Cystic Formation After Stereotactic Radiosurgery of Brain Metastasis

Ali A. Alattar, Kate Carroll, Brian R. Hirshman, Rushikesh S. Joshi, Parag Sanghvi, Clark C. Chen

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Background: Limited information is available on the natural history and etiology of cystic formation after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for brain metastases (BM). We aimed to characterize the natural history of cyst formation after SRS of BM and analyze potential risk factors. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 214 consecutive patients who underwent a total of 1106 SRSs for BM. Demographic, clinical, dosimetric, and magnetic resonance imaging MRI data were reviewed. Statistical analysis was accomplished using Student's t test, and univariate and multivariate logistic regression. Results: The median patient age was 61 years (range, 19–91 years), and the median duration of follow-up was 424 days (range, 91–2934 days). Eleven cases of cyst formation (0.9% of 1106 treated lesions) were identified at SRS-treated BM sites among 9 patients (2 patients developed cysts at independent sites). The median interval between first SRS and first evidence of cyst was 218 days. Seven of the 9 patients (78%) sustained progressive cyst expansion and neurologic decline requiring steroid treatment. Four of these 7 patients (57%) experienced continued neurologic decline and needed surgical fenestration. On univariate analysis, receipt of >4 rounds of SRS was the sole variable associated with an increased risk of cyst formation (odds ratio, 16.58; P = 0.001). This association remained robust after adjusting for duration of follow-up (odds ratio, 13.59; P = 0.003). Conclusions: In our experience with 1106 SRS-treated cases of BM, cyst formation was a rare phenomenon. However, 1 in 3 patients who underwent >4 rounds of SRS sustained cyst formation. A high proportion (78%) of SRS-associated cysts progressively expanded and required medical or surgical treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e719-e728
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Brain metastasis
  • Cyst
  • Cystic formation
  • Radiosurgery
  • Repeat SRS
  • SRS

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