Thyroid cancer brain metastasis: Survival and genomic characteristics of a large tertiary care cohort

Joseph R. Osborne, Jessica D. Kondraciuk, Samuel L. Rice, Xiaosun Zhou, Andrea Knezevic, Daniel E. Spratt, Mona Sabra, Steven M. Larson, Ravinder K. Grewal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose Brain metastases (BMs) in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) are rare but associated with poor prognosis. We examined risk factors for overall survival (OS) in this population and explored the pattern of genomic alterations. Methods Single-institution, retrospective review of all patients with DTC from January 2000 to November 2016 identified 79 patients for analysis. Multiple prognostic factors, including age, gender, distal metastasis (DM), diagnosis time, DM sites, BM diagnosis time, BM number and size, genomic sequencing data, craniectomy, external beam radiation therapy, and kinase inhibitor therapies, were evaluated. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed. Results Median survival after BM was 18 months. One- and 3-year survival rates were 63% and 33%, respectively. Univariate analysis identified 4 covariates correlated with prolonged survival: time between DTC diagnosis and BM for less than 3 years (P = 0.01), time from initial DM diagnosis to BM for 22 months or less (P = 0.03), 3 BM sites or fewer (P = 0.002), and craniectomy (P = 0.05). Multivariate model revealed 3 variables associated with OS: DTC diagnosis to BM time of less than 3 years (P = 0.04), craniectomy (P = 0.06), and patients with fewer than 3 BM sites (P = 0.06). The majority of patients with BM had a telomerase reverse transcriptase promoter mutation, However, mutational status was not an independent predictor of survival. Conclusions For BM from DTC, time interval between DTC diagnosis and BM, number of BM sites, and craniectomy were independently associated with OS. Further studies are needed to define the role of genomic mutations in advanced cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-549
Number of pages6
JournalClinical nuclear medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • BRAF
  • DTC
  • TERT
  • brain metastasis
  • craniectomy
  • thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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