Validation of the Disease-Specific GPA for Patients With 1 to 3 Synchronous Brain Metastases in Newly Diagnosed NSCLC

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The disease-specific graded prognostic assessment (DS-GPA) for brain metastases is a powerful prognostic tool but has not been validated for patients with synchronous brain metastases (SBM) in newly diagnosed non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Patients and Methods

We identified patients with newly diagnosed NSCLC with 1 to 3 SBM treated with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) between 1997 and 2012. We included patients whose brain metastases were treated with SRS alone or combined SRS and whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT). Patients were stratified according to NSCLC DS-GPA to evaluate the accuracy of survival estimates.


One hundred sixty-four patients were treated with either SRS alone (n = 85; 52%) or SRS and WBRT (n = 79; 48%). Median overall survival (OS) stratified according to DS-GPA of 0 to 1, 1.5 to 2, 2.5 to 3, and 3.5 to 4 were 2.8, 6.7, 9.8, and 13.2 months, respectively, consistent with OS reported for brain metastases in NSCLC DS-GPA (3.0, 6.5, 11.3, and 14.8 months, respectively). No difference in median progression-free survival or OS was noted with combined use of SRS and WBRT: 6.0 versus 6.1 months (P = .81) and 8.5 versus 9.1 months (P = .093), respectively. In multivariable analysis, Karnofsky performance status (hazard ratio [HR], 0.98; P = .008), extracranial metastases (HR, 0.498; P = .0003), squamous histology (HR, 1.81; P = .02), and number of brain metastases (2 vs. 1; HR, 1.504; P = .04, and 3 vs. 1; HR, 1.66; P = .05) were significant predictors of OS.


The DS-GPA accurately estimates the prognosis of patients with SBM in newly diagnosed NSCLC. Patients with synchronous brain metastasis in newly diagnosed NSCLC should be carefully stratified for consideration of aggressive therapy.


Graded prognostic assessment (GPA) for brain metastases is an important prognostic tool. Patients with brain metastasis from non–small-cell lung cancer at initial diagnosis might have a more favorable prognosis. We validate that the disease-specific GPA provides accurate prediction of survival rates in this population and identify performance status, extracranial metastases, squamous histology, and number of metastases as predictors of survival.

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