BACKGROUND: Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is an effective option in the management of brain metastases, offering improved overall survival to whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT). However, given the need for active surveillance and the possibility of repeated interventions for local/distant brain recurrences, the balance between clinical benefit and economic impact must be evaluated. OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic review of health-economic analyses of SRS for brain metastases, compared with other existing intervention options, to determine the cost-effectiveness of this treatment across different clinical scenarios. METHODS: The MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane, CRD, and EconLit databases were searched for health-economic analyses, according to PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines, using terms relevant to brain metastases and radiation-based therapies. Simple cost analysis studies were excluded. Quality analysis was based on BMJ Consolidated Health Economics Reporting Standards (CHEERS) checklist. RESULTS: Eleven eligible studies were identified. For lesions with limited mass effect, SRS was more cost-effective than surgical resection (6 studies). In patients with Karnofsky performance scale (KPS) >70 and good predicted survival, SRS was cost-effective compared to WBRT (7 studies); WBRT became cost-effective with poor performance status or low anticipated life span. Following SRS, routine magnetic resonance imaging surveillance saved $1326/patient compared to symptomatic imaging due to reduced surgical salvage and hospital stay (1 study). CONCLUSION: Based on our findings, SRS is cost-effective in the management of brain metastases, particularly in high-functioning patients with longer expected survival. However, before an optimal care pathway can be proposed, emerging factors such as tumor molecular subtype, diagnosis-specific graded prognostic assessment, neuroprognostic score, tailored surveillance imaging, and patient utilities need to be studied in greater detail.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology