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The management of metastatic solid tumours has historically focused on systemic treatment given with palliative intent. However, radical surgical treatment of oligometastases is now common practice in some settings. The development of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), building on improvements in delivery achieved by intensity-modulated and image-guided radiotherapy, now allows delivery of ablative doses of radiation to extracranial sites. Many non-randomised studies have shown that SBRT for oligometastases is safe and effective, with local control rates of about 80%. Importantly, these studies also suggest that the natural history of the disease is changing, with 2-5 year progression-free survival of about 20%. Although complete cure might be possible in a few patients with oligometastases, the aim of SBRT in this setting is to achieve local control and delay progression, and thereby also postpone the need for further treatment. We review published work showing that SBRT offers durable local control and the potential for progression-free survival in non-liver, non-lung oligometastatic disease at a range of sites. However, to test whether SBRT really does improve progression-free survival, randomised trials will be essential.

Original publication




Journal article


Lancet Oncol

Publication Date





e28 - e37


Disease-Free Survival, Dose Fractionation, Radiation, Humans, Liver Neoplasms, Lung Neoplasms, Neoplasm Metastasis, Radiosurgery, Radiotherapy, Image-Guided