Publication Date



International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics


PURPOSE: Brain metastases are a common sequelae of breast cancer. Survival varies widely based on diagnosis-specific prognostic factors (PF). We previously published a prognostic index (Graded Prognostic Assessment [GPA]) for patients with breast cancer with brain metastases (BCBM), based on cohort A (1985-2007, n = 642), then updated it, reporting the effect of tumor subtype in cohort B (1993-2010, n = 400). The purpose of this study is to update the Breast GPA with a larger contemporary cohort (C) and compare treatment and survival across the 3 cohorts.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: A multi-institutional (19), multinational (3), retrospective database of 2473 patients with breast cancer with newly diagnosed brain metastases (BCBM) diagnosed from January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2017, was created and compared with prior cohorts. Associations of PF and treatment with survival were analyzed. Kaplan-Meier survival estimates were compared with log-rank tests. PF were weighted and the Breast GPA was updated such that a GPA of 0 and 4.0 correlate with the worst and best prognoses, respectively.

RESULTS: Median survival (MS) for cohorts A, B, and C improved over time (from 11, to 14 to 16 months, respectively; P < .01), despite the subtype distribution becoming less favorable. PF significant for survival were tumor subtype, Karnofsky Performance Status, age, number of BCBMs, and extracranial metastases (all P < .01). MS for GPA 0 to 1.0, 1.5-2.0, 2.5-3.0, and 3.5-4.0 was 6, 13, 24, and 36 months, respectively. Between cohorts B and C, the proportion of human epidermal receptor 2 + subtype decreased from 31% to 18% (P < .01) and MS in this subtype increased from 18 to 25 months (P < .01).

CONCLUSIONS: MS has improved modestly but varies widely by diagnosis-specific PF. New PF are identified and incorporated into an updated Breast GPA (free online calculator available at The Breast GPA facilitates clinical decision-making and will be useful for stratification of future clinical trials. Furthermore, these data suggest human epidermal receptor 2-targeted therapies improve clinical outcomes in some patients with BCBM.


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, BRCA1 Protein, Brain Neoplasms, Breast Neoplasms, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Prognosis, Retrospective Studies, Survival Analysis



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