Objective: In order to obtain better local tumor control for large (i.e., > 3 cm in diameter or > 10 cm3 in volume) brain metastases (BMs), 3-stage and 2-stage Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) procedures, rather than a palliative dose of stereotactic radiosurgery, have been proposed. Here, authors conducted a retrospective multi-institutional study to compare treatment results between 3-stage and 2-stage GKS for large BMs. Methods: This retrospective multi-institutional study involved 335 patients from 19 Gamma Knife facilities in Japan. Major inclusion criteria were 1) newly diagnosed BMs, 2) largest tumor volume of 10.0-33.5 cm3, 3) cumulative intracranial tumor volume ≤ 50 cm3, 4) no leptomeningeal dissemination, 5) no more than 10 tumors, and 6) Karnofsky Performance Status 70% or better. Prescription doses were restricted to between 9.0 and 11.0 Gy in 3-stage GKS and between 11.8 and 14.2 Gy in 2-stage GKS. The total treatment interval had to be within 6 weeks, with at least 12 days between procedures. There were 114 cases in the 3-stage group and 221 in the 2-stage group. Because of the disproportion in patient numbers and the pre-GKS clinical factors between these two GKS groups, a case-matched study was performed using the propensity score matching method. Ultimately, 212 patients (106 from each group) were selected for the case-matched study. Overall survival, tumor progression, neurological death, and radiation-related adverse events were analyzed. Results: In the case-matched cohort, post-GKS median survival time tended to be longer in the 3-stage group (15.9 months) than in the 2-stage group (11.7 months), but the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.65). The cumu-lative incidences of tumor progression (21.6% vs 16.7% at 1 year, p = 0.31), neurological death (5.1% vs 6.0% at 1 year, p = 0.58), or serious radiation-related adverse events (3.0% vs 4.0% at 1 year, p = 0.49) did not differ significantly. Conclusions: This retrospective multi-institutional study showed no differences between 3-stage and 2-stage GKS in terms of overall survival, tumor progression, neurological death, and radiation-related adverse events. Both 3-stage and 2-stage GKS performed according to the aforementioned protocols are good treatment options in selected patients with large BMs.
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