J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg 2021; 82(03): 211-217
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1714410
Original Article

Surgical Indication Optimization of Brain Metastases Based on the Evolutionary Analysis of Karnofsky Performance Status

1   Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Pablo Ajler
1   Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Daniela Massa
1   Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Pedro Plou
1   Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Matteo Baccanelli
1   Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Claudio Yampolsky
1   Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
› Author Affiliations


Background and Objective Surgical resection of brain metastases (BM) offers the highest rates of local control and survival; however, it is reserved for patients with good functional status. In particular, the presence of BM tends to oversize the detriment of the overall functional status, causing neurologic deterioration, potentially reversible following symptomatic pharmacological treatment. Thus, a timely indication of surgical resection may be dismissed. We propose to identify and quantify these variations in the functional status of patients with symptomatic BM to optimize the indication of surgical resection.

Patients and Methods Historic, retrospective cohort analysis of adult patients undergoing BM microsurgical resection, consecutively from January 2012 to May 2016, was conducted. The Karnofsky performance status (KPS) variation was recorded according to the symptomatic evolution of each patient at specific moments of the diagnostic–therapeutic algorithm. Finally, survival curves were delineated for the main identified factors.

Results One hundred and nineteen resection surgeries were performed. The median overall survival was 243 days, while on average it was 305.7 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 250.6–360.9) days. The indication of surgical resection of 10% of the symptomatic patients in our series (7.5% of overall) could have been initially rejected due to pharmacologically reversible neurologic impairment. Survival curves showed statistically significant differences when KPS was stratified following pharmacological symptomatic treatment (p < 0.0001), unlike when they were estimated at the time of BM diagnosis (p = 0.1128).

Conclusion The preoperative determination of the functional status by KPS as an evolutive parameter after the nononcologic symptomatic pharmacological treatment allowed us to optimize the surgical indication of patients with symptomatic BM.


A preliminary summary of these data was previously presented at the “XIV Argentinian Conference of Neurosurgery,” Argentinian Association of Neurosurgery, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2017.

Publication History

Received: 23 June 2019

Accepted: 30 December 2019

Article published online:
24 January 2021

© 2021. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany

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