The impact of brain metastasis on quality of life, resource utilization and survival in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer

The impact of brain metastasis on quality of life, resource utilization and survival in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer

Solange Peterscorrespondence


Christin Bexelius


Veronica Munk


Natasha Leighl


  • The brain is a common site of metastasis in NSCLC, resulting in poor prognosis.
  • Survival, QoL and economic consequences of NSCLC with brain metastases are reviewed.
  • WBRT had shorter OS and molecularly targeted therapy had longer OS.
  • QoL data varied among studies; in general WBRT did not improve QoL.
  • Healthcare costs increased with diagnosis of brain metastases for all treatments.


This systematic review aims to improve understanding of the burden of disease associated with brain metastases from non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in terms of survival, quality of life (QoL) and economic impact. PubMed/MEDLINE, Cochrane collaboration and EMBASE databases were searched for articles published in English from 2000 to 2014. Of 3288 abstracts retrieved, 3156 were eliminated without a full-text review. Of the 132 articles that received a full-text review, a final set of 93 articles was included in an initial literature analysis. In order to homogenize the patient populations evaluated, we included entries that were either entirely composed of NSCLC patients or that had >50% of NSCLC patients in the total study population. From the studies identified in this systematic review, median OS and PFS varied based on the type of treatment received, although whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) was associated with the shortest OS and PFS durations. Regimens incorporating targeted therapy in molecularly selected patients were associated with the longest OS and PFS durations. QoL findings varied among studies, generally WBRT resulted in stable or worsening QoL scores rather than improvements. Healthcare costs were increased following diagnosis of brain metastases regardless of treatment. The findings from this review highlight the need for more effective treatments of brain metastases from NSCLC that improve survival function, QoL and potentially decrease costs.


Brain metastases, Non-small-cell lung cancer, Quality of life, Cost



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