Publications by authors named "Rebecca Levin-Epstein"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Comparison of Multimodal Therapies and Outcomes Among Patients With High-Risk Prostate Cancer With Adverse Clinicopathologic Features.

JAMA Netw Open 2021 Jul 1;4(7):e2115312. Epub 2021 Jul 1.

Department of Urology, Brady Urological Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

Importance: The optimal management strategy for high-risk prostate cancer and additional adverse clinicopathologic features remains unknown.

Objective: To compare clinical outcomes among patients with high-risk prostate cancer after definitive treatment.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This retrospective cohort study included patients with high-risk prostate cancer (as defined by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network [NCCN]) and at least 1 adverse clinicopathologic feature (defined as any primary Gleason pattern 5 on biopsy, clinical T3b-4 disease, ≥50% cores with biopsy results positive for prostate cancer, or NCCN ≥2 high-risk features) treated between 2000 and 2014 at 16 tertiary centers. Data were analyzed in November 2020.

Exposures: Radical prostatectomy (RP), external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), or EBRT plus brachytherapy boost (BT) with ADT. Guideline-concordant multimodal treatment was defined as RP with appropriate use of multimodal therapy (optimal RP), EBRT with at least 2 years of ADT (optimal EBRT), or EBRT with BT with at least 1 year ADT (optimal EBRT with BT).

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary outcome was prostate cancer-specific mortality; distant metastasis was a secondary outcome. Differences were evaluated using inverse probability of treatment weight-adjusted Fine-Gray competing risk regression models.

Results: A total of 6004 men (median [interquartile range] age, 66.4 [60.9-71.8] years) with high-risk prostate cancer were analyzed, including 3175 patients (52.9%) who underwent RP, 1830 patients (30.5%) who underwent EBRT alone, and 999 patients (16.6%) who underwent EBRT with BT. Compared with RP, treatment with EBRT with BT (subdistribution hazard ratio [sHR] 0.78, [95% CI, 0.63-0.97]; P = .03) or with EBRT alone (sHR, 0.70 [95% CI, 0.53-0.92]; P = .01) was associated with significantly improved prostate cancer-specific mortality; there was no difference in prostate cancer-specific mortality between EBRT with BT and EBRT alone (sHR, 0.89 [95% CI, 0.67-1.18]; P = .43). No significant differences in prostate cancer-specific mortality were found across treatment cohorts among 2940 patients who received guideline-concordant multimodality treatment (eg, optimal EBRT alone vs optimal RP: sHR, 0.76 [95% CI, 0.52-1.09]; P = .14). However, treatment with EBRT alone or EBRT with BT was consistently associated with lower rates of distant metastasis compared with treatment with RP (eg, EBRT vs RP: sHR, 0.50 [95% CI, 0.44-0.58]; P < .001).

Conclusions And Relevance: These findings suggest that among patients with high-risk prostate cancer and additional unfavorable clinicopathologic features receiving guideline-concordant multimodal therapy, prostate cancer-specific mortality outcomes were equivalent among those treated with RP, EBRT, and EBRT with BT, although distant metastasis outcomes were more favorable among patients treated with EBRT and EBRT with BT. Optimal multimodality treatment is critical for improving outcomes in patients with high-risk prostate cancer.
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July 2021

A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Local Salvage Therapies After Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer (MASTER).

Eur Urol 2021 Sep 11;80(3):280-292. Epub 2020 Dec 11.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Department of Urology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Context: Management of locally recurrent prostate cancer after definitive radiotherapy remains controversial due to the perceived high rates of severe genitourinary (GU) and gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity associated with any local salvage modality.

Objective: To quantitatively compare the efficacy and toxicity of salvage radical prostatectomy (RP), high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), cryotherapy, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), low-dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy, and high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy.

