Management of Brain Metastasis in Patients With Pulmonary Neuroendocrine Carcinomas

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The patterns of intracranial failure in patients with brain metastasis from pulmonary neuroendocrine carcinoma (PNEC) remain unknown.


From 1998 to 2013, 29 patients with the diagnosis of PNEC were treated for brain metastasis: 16 patients (55%) underwent whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT), 5 (17%) patients underwent WBRT with a stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) boost, and 8 (28%) patients underwent primary SRS alone.


The median age at treatment was 61 years (range: 44-84 years) and the median follow-up was 9.6 months (0-157.4 months). Of the patients treated with SRS alone, 1 patient had radiographic local progression of disease and 1 patient had a distant intracranial failure. Of the patients treated with WBRT with or without an SRS boost, 9 patients developed intracranial progression, including 1 local failure. No differences in rates of intracranial progression or local failure between the 2 groups (P = .94 and P = .44, respectively) were observed. The actuarial rates of distant intracranial failure at 12 months were 32.9% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 8.9%-56.8%) and 25% (95% CI 0.0%-67.4%) in patients undergoing primary WBRT or SRS, respectively (P = .31). The median overall survival was 15.8 months in patients treated with WBRT and 20.4 months in patients treated with primary SRS (P = .78).


Patients with brain metastasis from PNECs can be effectively treated with either WBRT or SRS alone, with a pattern of failure more consistent with non-small cell lung cancer than small cell lung cancer. In this series, there was not a statistically significant increased risk of distant intracranial failure when patients were treated with primary SRS.

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