Outcomes following stereotactic radiosurgery or whole brain radiation therapy by molecular subtype of metastatic breast cancer

Waqar Haque, Vivek Verma, Sebastian Adeberg, Robert Rustomily, Simon Lo, E. Brian Butler, Bin S. Teh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: This study quantified clinical outcomes by molecular subtype of metastatic breast cancer (BC) following whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). Doing so is important for patient counseling and to assess the potential benefit of combining targeted therapy and brain radiotherapy for certain molecular subtypes in ongoing trials. Materials and methods: The National Cancer Database was queried for BC (invasive ductal carcinoma) cases receiving brain radiotherapy (divided into WBRT and SRS ). Statistics included multivariable logistic regression to determine factors associated with SRS delivery, Kaplan-Meier analysis to evaluate overall survival (OS), and Cox proportional hazards modeling. Results: Of 1,112 patients, 186 (16.7%) received SRS and 926 (83.3%) underwent WBRT. Altogether, 410 (36.9%), 195 (17.5%), 162 (14.6%), and 345 (31.0%) were ER+/HER2–, ER+/HER2+, ER–/HER2+, and ER–/HER2–, respectively. In the respective molecular subtypes, the proportion of subjects who underwent SRS was 13.4%, 19.4%, 24.1%, and 15.7%. Respective OS for WBRT patients were 12.9, 22.8, 10.6, and 5.8 months; corresponding figures for the SRS cohort were 28.3, 40.7, 15.0, and 12.9 months (p < 0.05 for both). When comparing OS between treatment different histologic subtypes, patients with ER-/HER2+ and ER–/HER2– disease had worse OS than patients with ER+/HER2– disease, for both patients treated with SRS and for patients treated with WBRT. Conclusions: Molecular subtype may be a useful prognostic marker to quantify survival following SRS /WBRT for metastatic BC. Patients with HER 2-enriched and triple-negative disease had the poorest survival following brain irradiation, lending credence to ongoing studies testing the addition of targeted therapies for these subtypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-351
Number of pages11
JournalReports of Practical Oncology and Radiotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • brain metastasis
  • breast cancer
  • radiation therapy
  • stereotactic radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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