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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Interventions for the treatment of brain radionecrosis after radiotherapy or radiosurgery

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2018
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Interventions for the treatment of brain radionecrosis after radiotherapy or radiosurgery
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2018
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011492.pub2
Pubmed ID

Caroline Chung, Andrew Bryant, Paul D Brown


Brain radionecrosis (tissue death caused by radiation) can occur following high-dose radiotherapy to brain tissue and can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life (QoL) and function. The underlying pathophysiological mechanism remains unclear for this condition, which makes establishing effective treatments challenging. To assess the effectiveness of interventions used for the treatment of brain radionecrosis in adults over 18 years old. In October 2017, we searched the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) for eligible studies. We also searched unpublished data through Physicians Data Query, www.controlled-trials.com/rct, www.clinicaltrials.gov, and www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials for ongoing trials and handsearched relevant conference material. We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of any intervention directed to treat brain radionecrosis in adults over 18 years old previously treated with radiation therapy to the brain. We anticipated a limited number of RCTs, so we also planned to include all comparative prospective intervention trials and quasi-randomised trials of interventions for brain radionecrosis in adults as long as these studies had a comparison group that reflects the standard of care (i.e. placebo or corticosteroids). Selection bias was likely to be an issue in all the included non-randomised studies therefore results are interpreted with caution. Two review authors (CC, PB) independently extracted data from selected studies and completed a 'Risk of bias' assessment. For dichotomous outcomes, the odds ratio (OR) for the outcome of interest was reported. For continuous outcomes, treatment effect was reported as mean difference (MD) between treatment arms with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Two RCTs and one prospective non-randomised study evaluating pharmacological interventions met the inclusion criteria for this review. As each study evaluated a different drug or intervention using different endpoints, a meta-analysis was not possible. There were no trials of non-pharmacological interventions that met the inclusion criteria.A very small randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of bevacizumab versus placebo reported that 100% (7/7) of participants on bevacizumab had reduction in brain oedema by at least 25% and reduction in post-gadolinium enhancement, whereas all those receiving placebo had clinical or radiological worsening or both. This was an encouraging finding but due to the small sample size we did not report a relative effect. The authors also failed to provide adequate details regarding the randomisation and blinding procedures Therefore, the certainty of this evidence is low and a larger RCT adhering to reporting standards is needed.An open-label RCT demonstrated a greater reduction in brain oedema (T2 hyperintensity) in the edaravone plus corticosteroid group than in the corticosteroid alone group (MD was 3.03 (95% CI 0.14 to 5.92; low-certainty evidence due to high risk of bias and imprecision); although the result approached borderline significance, there was no evidence of any important difference in the reduction in post-gadolinium enhancement between arms (MD = 0.47, 95% CI - 0.80 to 1.74; low-certainty evidence due to high risk of bias and imprecision).In the RCT of bevacizumab versus placebo, all seven participants receiving bevacizumab were reported to have neurological improvement, whereas five of seven participants on placebo had neurological worsening (very low-certainty evidence due to small sample size and concerns over validity of analyses). While no adverse events were noted with placebo, three severe adverse events were noted with bevacizumab, which included aspiration pneumonia, pulmonary embolus and superior sagittal sinus thrombosis. In the RCT of corticosteroids with or without edaravone, the participants who received the combination treatment were noted to have significantly greater clinical improvement than corticosteroids alone based on LENT/SOMA scale (OR = 2.51, 95% CI 1.26 to 5.01; low-certainty evidence due to open-label design). No differences in treatment toxicities were observed between arms.One included prospective non-randomised study of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) versus no active treatment was found but it did not include any radiological assessment. As only one included study was a double-blinded randomised controlled trial, the other studies were prone to selection and detection biases.None of the included studies reported quality of life outcomes or adequately reported details about corticosteroid requirements.A limited number of prospective studies were identified but subsequently excluded as these studies had a limited number of participants evaluating different pharmacological interventions using variable endpoints. There is a lack of good certainty evidence to help quantify the risks and benefits of interventions for the treatment of brain radionecrosis after radiotherapy or radiosurgery. In an RCT of 14 patients, bevacizumab showed radiological response which was associated with minimal improvement in cognition or symptom severity. Although it was a randomised trial by design, the small sample size limits the quality of data. A trial of edaravone plus corticosteroids versus corticosteroids alone reported greater reduction in the surrounding oedema with combination treatment but no effect on the enhancing radionecrosis lesion. Due to the open-label design and wide confidence intervals in the results, the quality of this data was also low. There was no evidence to support any non-pharmacological interventions for the treatment of radionecrosis. Further prospective randomised studies of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions are needed to generate stronger evidence. Two ongoing RCTs, one evaluating bevacizumab and one evaluating hyperbaric oxygen therapy were identified.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 7 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 151 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 151 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 27 18%
Student > Ph. D. Student 17 11%
Researcher 16 11%
Student > Bachelor 13 9%
Other 12 8%
Other 29 19%
Unknown 37 25%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 57 38%
Nursing and Health Professions 20 13%
Psychology 6 4%
Neuroscience 5 3%
Social Sciences 5 3%
Other 14 9%
Unknown 44 29%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 4. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 09 September 2019.
All research outputs
of 16,097,246 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,396 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 277,532 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 175 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 16,097,246 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 71st percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,396 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 23.8. This one is in the 36th percentile – i.e., 36% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 277,532 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 65% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 175 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 19th percentile – i.e., 19% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.