Evidence Acquisition: We performed a systematic review of PubMed, EMBASE, and MEDLINE. Two- and 5-yr recurrence-free survival (RFS) rates and crude incidences of severe GU and GI toxicity were extracted as endpoints of interest. Random-effect meta-analyses were conducted to characterize summary effect sizes and quantify heterogeneity. Estimates for each modality were then compared with RP after adjusting for individual study-level covariates using mixed-effect regression models, while allowing for differences in between-study variance across treatment modalities.

Evidence Synthesis: A total of 150 studies were included for analysis. There was significant heterogeneity between studies within each modality, and covariates differed between modalities, necessitating adjustment. Adjusted 5-yr RFS ranged from 50% after cryotherapy to 60% after HDR brachytherapy and SBRT, with no significant differences between any modality and RP. Severe GU toxicity was significantly lower with all three forms of radiotherapeutic salvage than with RP (adjusted rates of 20% after RP vs 5.6%, 9.6%, and 9.1% after SBRT, HDR brachytherapy, and LDR brachytherapy, respectively; p ≤ 0.001 for all). Severe GI toxicity was significantly lower with HDR salvage than with RP (adjusted rates 1.8% vs 0.0%, p < 0.01), with no other differences identified.

Conclusions: Large differences in 5-yr outcomes were not uncovered when comparing all salvage treatment modalities against RP. Reirradiation with SBRT, HDR brachytherapy, or LDR brachytherapy appears to result in less severe GU toxicity than RP, and reirradiation with HDR brachytherapy yields less severe GI toxicity than RP. Prospective studies of local salvage for radiorecurrent disease are warranted.

Patient Summary: In a large study-level meta-analysis, we looked at treatment outcomes and toxicity for men treated with a number of salvage treatments for radiorecurrent prostate cancer. We conclude that relapse-free survival at 5 years is equivalent among salvage modalities, but reirradiation may lead to lower toxicity.
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September 2021

Dose-response with stereotactic body radiotherapy for prostate cancer: A multi-institutional analysis of prostate-specific antigen kinetics and biochemical control.

Radiother Oncol 2021 01 7;154:207-213. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.

Background And Purpose: The optimal dose for prostate stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) is still unknown. This study evaluated the dose-response relationships for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) decay and biochemical recurrence (BCR) among 4 SBRT dose regimens.

Materials And Methods: In 1908 men with low-risk (50.0%), favorable intermediate-risk (30.9%), and unfavorable intermediate-risk (19.1%) prostate cancer treated with prostate SBRT across 8 institutions from 2003 to 2018, we examined 4 regimens (35 Gy/5 fractions [35/5, n = 265, 13.4%], 36.25 Gy/5 fractions [36.25/5, n = 711, 37.3%], 40 Gy/5 fractions [40/5, n = 684, 35.8%], and 38 Gy/4 fractions [38/4, n = 257, 13.5%]). Between dose groups, we compared PSA decay slope, nadir PSA (nPSA), achievement of nPSA ≤0.2 and ≤0.5 ng/mL, and BCR-free survival (BCRFS).

Results: Median follow-up was 72.3 months. Median nPSA was 0.01 ng/mL for 38/4, and 0.17-0.20 ng/mL for 5-fraction regimens (p < 0.0001). The 38/4 cohort demonstrated the steepest PSA decay slope and greater odds of nPSA ≤0.2 ng/mL (both p < 0.0001 vs. all other regimens). BCR occurred in 6.25%, 6.75%, 3.95%, and 8.95% of men treated with 35/5, 36.25/5, 40/5, and 38/4, respectively (p = 0.12), with the highest BCRFS after 40/5 (vs. 35/5 hazard ratio [HR] 0.49, p = 0.026; vs. 36.25/5 HR 0.42, p = 0.0005; vs. 38/4 HR 0.55, p = 0.037) including the entirety of follow-up, but not for 5-year BCRFS (≥93% for all regimens, p ≥ 0.21).

