According to a July 26th Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study, using precisely targeted radiation to treat brain tumors, also known as a stereotactic radiosurgery, appears to do less damage to mental abilities than whole brain radiation. According to the lead researcher and ABTA expert presenter, Paul Brown, MD at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn."We now have a better understanding of the toxicity of whole brain radiation, and we know that the toxicity of whole brain radiation is worse for patients than the recurrence of their cancer.”
Brown and his colleagues randomly assigned 213 patients to two study arms: stereotactic radiosurgery alone or stereotactic radiosurgery plus whole brain radiation. The researchers tested patients' mental abilities at the start of the study and again three months after treatment. They also looked at quality of life, functional independence, long-term mental status and overall survival.
At three months, Brown's team found that patients treated with stereotactic radiosurgery alone had less mental decline than patients treated with stereotactic radiosurgery and whole brain radiation. Also, those treated with stereotactic radiosurgery alone had a better quality of life.