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Favorable Prognosis of Brain Metastases in Small Cell Lung Cancer

LEONARD GIANNONE, M.D.; DAVID H. JOHNSON, M.D.; KENNETH R. HANDE, M.D.; and F. ANTHONY GRECO, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Leonard Giannone, M.D.; Division of Oncology, Room A-2127 MCN, Vanderbilt University; Nashville, TN 37232.


Nashville, Tennessee


© 1987 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1987;106(3):386-389. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-106-3-386
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Brain metastases are found at diagnosis in 10% of patients with small cell lung cancer. To clarify the effect of central nervous system metastases on prognosis, the records of 429 patients with small cell lung cancer were reviewed. Forty-three patients (10%) presented with brain metastases. In 18 patients the brain was the only site of metastatic disease, whereas the remaining 25 patients had at least one additional metastatic site. Forty-one of forty-three patients were treated with combination chemotherapy and cranial radiotherapy. Systemic response rates were similar for both groups. Twenty-seven patients underwent repeat central nervous system staging: 19 (70%) had a complete response, 4 (15%) a partial response, and 4 (15%) no response. Median survival of patients with only one site of metastatic disease was 11 months; patients with additional sites lived 5 months (p = 0.153). Survival in patients with only one site is similar to that in patients with limited disease (11 compared with 13 months; p = 0.074).

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