Bevacizumab vs laser interstitial thermal therapy in cerebral radiation necrosis from brain metastases: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Paolo Palmisciano, Ali S. Haider, Chibueze D. Nwagwu, Waseem Wahood, Salah G. Aoun, Kalil G. Abdullah, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: Radiation necrosis (RN) represents a serious post-radiotherapy complication in patients with brain metastases. Bevacizumab and laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) are viable treatment options, but direct comparative data is scarce. We reviewed the literature to compare the two treatment strategies. Methods: PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, and Cochrane databases were searched. All studies of patients with RN from brain metastases treated with bevacizumab or LITT were included. Treatment outcomes were analyzed using indirect meta-analysis with random-effect modeling. Results: Among the 18 studies included, 143 patients received bevacizumab and 148 underwent LITT. Both strategies were equally effective in providing post-treatment symptomatic improvement (P = 0.187, I2 = 54.8%), weaning off steroids (P = 0.614, I2 = 25.5%), and local lesion control (P = 0.5, I2 = 0%). Mean number of lesions per patient was not statistically significant among groups (P = 0.624). Similarly, mean T1-contrast-enhancing pre-treatment volumes were not statistically different (P = 0.582). Patterns of radiological responses differed at 6-month follow-ups, with rates of partial regression significantly higher in the bevacizumab group (P = 0.001, I2 = 88.9%), and stable disease significantly higher in the LITT group (P = 0.002, I2 = 81.9%). Survival rates were superior in the LITT cohort, and statistical significance was reached at 18 months (P = 0.038, I2 = 73.7%). Low rates of adverse events were reported in both groups (14.7% for bevacizumab and 12.2% for LITT). Conclusion: Bevacizumab and LITT can be safe and effective treatments for RN from brain metastases. Clinical and radiological outcomes are mostly comparable, but LITT may relate with superior survival benefits in select patients. Further studies are required to identify the best patient candidates for each treatment group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Bevacizumab
  • Brain metastases
  • LITT
  • Radiation necrosis
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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