Conclusion: Dose-escalation was associated with greater prostate ablation and PSA decay. Dose-escalation to 40/5, but not beyond, was associated with improved BCRFS. Biochemical control remains excellent, and prospective studies will provide clarity on the benefit of dose-escalation.
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January 2021

Prostate-specific antigen kinetics and biochemical control following stereotactic body radiation therapy, high dose rate brachytherapy, and low dose rate brachytherapy: A multi-institutional analysis of 3502 patients.

Radiother Oncol 2020 10 11;151:26-32. Epub 2020 Jul 11.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States.

Background And Purpose: Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), low dose rate brachytherapy (LDR-BT) and high dose rate brachytherapy (HDR-BT) are ablative-intent radiotherapy options for prostate cancer (PCa). These vary considerably in dose delivery, which may impact post-treatment prostate-specific antigen (PSA) patterns and biochemical control. We compared PSA kinetics between SBRT, HDR-BT, and LDR-BT, and assessed their relationships to biochemical recurrence-free survival (BCRFS).

Methods And Materials: Retrospective PSA data were analyzed for 3502 men with low-risk (n = 2223; 63.5%), favorable intermediate-risk (n = 869; 24.8%), and unfavorable intermediate-risk (n = 410; 11.7%) PCa treated with SBRT (n = 1716; 49.0%), HDR-BT (n = 512; 14.6%), or LDR-BT (n = 1274; 36.4%) without upfront androgen deprivation therapy at 10 institutions from 1990 to 2017. We compared nadir PSA (nPSA), time to nPSA, achievement of nPSA <0.2 ng/mL and <0.5 ng/mL, rates of nPSA <0.4 ng/mL at 4 years, and BCRFS.

Results: Median follow-up was 72 months. Median nPSA and nPSA <0.2 ng/mL were stratified by risk group (interaction p ≤ 0.001). Median nPSA and time to nPSA were 0.2 ng/mL at 44 months after SBRT, 0.1-0.2 ng/mL at 37 months after HDR-BT, and 0.01-0.2 ng/mL at 51 months after LDR-BT (mean log nPSA p ≤ 0.009 for LDR-BT vs. SBRT or HDR-BT for low/favorable intermediate-risk). There were no differences in nPSA <0.4 ng/mL at 4 years (p ≥ 0.51). BCRFS was similar for all three modalities (p ≥ 0.27). Continued PSA decay beyond 4 years was predictive of durable biochemical control.

Conclusion: LDR-BT led to lower nPSAs with longer continued decay compared to SBRT and HDR-BT, but no differences in BCRFS.
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October 2020

Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing Comparison of Stereotactic Radiosurgery to Multiple Brain Lesions Using Single-Isocenter Versus Multiple-Isocenter Technique.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2020 11 27;108(4):999-1007. Epub 2020 Jun 27.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California. Electronic address:

Purpose: Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) historically has been used to treat multiple brain lesions using a multiple-isocenter technique-frequently associated with significant complexity in treatment planning and long treatment times. Recently, given innovations in planning algorithms, patients with multiple brain lesions may now be treated with a single-isocenter technique using fewer total arcs and less time spent during image guidance (though with stricter image guided radiation therapy tolerances). This study used time-driven activity-based costing to determine the difference in cost to a provider for delivering SRS to multiple brain lesions using single-isocenter versus multiple-isocenter techniques.

Methods And Materials: Process maps, consisting of discrete steps, were created for each phase of the SRS care cycle and were based on interviews with department personnel. Actual treatment times (including image guidance) were extracted from treatment record and verify software. Additional sources of data to determine costs included salary/benefit data of personnel and average list price/maintenance costs for equipment.

Results: Data were collected for 22 patients who underwent single-isocenter SRS (mean lesions treated, 5.2; mean treatment time, 30.2 minutes) and 51 patients who underwent multiple-isocenter SRS (mean lesions treated, 4.4; mean treatment time, 75.2 minutes). Treatment time for multiple-isocenter SRS varied substantially with increasing number of lesions (11.8 minutes/lesion; P < .001), but to a much lesser degree in single-isocenter SRS (1.8 minutes/lesion; P = .029). The resulting cost savings from single-isocenter SRS based on number of lesions treated ranged from $296 to $3878 for 2 to 10 lesions treated. The 2-mm planning treatment volume margin used with single-isocenter SRS resulted in a mean 43% increase of total volume treated compared with a 1-mm planning treatment volume expansion.

