The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, is looking for individuals to participate in clinical studies. Participating in clinical trials allows you to play an active role in research on the nature and causes of many disorders of the brain and nervous system, and to possibly help physician-scientists develop future treatments. The information below is designed to help you quickly learn about actively recruiting research studies for which you or someone you know may be eligible.


Introduction: Metastatic brain tumors occur more frequently than primary brain tumors and occur in approximately 25% of patients who die of cancer each year. The main treatment goals for patients with brain metastases are the relief of neurological symptoms and long-term control of the tumors. Glucocorticoids and external beam whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) comprise the current standard of care and increase median survival from one month to three to six months. Patients with three or less tumors (greater than 70% of patients) also commonly undergo surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) with the goal of lengthening survival. Two prospective randomized trials have shown a significant survival benefit for patients undergoing surgical resection of single tumors in combination with WBRT compared to patients receiving WBRT alone. Although there have been no prospective randomized studies comparing SRS and WBRT to WBRT alone, there have been numerous large retrospective series reporting a significant survival benefit from SRS. To date, a prospective randomized trial comparing surgery to SRS has not been reported. Despite the lack of rigorous data, there are proponents for each of these treatment modalities. Those in favor of surgery cite the ability to achieve a complete resection in most cases, the almost immediate relief of symptoms, and the low rate of local recurrence. Those in favor of SRS cite an equivalent degree of local tumor control compared to surgery, the relative ease of the one day outpatient procedure, and the ability to treat lesions in deeper brain structures. Objectives: We plan to determine in a prospective randomized manner if surgery is superior to SRS for prolonging survival in patients with one to three surgically accessible brain tumors. Study Population: Patients aged twenty one years and older with one to three brain metastases will be assessed for enrollment in this study. Design: Patients who meet eligibility criteria will be randomly assigned to undergo either surgery or SRS for their tumors. Patients will then be followed at regularly scheduled intervals for the duration of their disease. Outcome measures: The primary outcome measure will be time of survival following treatment. Among the secondary outcomes that will be measured over time are tumor recurrence or progression, neurologic sign or symptom development, functional independence, steroid and anticonvulsant use, and overall quality of life.

Eligibility Criteria:

INCLUSION CRITERIA: Patients must: 1. be 21 years of age or older. 2. have a histologically confirmed primary malignancy. 3. be able to undergo an MRI scan of the brain. 4. have one to three intraparenchymal brain metastases as identified on a brain MRI scan with intravenous contrast. 5. have contrast enhancing tumor(s) that are well circumscribed and less than or equal to 4.0 cm in any dimension. 6. be appropriate for either procedure as determined by both a neurosurgeon and a radiation oncologist. EXCLUSION CRITERIA: Patients must not: 1. have tumor(s) in the midbrain, pons, or medulla - patients undergoing surgical resections in these areas are highly likely to develop significant neurological deficits or death. 2. have tumors within 10 millimeters of the optic apparatus (nerves and chiasm) or the area postrema - patients undergoing SRS to these areas are at significant risk of developing permanent blindness or intractable nausea. 3. be poor operative candidates from an anesthetic point of view secondary to other major medical illnesses - the risk of undergoing general anesthesia outweighs the potential benefit of undergoing surgical resection of a brain metastasis. 4. have a coagulopathy demonstrated by an abnormal prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, or thrombocytopenia (platelet count less that 150,000 platelets/mm3) - the risk of developing uncontrollable intra-operatively bleeding outweighs the potential benefit of undergoing surgical resection of a brain metastasis. 5. have radiographic or cerebrospinal fluid specimen evidence of widespread leptomeningeal metastasis - neither surgery nor SRS is a useful treatment modality for this condition. 6. significant psychiatric impairments which, in the opinion of the investigators, will interfere with the proper administration or completion of the protocol - self explanatory. 7. acute or untreated infections (viral, bacterial or fungal) - patients with active infections are highly likely to have spread of their infections to the brain as a result of a craniotomy. 8. be pregnant at the time of the randomized treatment - general anesthesia and surgery may subject the fetus to unacceptable risks. Also, the NIH does not offer full obstetrical services in the event that medical care to the mother and/or fetus is required. Pregnant women presenting with brain metastases will be referred to facilities offering OB/GYN services. 9. be prisoners or other institutionalized individuals - these individuals are at risk of being susceptible to undue influences to participate in a research protocol against their free will. 10. have a diagnosis of germ cell tumor, lymphoma or small cell lung cancer - these tumors are highly radiosensitive and should therefore be treated with radiation. 11. have any of the following: aneurysm clip, implanted neural stimulator, implanted cardiac pacemaker or auto defibrillator, cochlear implant, ocular foreign body or implant [e.g. metal shavings, retinal clips], or insulin pump as these items would be contra-indications to undergoing an MRI scan. 12. have an allergy to iodine or shellfish or have previously had an allergic reaction to iodinated-contrast agents as this is a contra-indication to undergoing a contrast enhanced CT of the brain - a contrast enhanced CT of the brain is required for the planning of SRS.

Study Design:

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