External Validity of a Risk Stratification Score Predicting Early Distant Brain Failure and Salvage Whole Brain Radiation Therapy After Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Brain Metastases


      A scoring system using pretreatment factors was recently published for predicting the risk of early (≤6 months) distant brain failure (DBF) and salvage whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) alone. Four risk factors were identified: (1) lack of prior WBRT; (2) melanoma or breast histologic features; (3) multiple brain metastases; and (4) total volume of brain metastases <1.3 cm3, with each factor assigned 1 point. The purpose of this study was to assess the validity of this scoring system and its appropriateness for clinical use in an independent external patient population.


      We reviewed the records of 247 patients with 388 brain metastases treated with SRS between 2010 at 2013 at Levine Cancer Institute. The Press (Emory) risk score was calculated and applied to the validation cohort population, and subsequent risk groups were analyzed using cumulative incidence.


      The low-risk (LR) group had a significantly lower risk of early DBF than did the high-risk (HR) group (22.6% vs 44%, P=.004), but there was no difference between the HR and intermediate-risk (IR) groups (41.2% vs 44%, P=.79). Total lesion volume <1.3 cm3 (P=.004), malignant melanoma (P=.007), and multiple metastases (P<.001) were validated as predictors for early DBF. Prior WBRT and breast cancer histologic features did not retain prognostic significance. Risk stratification for risk of early salvage WBRT were similar, with a trend toward an increased risk for HR compared with LR (P=.09) but no difference between IR and HR (P=.53).


      The 3-level Emory risk score was shown to not be externally valid, but the model was able to stratify between 2 levels (LR and not-LR [combined IR and HR]) for early (≤6 months) DBF. These results reinforce the importance of validating predictive models in independent cohorts. Further refinement of this scoring system with molecular information and in additional contemporary patient populations is warranted.
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