Conclusions: In a comparison of time-driven activity-based costing assessment of single-isocenter versus multiple-isocenter SRS for multiple brain lesions, single-isocenter SRS appears to save time and resources for as few as 2 lesions, with incremental benefits for additional lesions treated.
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November 2020

Gantry-Mounted Linear Accelerator-Based Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for Low- and Intermediate-Risk Prostate Cancer.

Adv Radiat Oncol 2020 May-Jun;5(3):404-411. Epub 2019 Oct 14.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles, California.

Purpose: To establish the safety and efficacy of gantry-mounted linear accelerator-based stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer.

Methods: We pooled 921 patients enrolled on 7 single-institution prospective phase II trials of gantry-based SBRT from 2006 to 2017. The cumulative incidences of biochemical recurrence (defined by the Phoenix definition) and physician-scored genitourinary (GU) and gastrointestinal (GI) toxicities (defined per the original trials using Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events) were estimated using a competing risk framework. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate the relationship between late toxicity and prespecified covariates: biologically effective dose, every other day versus weekly fractionation, intrafractional motion monitoring, and acute toxicity.

Results: Median follow-up was 3.1 years (range, 0.5-10.8 years). In addition, 505 (54.8%) patients had low-risk disease, 236 (25.6%) had favorable intermediate-risk disease, and 180 (19.5%) had unfavorable intermediate-risk disease. Intrafractional motion monitoring was performed in 78.0% of patients. The 3-year cumulative incidence of biochemical recurrence was 0.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0-1.7%), 2.2% (95% CI, 0-4.3%), and 5.1% (95% CI, 1.0-9.2%) for low-, favorable intermediate-, and unfavorable intermediate-risk disease. Acute grade ≥2 GU and GI toxicity occurred in 14.5% and 4.6% of patients, respectively. Three-year cumulative incidence estimates of late grade 2 GU and GI toxicity were 4.1% (95% CI, 2.6-5.5%) and 1.3% (95% CI, 0.5-2.1%), respectively, with late grade ≥3 GU and GI toxicity estimates of 0.7% (95% CI, 0.1-1.3%) and 0.4% (95% CI, 0-0.8%), respectively. The only identified significant predictors of late grade ≥2 toxicity were acute grade ≥2 toxicity ( < .001) and weekly fractionation ( < .01), although only 12.4% of patients were treated weekly.

Conclusions: Gantry-based SBRT for prostate cancer is associated with a favorable safety and efficacy profile, despite variable intrafractional motion management techniques. These findings suggest that multiple treatment platforms can be used to safely deliver prostate SBRT.
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October 2019

Development and Validation of a Comprehensive Multivariate Dosimetric Model for Predicting Late Genitourinary Toxicity Following Prostate Cancer Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy.

Front Oncol 2020 20;10:786. Epub 2020 May 20.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States.

