Radiotherapy for Brain Metastases From Renal Cell Carcinoma in the Targeted Therapy Era: The University of Rochester Experience

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Radiotherapy remains the standard approach for brain metastases from renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Kinase inhibitors (KI) have become standard of care for metastatic RCC. They also increase the radiosensitivity of various tumor types in preclinical models. Data are lacking regarding the effect of KIs among RCC patients undergoing radiotherapy for brain metastases. We report our experience of radiotherapy for brain metastatic RCC in the era of targeted therapy and analyzed effects of concurrent KI therapy.


We retrospectively analyzed 25 consecutive patients who received radiotherapy for brain metastases from RCC with whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), or both. Kaplan-Meier rates of overall survival (OS) and brain progression-free survival (BPFS) were calculated and univariate analyses performed.


Lower diagnosis-specific graded prognostic assessment (DS-GPA) score and multiple intracranial metastases were associated with decreased OS and BPFS on univariate analysis; DS-GPA is also a prognostic factor on multivariate analysis. There was no significant difference in OS or BPFS for SRS compared with WBRT or WBRT and SRS combined. The concurrent use of KI was not associated with any change in OS or BPFS.


This hypothesis-generating analysis suggests among patients with brain metastatic RCC treated with the most current therapies, those selected to undergo SRS did not experience significantly different survival or control outcomes than those selected to undergo WBRT. From our experience to date, limited in patient numbers, there seems to be neither harm nor benefit in using concurrent KI therapy during radiotherapy. Given that most patients progress systemically, we would recommend considering KI use during brain radiotherapy in these patients.

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