Vol 25, No 3 (2020)
Original research articles
Published online: 2020-05-01

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Long-term survival results after treatment for oligometastatic brain disease

Carsten Nieder12, Mandy Hintz3, Ilinca Popp34, Angelika Bilger34, Anca L. Grosu34
DOI: 10.1016/j.rpor.2020.03.001
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2020;25(3):307-311.



The aim of this study was to characterize the survival results of patients with up to four brain metastases after intense local therapy (primary surgery or stereotactic radiotherapy) if extracranial metastases were absent or limited to one site, e.g. the lungs.


Oligometastatic disease has repeatedly been reported to convey a favorable prognosis.

Material and methods

This retrospective study included 198 German and Norwegian patients treated with individualized approaches, always including brain radiotherapy. Information about age, extracranial spread, number of brain metastases, performance status and other variables was collected. Uni- and multivariate tests were performed.


Median survival was 16.5 months (single brain metastasis) and 9.8 months (2–4, comparable survival for 2, 3 and 4), respectively (p = 0.001). After 5 years, 15 and 2% of the patients were still alive. In patients alive after 2 years, added median survival was 23 months and the probability of being alive 5 years after treatment was 26%. In multivariate analysis, extracranial metastases were not significantly associated with survival, while primary tumor control was.


Long-term survival beyond 5 years is possible in a minority of patients with oligometastatic brain disease, in particular those with a single brain metastasis. The presence of extracranial metastases to one site should not be regarded a barrier towards maximum brain-directed therapy.

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Reports of Practical Oncology and Radiotherapy