Dosimetric predictors of toxicity after Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) are not well-established. We sought to develop a multivariate model that predicts Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) late grade 2 or greater genitourinary (GU) toxicity by interrogating the entire dose-volume histogram (DVH) from a large cohort of prostate cancer patients treated with SBRT on prospective trials. Three hundred and thirty-nine patients with late CTCAE toxicity data treated with prostate SBRT were identified and analyzed. All patients received 40 Gy in five fractions, every other day, using volumetric modulated arc therapy. For each patient, we examined 910 candidate dosimetric features including maximum dose, volumes of each organ [CTV, organs at risk (OARs)], V100%, and other granular volumetric/dosimetric indices at varying volumetric/dosimetric values from the entire DVH as well as ADT use to model and predict toxicity from SBRT. Training and validation subsets were generated with 90 and 10% of the patients in our cohort, respectively. Predictive accuracy was assessed by calculating the area under the receiver operating curve (AROC). Univariate analysis with student -test was first performed on each candidate DVH feature. We subsequently performed advanced machine-learning multivariate analyses including classification and regression tree (CART), random forest, boosted tree, and multilayer neural network. Median follow-up time was 32.3 months (range 3-98.9 months). Late grade ≥2 GU toxicity occurred in 20.1% of patients in our series. No single dosimetric parameter had an AROC for predicting late grade ≥2 GU toxicity on univariate analysis that exceeded 0.599. Optimized CART modestly improved prediction accuracy, with an AROC of 0.601, whereas other machine learning approaches did not improve upon univariate analyses. CART-based machine learning multivariate analyses drawing from 910 dosimetric features and ADT use modestly improves upon clinical prediction of late GU toxicity alone, yielding an AROC of 0.601. Biologic predictors may enhance predictive models for identifying patients at risk for late toxicity after SBRT.
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May 2020

Dosimetric predictors of patient-reported toxicity after prostate stereotactic body radiotherapy: Analysis of full range of the dose-volume histogram using ensemble machine learning.

Radiother Oncol 2020 07 17;148:181-188. Epub 2020 Apr 17.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States. Electronic address:

Background And Purpose: This study aims to evaluate the associations between dosimetric parameters and patient-reported outcomes, and to identify latent dosimetric parameters that most correlate with acute and subacute patient-reported urinary and rectal toxicity after prostate stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) using machine learning methods.

Materials And Methods: Eighty-six patients who underwent prostate SBRT (40 Gy in 5 fractions) were included. Patient-reported health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes were derived from bowel and bladder symptom scores on the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite (EPIC-26) at 3 and 12 months post-SBRT. We utilized ensemble machine learning (ML) to interrogate the entire dose-volume histogram (DVH) to evaluate relationships between dose-volume parameters and HRQOL changes. The latent predictive dosimetric parameters that were most associated with HRQOL changes in urinary and rectal function were thus identified. An external cohort of 26 prostate SBRT patients was acquired to further test the predictive models.

Results: Bladder dose-volume metrics strongly predicted patient-reported urinary irritative and incontinence symptoms (area under the curves [AUCs] of 0.79 and 0.87, respectively) at 12 months. Maximum bladder dose, bladder V102.5%, bladder volume, and conformity indices (V50/VPTV and V100/VPTV) were most predictive of HRQOL changes in both urinary domains. No strong rectal toxicity dosimetric association was identified (AUC = 0.64).

Conclusion: We demonstrated the application of advanced ML methods to identify a set of dosimetric variables that most highly correlated with patient-reported urinary HRQOL. DVH quantities identified with these methods may be used to achieve outcome-driven planning objectives to further reduce patient-reported toxicity with prostate SBRT.
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July 2020

Clinical Assessment of Prostate Displacement and Planning Target Volume Margins for Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy of Prostate Cancer.

Front Oncol 2020 16;10:539. Epub 2020 Apr 16.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States.

To assess the optimal planning target volume (PTV) margins for stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) of prostate cancer based on inter- and intra-fractional prostate motion determined from daily image guidance. Two hundred and five patients who were enrolled on two prospective studies of SBRT (8 Gy × 5 fractions) for localized prostate cancer treated at a single institution between 2012 and 2017 had complete inter- and intra-fractional shift data available. All patients had scheduled kilovoltage planar imaging during SBRT with rigid registration to intraprostatic fiducials prior to each of four half-arcs delivered per fraction, as well as cone beam CT verification of anatomy prior to each fraction. Inter- and intra- fractional shift data were obtained to estimate the required PTV margins based on the classic van Herk formula. Inter- and intra-fractional motion were compared between patients with and without severe toxicities using the independent two-sample Wilcoxon test. The margins required to account for inter-fractional motion were estimated to be 0.99, 1.52, and 1.45 cm in lateral (LR), longitudinal (SI), and vertical (AP) directions, respectively. The margins required to account for intra-fractional motion were estimated to be 0.19, 0.27, and 0.31 cm in LR, SI and AP directions, respectively. Large intra-fractional shifts were mostly observed in the SI and AP directions, with 2.0 and 5.4% of patients experiencing average intra-fractional motion >3 mm in the SI and AP directions, respectively, compared with none experiencing mean shifts >3 mm in the LR direction. Six patients experienced grade 3 gastrointestinal or genitourinary toxicity. There were no significant differences in mean inter- or intra-fractional motion in any of the cardinal directions compared to patients without severe toxicity (inter-fractional = 0.46-0.99, intra-fractional = 0.10-0.84). The inter- and intra-fractional margins estimated from this study are in line with prior reported values. Intra-fractional prostate motion was generally small with larger margins required for the SI and AP directions, notably just slightly exceeding the commonly used 3 mm posterior PTV margin even with realignment between half-arcs. Development of severe toxicity was not significantly associated with the degree of inter- or intra-fractional motion.
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April 2020

Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Older Patients With Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Curr Treat Options Oncol 2018 10 25;19(12):63. Epub 2018 Oct 25.

UCLA Department of Hematology Oncology, 200 Medical Plaza, Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, USA.

Opinion Statement: Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in the elderly is complex and has a poor prognosis, often characterized by higher risk cytogenetic and molecular features compared to that in younger patients. Rates of transplant have been limited by concern related to non-relapse mortality, as older patients have historically been considered medically unfit for the transplantation process. Reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been shown to provide similar efficacy to myeloablative methods, with decreased non-relapse mortality in the elderly and improved efficacy over non-transplant approaches with cytotoxic chemotherapy alone. Targeted non-cytotoxic and modified cytotoxic agents have emerged to further improve transplant outcomes for older AML patients. Validated comorbidity indices are useful tools to assess an individual's fitness for undergoing HSCT rather than chronological age alone. We believe HSCT is the primary curative treatment approach for many older AML patients, taking into account risk and comorbidities, particularly given the tendency of leukemia in this population to harbor an unfavorable disease profile. We use RIC and advocate for the addition of targeted agents if applicable. With continuing data in support of transplant for older AML patients, we anticipate that transplant rates in this population will continue to rise.
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October 2018

Magnetic Resonance-guided Inter-fraction Monitoring Opens Doors to Delivering Safer Reirradiation: An Illustrative Case Report and Discussion.

Cureus 2018 Apr 14;10(4):e2479. Epub 2018 Apr 14.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, USA.

Locoregional recurrence in the pelvis after definitive treatment for rectal cancer can lead to significant morbidity. Furthermore, the toxicity associated with reirradiation may also negatively impact the quality of life and even survival. Here we present the case of a 39-year-old male with locoregionally recurrent rectal cancer in a left pelvic sidewall lymph node, treated with stereotactic magnetic resonance (MR)-guided ablative radiotherapy after previously receiving long-course chemoradiation that had already exceeded ideal bowel dose constraints. We discuss the distinct advantages of MR-guidance in the setting of pelvic reirradiation, particularly with regard to inter- and intra-fraction visualization of the target and neighboring bowel anatomy. In this context, MR-guidance may allow radiation oncologists to increase target precision and accuracy, while simultaneously decreasing toxicity to neighboring tissues.
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April 2018

Pro-inflammatory State Portends Poor Outcomes with Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Brain Metastases.

Anticancer Res 2016 10;36(10):5333-5337

Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.

Aim: We determined if pre-treatment systemic inflammation would predict poor outcomes in the setting of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for brain metastases.

Patients And Methods: The pretreatment albumin concentration, neutrophil and lymphocyte counts, and the platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR) were evaluated to determine association with intracranial control, local control (LC), initial MRI response (MR), and overall survival (OS) among 70 patients with 152 separate brain metastases treated with SRS alone from 2008-2015.

