American Society for Radiation Oncology

View all recommendations from this society

Released September 15, 2014; rationale updated June 21, 2016

Don’t routinely add adjuvant whole brain radiation therapy to stereotactic radiosurgery for limited brain metastases.

Primary analyses of randomized studies have demonstrated no overall survival benefit from the addition of adjuvant whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) to stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in the management of selected patients with good performance status and brain metastases from solid tumors.

The addition of WBRT to SRS is associated with diminished cognitive function and worse patient-reported fatigue and quality of life. These results are consistent with the worsened self-reported cognitive function and diminished verbal skills observed in randomized studies of prophylactic cranial irradiation for small cell or non-small-cell lung cancer.

Patients treated with radiosurgery for brain metastases can develop metastases elsewhere in the brain. Careful surveillance and the judicious use of salvage therapy at the time of brain relapse allow appropriate patients to enjoy the highest quality of life without a detriment in overall survival. Patients should discuss these options with their radiation oncologist.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

1–5: Following approval of the participation of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in the Choosing Wisely campaign, a survey was sent to ASTRO committees and panels related to health policy, government relations, and clinical affairs and quality in order to identify potential items for inclusion in the list. A work group, comprised of seven physicians drawn from these three areas, was also selected and convened. The work group members were asked to pick their top eight items from the total of 34 topics that had been suggested in the initial survey. The results were tabulated and a list of the highest scoring items generated, creating a short list of 13 draft items.

Three conference calls were subsequently held to further refine the list and finalize the wording of the items based on input from ASTRO’s Board of Directors. A literature review was conducted for each topic by ASTRO staff and each work group member took the lead on writing text and selecting references for one or more draft items. The final items for submission were selected by ASTRO’s Board of Directors. ASTRO’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at: www.astro.org.

6–10: In January 2014, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) formed a group to develop its second Choosing Wisely list, which included representatives from health policy, government relations, and clinical affairs and quality. The work group began by narrowing a list of 28 draft concepts to nine potential Choosing Wisely items. Next, an electronic anonymous survey was sent to the ASTRO membership to rate the value and relevancy of each of the items. The survey also included an open text box for members to comment on the suggested items and to provide additional ideas for Choosing Wisely items. Based on the survey results, the work group submitted a short list of eight items to the ASTRO Board of Directors, from which the Board chose five items to move forward.

Literature reviews were conducted for the five Choosing Wisely items selected by the Board and the group drafted verbiage, bullet points and references for each item. Following a second review by the Board of Directors, one of the items was replaced with an alternate item from the short list. The final list received approval from the Board and was then submitted to the ABIM Foundation. ASTRO’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at: www.astro.org.

Sources

Soffietti R, Kocher M, Abacioqlu UM, Villa S, Fauchon F, Baumert BG, Fariselli L, Tzuk-Shina T, Kortmann, RD, Carrie C, Ben Hassel M, Kouri M, Valeinis E, van den Berge D, Mueller RP, Tridello G,Collette L, Bottomley A. A European organisation for research and treatment of cancer phase III trial of adjuvant whole-brain radiotherapy versus observation in patients with one to three brain metastases from solid tumors after surgical resection or radiosurgery: quality-of-life results. J Clin Oncol. 2013 Jan 1;31(1):65–72.

Chang EL, Wefel JS, Hess KR, Allen PK, Lang FF, Kornguth DG, Arbuckle RB, Swint JM, Shiu AS, Maor MH, Meyers CA. Neurocognition in patients with brain metastases treated with radiosurgery or radiosurgery plus whole-brain irradiation: a randomized controlled trial. Lancet. 2009 Nov;10(11):1036–44.

Aoyama H, Shirato H, Tago M, Nakagawa K, Toyoda T, Hatano K, Kenjyo M, Oya N, Hirota S, Shioura H, Kunieda E, Inomata T, Hayakawa K, Katoh N, Kobashi G. Stereotectic radiosurgery plus whole-brain radiation therapy vs stereotactic radiosurgery alone for treatment of brain metastases: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2006 Dec 7;295(21):2483–91.

Kocher M, Soffietti R, Abacioglu U, Villà S, Fauchon F, Baumert BG, Fariselli L, Tzuk-Shina T, Kortmann RD, Carrie C, Ben Hassel M, Kouri M, Valeinis E, van den Berge D, Collette S, Collette L, Mueller RP. Adjuvant whole-brain radiotherapy versus observation after radiosurgery or surgical resection of one to three cerebal mestastases: results of the EORTC 22952–26001 study. J Clin Oncol. 2011 Jan 10;29(2):134–41.

Gondi V, Paulus R, Bruner DW, Meyers CA, Gore EM, Wolfson A, Werner-Wasik M, Sun AY, Choy H, Movsas B. Decline in tested and self-reported cognitive functioning after prophylactic cranial irradiation for lung cancer: pooled secondary analysis of R adiation Therapy Oncology Group randomized trials 0212 and 0214 . Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2013 Jul 15;86(4):656–64.