Laser interstitial thermotherapy (LITT) for the treatment of tumors of the brain and spine: a brief review

Clark Chen, Ian Lee, Claudio Tatsui, Theresa Elder, Andrew E. Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Laser Interstitial Thermotherapy (LITT; also known as Stereotactic Laser Ablation or SLA), is a minimally invasive treatment modality that has recently gained prominence in the treatment of malignant primary and metastatic brain tumors and radiation necrosis and studies for treatment of spinal metastasis has recently been reported. Methods: Here we provide a brief literature review of the various contemporary uses for LITT and their reported outcomes. Results: Historically, the primary indication for LITT has been for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma (GBM). However, indications have continued to expand and now include gliomas of different grades, brain metastasis (BM), radiation necrosis (RN), other types of brain tumors as well as spine metastasis. LITT is emerging as a safe, reliable, minimally invasive clinical approach, particularly for deep seated, focal malignant brain tumors and radiation necrosis. The role of LITT for treatment of other types of tumors of the brain and for spine tumors appears to be evolving at a small number of centers. While the technology appears to be safe and increasingly utilized, there have been few prospective clinical trials and most published studies combine different pathologies in the same report. Conclusion: Well-designed prospective trials will be required to firmly establish the role of LITT in the treatment of lesions of the brain and spine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-442
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Brain metastasis
  • Glioma
  • Laser interstitial thermotherapy
  • LITT
  • Meningioma
  • Radiation necrosis
  • SLA
  • Spinal metastasis
  • Stereotactic laser ablation

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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