Results: On multivariate analysis, a higher neutrophil percentage predicted for poor LC, poor initial MR, poor OS and poor intracranial control (p=0.01, p=0.01, p=0.02 and p=0.03, respectively). A lower percentage of lymphocytes predicted for poor LC and poor MR (p=0.01 and p=0.02), and an elevated PLR predicted for poor OS and poor LC (p=0.05 and p=0.04). Additionally, a lower pretreatment albumin concentration predicted for poor LC and OS (p=0.01 and p=0.03).

Conclusion: Pretreatment systemic inflammation is associated with poor outcomes post-SRS.
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October 2016

Hypofractionated Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy to Large Resection Cavity of Metastatic Brain Tumors.

World Neurosurg 2017 Jan 21;97:571-579. Epub 2016 Oct 21.

Department of Radiation Oncology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA; Department of Neurosurgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA; Brain Research Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA; Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of postoperative fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery (FSRS) and hypofractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) to large surgical cavities after gross total resection of brain metastases.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of 41 patients who had received tumor-bed FSRS (5 fractions) or SRT (10 fractions) after resection of brain metastasis between 2005 and 2015 was performed. All resection cavities were treated with a frameless linear accelerator-based system. Patients who underwent subtotal resection, single-dose SRS to the resection cavity, or were treated with a fractionation schedule other than 5 or 10 fractions, were excluded.

Results: Twenty-six patients were treated with 5 fractions and 15 patients with 10 fractions. The median planning target volume was 19.78 cm (12.3-28 cm) to the 5-fraction group and 29.79 cm (26.3-47.6 cm) to the 10-fraction group (P = 0.020). The 1-year and 2-year local control rates for all patients were 89.4% and 77.1%, respectively, and 89.6% and 78.6% were free from distant intracranial progression, respectively. No difference was observed in local control or freedom from distant intracranial progression between the 5-fraction or 10-fraction groups. The median overall survival was 28.27 months (95% confidence interval, 19.42-37.12) for all patients. No patient developed necrosis at the resection cavity.

Conclusions: Fractionation offers the potential to exploit the different biological responses between neoplastic and normal tissues to ionizing radiation. The use of 5 daily doses of 5-6 Gy or 10 daily doses of 3 Gy is a good strategy to have a reasonable local control and avoid neurotoxicity.
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January 2017

Quantitatively and qualitatively augmenting medical student knowledge of oncology and radiation oncology: an update on the impact of the oncology education initiative.

J Am Coll Radiol 2012 Feb;9(2):115-20

Department of Radiation Oncology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.

Purpose: The Oncology Education Initiative was established in 2007 in an effort to advance oncology and radiation oncology education at the undergraduate level. As a continuation of the initiative, the aim of this study was to determine whether these structured didactics would continue to increase overall medical student knowledge about oncologic topics.

Methods: Preclerkship and postclerkship tests examining concepts in general oncology, radiation oncology, breast cancer, and prostate cancer were administered. The 21-question, multiple-choice examination was administered at the beginning and end of the radiology clerkship, during which a 1.5-hour didactic session was given by an attending radiation oncologist. Changes in individual question responses, student responses, and overall categorical responses were analyzed. All hypothesis tests were two tailed with a significance level of .05.

Results: In the 2009-2010 academic year, 155 third-year and fourth-year students had average examination score improvements from 62% to 68.9% (P < .0001). Every topic (100%) showed improvement in scores, with the largest absolute improvement seen in the radiation oncology category, which increased from 56.5% to 71.8% (P < .0001). As the year proceeded, average examination scores increased among third-year students and decreased among fourth-year students.

Conclusions: In the successive years since its inception, the Oncology Education Initiative continues to show a significant improvement in medical students' knowledge of cancer. The initiative has also succeeded in providing radiation oncology education to all graduating medical students at the authors' institution. Dedicated oncology education in the undergraduate medical curriculum provides students with a better understanding of multidisciplinary oncology management.
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February 2012