Whole Brain Radiation Therapy Versus Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy for Brain Metastases

Official Title

A Randomized Phase II Study of 20 Gy in 5 Fractions Whole Brain Radiation Therapy Versus 15 Gy in 1 Fraction Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy for One to Ten Brain Metastases


Patients with brain metastases with expected life expectancy of 3-6 months are typically treated with radiation therapy to the whole brain giving a dose of 20 Gy over a 5 day period. This study will compare this with volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) which is capable of delivering 15 Gy in one single session to identified disease within the brain but sparing the normal surrounding brain tissue. Primarily the study will assess whether it is possible to recruit sufficient patient numbers to a trial of this type. It will also compare effectiveness, side effects and quality of life between the two treatment methods.

Trial Description

Primary Outcome:

  • Accrual
Secondary Outcome:
  • Intracranial disease control
This is a Phase II prospective clinical trial. Pre treatment evaluations include estimation of life expectancy, Creatinine (GFR) and MRI brain with contrast. An assessment of cognitive function using Montreal Cognitive Assessment questionnaire, assessment of daily living activities using the Modified Barthel's index and quality of life assessment using EORTC QLQ-PAL-15 & BN-20 questionnaires will be performed in clinic. Karnofsky Performance Status will also be assessed by the clinician. If all assessments are within the eligibility criteria then the patient can be recruited. Before treatment begins a history documenting baseline symptoms using NCI Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) Version 4.0 and a neurological examination documenting baseline deficits must be obtained. If patient is randomized to standard treatment of whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) then subjects will have a non-contrast CT scan using a slice thickness of 2.5 mm or less to plan radiation therapy. If patient are randomized to single fraction radiation therapy then a contrast CT will be used as this aids in identifying metastatic tumours within the brain. Also for the single fraction arm if a contrast-enhanced diagnostic MRI was obtained ≤ 10 days before the CT planning scan, with a single-plane high-resolution sequence or low-resolution sequences in two planes, it can be used for treatment planning. If the contrast-enhanced diagnostic MRI was obtained > 10 days before the CT planning scan or there is no diagnostic MRI, the subject requires a gadolinium-enhanced, high-resolution MRI sequence for fusion in the treatment planning system. During treatment, patients will have daily online cone beam CT scans to apply setup corrections to ensure treatment accuracy. To ensure minimal movement during radiation therapy all subjects will be immobilized lying on their back in a plastic headshell with an integrated bite block. For subjects in the single-fraction arm that are not requiring steroids before radiation therapy, dexamethasone 8 mg 1 hour before the radiation therapy and for 5 days afterwards is required. For subjects in the single-fraction arm that are requiring corticosteroids for symptom management before radiation therapy, dexamethasone 8 mg before treatment and 8 mg 2 times daily for 2 days is required. Beginning three days after radiation therapy, a taper back to the pre-radiotherapy dose can be done swiftly over 4-6 days. However, for subjects who have been on dexamethasone for more than 2 weeks at this time point, slow tapering from the pre-radiotherapy dose using decrements of 0.5
  • 2 mg every 3-5 days should be used to prevent a hypocortisolemia. For subjects in the 5-fraction arm, corticosteroids will be prescribed according to the preference of the treating radiation oncologist. Anti-sickness medication and steroids will be prescribed are required before each fraction in both arms. Following therapy completion, all patients will be seen at 6 weeks, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. At each visit history and neurological examination will be performed. Cognitive Function, Karnofsky Performance Status, Quality of life and Adverse Events will all be assessed and recorded. Activities of Daily Living and steroid use will be assessed by telephone consultation every 4 weeks (monthly) for 1 year. Steroid use will be confirmed by evaluating the pharmacy prescription database. Patients will have contrast-enhanced MRI brain at every time point with a creatinine 1 week before each MRI to ensure safety of intravenous contrast administration. Steroid use will be recorded in a patient diary for first 6 weeks post treatment and monthly by telephone discussion.

View this trial on ClinicalTrials.gov

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