European journal of cancer (Oxford, England : 1990) 2018 02 2093() 37-46 pii S0959-8049(18)30081-9
Brain metastases (BM) are frequent in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, but there is a lack of evidence-based management of this patient group. We aimed to capture a snapshot of routine BM management in Europe to identify relevant research questions for future clinical trials.
An EORTC Lung Cancer Group (LCG) online survey containing questions on NSCLC BM screening and treatment was distributed between 16/02/17 and 15/06/17 to worldwide EORTC LCG members, and through several European scientific societies in the thoracic oncology field.
A total of 462 European physician responses (394 institutions) were analysed (radiation oncologist: 53% [n = 247], pulmonologist: 26% [n = 119], medical oncologist: 18% [n = 84]; 84% with >5 years’ experience in NSCLC). Italy (18%, n = 85), Netherlands (15%, n = 68), UK (14%, n = 66), and France (12%, n = 55) contributed most. 393 physicians (85%) screened neurologically asymptomatic patients for BM at diagnosis (52% using magnetic resonance imaging). Most often screened patients were those with a driver mutation (MUT+; 51%, n = 234), stage III (63%, n = 289), and IV (43%, n = 199). 158 physicians (34%) used a prognostic classification to guide initial treatment decisions, and in 50%, lowest prognostic-score threshold to receive treatment differed between MUT+ and non-driver mutation (MUT-) patients. MUT+ patients with >4 BM were more likely to receive stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) compared with MUT- (27% versus. 21%; p < 0.01). Most physicians (90%) had access to SRS. After single BM surgery, 50% systematically prescribed SRS or WBRT, and 45% only in case of incomplete resection. The preferred treatment in neurologically asymptomatic treatment-naive patients diagnosed with >5 BM was systemic treatment (79%). Of all, 45%/49% physicians stated that all tyrosine kinase inhibitors and immune checkpoint blockers were discontinued (timing varied) during SRS/WBRT, respectively. Drugs most often continued during SRS/WBRT were erlotinib (44%/40%), gefitinib (39%/34%), afatinib (29%/25%), crizotinib (33%/26%) and anti-PD-(L)-1 (28%/22%).
BM management is highly variable in Europe: screening is not uniform, prognostic classifications are not often used and MUT+ NSCLC patients generally receive more intensive local treatment. Prospective assessment of BM management in MUT+ NSCLC patients is required.