domingo, 17 de mayo de 2009

Prognostic indices for brain metastases – usefulness and challenges

David Muñoz Carmona
Background: This review addresses the strengths and weaknesses of 6 different prognostic indices, published since the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) developed and validated the widely used 3-tiered prognostic index known as recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) classes, i.e. between 1997 and 2008. In addition, other analyses of prognostic factors in groups of patients, which typically are underrepresented in large trials or databases, published in the same time period are reviewed.
Methods: Based on a systematic literature search, studies with more than 20 patients were included. The methods and results of prognostic factor analyses were extracted and compared. The authors discuss why current data suggest a need for a more refined index than RPA.
Results: So far, none of the indices has been derived from analyses of all potential prognostic factors. The 3 most recently published indices, including the RTOG's graded prognostic assessment (GPA), all expanded from the primary 3-tiered RPA system to a 4-tiered system. The authors' own data confirm the results of the RTOG GPA analysis and support further evaluation of this tool.
Conclusion: This review provides a basis for further refinement of the current prognostic indices
by identifying open questions regarding, e.g., performance of the ideal index, evaluation of new candidate parameters, and separate analyses for different cancer types. Unusual primary tumors and their potential differences in biology or unique treatment approaches are not well represented in large pooled analyses.

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