Purpose Whereas whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) has been the standard treatment of brain metastases (BMs), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is increasingly preferred to avoid cognitive dysfunction; however, it has not been clearly determined whether treatment with SRS is as effective as that with WBRT or WBRT plus SRS. We thus assessed the noninferiority of salvage SRS to WBRT in patients with BMs. Patients and Methods Patients age 20 to 79 years old with performance status scores of 0 to 2-and 3 if caused only by neurologic deficits-and with four or fewer surgically resected BMs with only one lesion > 3 cm in diameter were eligible. Patients were randomly assigned to WBRT or salvage SRS arms within 21 days of surgery. The primary end point was overall survival. A one-sided a of .05 was used. Results Between January 2006 and May 2014, 137 and 134 patients were enrolled in the WBRT and salvage SRS arms, respectively. Median overall survival was 15.6 months in both arms (hazard ratio, 1.05; 90% CI, 0.83 to 1.33; one-sided P for noninferiority = .027). Median intracranial progression-free survival of patients in the WBRT arm (10.4 months) was longer than that of patients in the salvage SRS arm (4.0 months). The proportions of patients whose Mini-Mental Status Examination and performance status scores that did not worsen at 12 months were similar in both arms; however, 16.4% of patients in the WBRT arm experienced grade 2 to 4 cognitive dysfunction after 91 days postenrollment, whereas only 7.7% of those in the SRS arm did (P = .048). Conclusion Salvage SRS is noninferior to WBRT and can be established as a standard therapy for patients with four or fewer BMs.
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