Gamma Knife Preserves Neurocognitive Function for People with Brain Metastases

Researchers participating in a national multi-institutional study have found that stereotactic radiosurgery, such as the Gamma Knife Perfexion at The Valley Hospital, more effectively preserves neurocognitive function versus whole-brain radiation therapy for the treatment of brain metastases. They presented these results at the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.

Whole-brain radiation therapy has long been the standard treatment for people whose cancer, such as lung or breast cancer, has spread from its primary site to the brain. This treatment uses low-dose radiation over several treatment sessions to treat the entire brain. While whole-brain radiation has been effective in controlling existing tumors and preventing future tumor growth, patients have been shown to suffer considerable neurocognitive impairment, including memory loss and language deficits.

Why Gamma Knife Is Different

In contrast, stereotactic radiosurgery, such as the Gamma Knife, delivers high-dose radiation in a single session with pinpoint accuracy to effectively treat tumors while sparing the surrounding normal brain. In the study, 213 patients were treated with stereotactic radiosurgery or stereotactic radiosurgery plus whole-brain radiation therapy. Those patients who received additional whole-brain radiation performed significantly worse on neurocognitive testing. What’s more, the addition of whole-brain radiation didn’t increase survival rates.

These findings suggest that stereotactic radiosurgery is an effective primary treatment for brain metastases. Learn more about the benefits of Gamma Knife treatment.

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