LC). Radiation necrosis
(RN) has been reported post-RT with an incidence of 5% to 24%. We reviewed the spectrum of imaging changes in patients treated with RT for ICM from LC in an effort to identify potential risk factors for RN.
We reviewed 63 patients with LC and ICM who received RT (radiosurgery [stereotactic radiosurgery
] with/without whole brain radiation therapy) at our institution between 2013 and 2018. Data evaluated included demographics, tumor type, ICM burden and location, chemotherapy, surgery, and RT details as well as treatment choices and outcomes.
Of the 63 patients, clinical and radiographic criteria for RN were noted in 24 (38%) as early as 2 months and as late as 5 years posttreatment. Six patients required surgical resection due to refractory symptoms revealing pathology-proven RN and occasionally tumor. Patients were significantly more likely to develop RN if they had surgical resection of an ICM (45.8% vs. 20.5%, P
=0.05). No differences were found in location, size, or genetic profile of lesions. In total, 80% of patients received treatment for symptoms and/or radiographic change. This was generally a combination of steroids, bevacizumab, laser interstitial thermal treatment, or surgical resection. Most patients required >1 treatment modality.
This review of outcomes of RT for ICM in LC demonstrates a higher rate of RN than previously reported in the literature in those having had a surgical resection plus stereotactic radiosurgery
. Our observation of RN as late as 5 years post-RT for ICM necessitates clinician awareness.