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Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Wendy Fellows-Mayle, Rachel Wolfe, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger, L. Dade Lunsford and Peter C. Gerszten

OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has been used to treat trigeminal neuralgia by targeting the cisternal segment of the trigeminal nerve, which in turn triggers changes in the gasserian ganglion. In the lumbar spine, the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) is responsible for transmitting pain sensitivity and is involved in the pathogenesis of peripheral neuropathic pain. Therefore, radiosurgery to the DRG might improve chronic peripheral pain. This study evaluated the clinical and histological effects of high-dose radiosurgery to the DRG in a rodent model.

METHODS

Eight Sprague-Dawley rats received either 40- or 80-Gy SRS to the fifth and sixth lumbar DRGs using the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon. Animals were euthanized 3 months after treatment, and the lumbar spine was dissected and taken for analysis. Simple histology was used to assess collagen deposition and inflammatory response. GFAP, Neu-N, substance P, and internexin were used as a measure of peripheral glial activation, neurogenesis, pain-specific neurotransmission, and neurotransmission in general, respectively. The integrity of the spinothalamic tract was assessed by means of the von Frey test.

RESULTS

The animals did not exhibit any signs of motor or sensory deficits during the experimentation period. Edema, fibrosis, and vascular sclerotic changes were present on the treated, but not the control, side. SRS reduced the expression of GFAP without affecting the expression of Neu-N, substance P, or internexin. The von Frey sensory perception elicited equivalent results for the control side and both radiosurgical doses.

CONCLUSIONS

SRS did not alter sensory or motor function but reduced the activation of satellite glial cells, a pathway for DRG-mediated pain perpetuation. Radiosurgery provoked changes equivalent to the effects of focal radiation on the trigeminal ganglion after SRS for trigeminal neuralgia, suggesting that radiosurgery could be successful in relieving radiculopathic pain.

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Stephen Johnson, Hideyuki Kano, Andrew Faramand, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Optimizing outcomes in the management of patients with vestibular schwannomas (VSs) requires consideration of the patient’s goals. Earlier recognition of VS by imaging has led to an evolution in management. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has emerged as a frequently used strategy designed to reduce management risks, obtain long-term tumor control, and preserve current neurological function. The authors analyzed features that impact hearing preservation rates in patients with serviceable hearing prior to SRS.

METHODS

The study included 307 patients who had serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson hearing scale [GR] grade 1 or 2, speech discrimination score ≥ 50%, pure tone average ≤ 50 dB) at the time of SRS. The authors evaluated parameters that included age, tumor volume, hearing status, disequilibrium, tinnitus, Koos class, sex, and tumor margin dose. The Pittsburgh Hearing Prediction Score (PHPS) was evaluated as a method to predict long-term hearing outcomes in these cases.

RESULTS

At a median of 7.6 years after SRS (range 1–23 years), tumor control was achieved in 95% of patients. The overall serviceable hearing preservation rate was 77.8% at 3 years, 68.8% at 5 years, and 51.8% at 10 years. The PHPS assigns a total of 5 points based on patient age (1 point if < 45 years, 2 points if 45–59 years, and 3 points if ≥ 60 years), tumor volume (0 points if < 1.2 cm3, 1 point if ≥ 1.2 cm3), and GR grade (0 points if grade 1 hearing, 1 point if grade 2 hearing) The serviceable hearing preservation rate was 92.3% at 10 years in patients whose score total was 1. In contrast, none of the patients whose PHPS was 5 maintained serviceable hearing at 10 years (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

SRS resulted in a high rate of long-term tumor control and cranial nerve preservation. The PHPS helped to predict long-term hearing preservation rates in patients who underwent SRS when they still had serviceable hearing. The best long-term hearing preservation rates were found in younger patients with smaller tumor volumes.

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Ajay Niranjan, Ahmed Kashkoush, Hideyuki Kano, Edward A. Monaco III, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Seizures are the second-most common presenting symptom in patients with lobar arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). However, few studies have assessed the long-term effect of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) on seizure control. The authors of this study assess the outcome of SRS for these patients to identify prognostic factors associated with seizure control.

METHODS

Patients with AVM who presented with a history of seizure and underwent SRS at the authors’ institution between 1987 and 2012 were retrospectively assessed. The total cohort included 155 patients with a mean follow-up of 86 months (range 6–295 months). Primary outcomes assessed were seizure frequency, antiepileptic drug regimen, and seizure freedom for 6 months prior to last follow-up.

RESULTS

Seizure-free status was achieved in 108 patients (70%), with an additional 23 patients (15%) reporting improved seizure frequency as compared to their pre-SRS status. The median time to seizure-free status was estimated to be 12 months (95% CI 0–27 months) as evaluated via Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. The mean seizure frequency prior to SRS was 14.2 (95% CI 5.4–23.1) episodes per year. Although not all patients tried, the proportion of patients successfully weaned off all antiepileptic drugs was 18% (28/155 patients). On multivariate logistic regression, focal impaired awareness seizure type (also known as complex partial seizures) and superficial venous drainage were significantly associated with a decreased odds ratio for seizure-free status at last follow-up (OR 0.37 [95% CI 0.15–0.92] for focal impaired awareness seizures; OR 0.36 [95% CI 0.16–0.81] for superficial venous drainage). The effects of superficial venous drainage on seizure outcome were nonsignificant when excluding patients with < 2 years of follow-up. AVM obliteration did not correlate with long-term seizure freedom (p = 0.202, chi-square test).

CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests that SRS improves long-term seizure control and increases the likelihood of being medication free, independently of AVM obliteration. Patients with focal impaired awareness seizures were less likely to obtain long-term seizure relief.

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Ronny Kalash, Scott M. Glaser, John C. Flickinger, Steven Burton, Dwight E. Heron, Peter C. Gerszten, Johnathan A. Engh, Nduka M. Amankulor and John A. Vargo

OBJECTIVE

Akin to the nonoperative management of benign intracranial tumors, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) has emerged as a nonoperative treatment option for noninfiltrative primary spine tumors such as meningioma and schwannoma. The majority of initial series used higher doses of 16–24 Gy in 1–3 fractions. The authors hypothesized that lower doses (such as 12–13 Gy in 1 fraction) might provide an efficacy similar to that found with the dose de-escalation commonly used for intracranial radiosurgery to treat acoustic neuroma or meningioma and with a lower risk of toxicity.

METHODS

The authors identified 38 patients in a prospectively maintained institutional radiosurgery database who were treated with definitive SBRT for a total of 47 benign primary spine tumors between 2004 and 2016. SBRT consisted of 9–21 Gy in 1–3 fractions using the CyberKnife (n = 11 [23%]), Synergy S (n = 21 [45%]), or TrueBeam (n = 15 [32%]) radiosurgery platform. For a comparison of SBRT doses, patients were dichotomized into 1 of 2 groups (low-dose or high-dose SBRT) using a cutoff biologically effective dose (BED10Gy) of 30 Gy. Tumor control was calculated from the date of SBRT to the last follow-up using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, with comparisons between groups completed using a log-rank method. To account for potential indication bias, a propensity score analysis was completed based on the conditional probabilities of SBRT dose selection. Toxicity was graded using Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0 with a focus on grade 3+ toxicity and the incidence of pain flare.

RESULTS

For the 38 patients, the most common histological findings were meningioma (15 patients), schwannoma (13 patients), and hemangioblastoma (7 patients). The median age at SBRT was 58 years (range 25–91 years). The 47 treated lesions were located in the cervical (n = 18), thoracic (n = 19), or lumbosacral (n = 10) spine. Five (11%) lesions were lost to follow-up after SBRT. The median follow-up duration for the remaining 42 lesions was 54 months (range 1.2–133 months). Six (16%) patients (with a total of 8 lesions) experienced pain flare after SBRT; no significant predictor of pain flare was identified. No grade 3+ acute- or late-onset complication was noted. The 5-year local control rate was 76% (95% CI 61%–91%). No significant difference in local control according to dose, fractionation, previous radiation, surgery, tumor histology, age, treatment platform, planning target volume, or spine level treated was found. The 5-year local control rates for low- and high-dose treatments were 73% (95% CI 53%–93%) and 83% (95% CI 61%–100%) (p = 0.52). In propensity score–adjusted multivariable analysis, no difference in local control was identified (HR 0.30, 95% CI 0.02–5.40; p = 0.41).

CONCLUSIONS

Long-term follow-up of patients treated with SBRT for benign spinal lesions revealed no significant difference between low-dose (BED10Gy ≤ 30) and high-dose SBRT in local control, pain-flare rate, or long-term toxicity.

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Kyung-Jae Park, Hideyuki Kano, Aditya Iyer, Xiaomin Liu, Daniel A. Tonetti, Craig Lehocky, Andrew Faramand, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger, Douglas Kondziolka and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The authors of this study evaluate the long-term outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for cavernous sinus meningioma (CSM).

METHODS

The authors retrospectively assessed treatment outcomes 5–18 years after SRS in 200 patients with CSM. The median patient age was 57 years (range 22–83 years). In total, 120 (60%) patients underwent Gamma Knife SRS as primary management, 46 (23%) for residual tumors, and 34 (17%) for recurrent tumors after one or more surgical procedures. The median tumor target volume was 7.5 cm3 (range 0.1–37.3 cm3), and the median margin dose was 13.0 Gy (range 10–20 Gy).

RESULTS

Tumor volume regressed in 121 (61%) patients, was unchanged in 49 (25%), and increased over time in 30 (15%) during a median imaging follow-up of 101 months. Actuarial tumor control rates at the 5-, 10-, and 15-year follow-ups were 92%, 84%, and 75%, respectively. Of the 120 patients who had undergone SRS as a primary treatment (primary SRS), tumor progression was observed in 14 (11.7%) patients at a median of 48.9 months (range 4.8–120.0 months) after SRS, and actuarial tumor control rates were 98%, 93%, 85%, and 85% at the 1-, 5-, 10-, and 15-year follow-ups post-SRS. A history of tumor progression after microsurgery was an independent predictor of an unfavorable response to radiosurgery (p = 0.009, HR = 4.161, 95% CI 1.438–12.045). Forty-four (26%) of 170 patients who had presented with at least one cranial nerve (CN) deficit improved after SRS. Development of new CN deficits after initial microsurgical resection was an unfavorable factor for improvement after SRS (p = 0.014, HR = 0.169, 95% CI 0.041–0.702). Fifteen (7.5%) patients experienced permanent CN deficits without evidence of tumor progression at a median onset of 9 months (range 2.3–85 months) after SRS. Patients with larger tumor volumes (≥ 10 cm3) were more likely to develop permanent CN complications (p = 0.046, HR = 3.629, 95% CI 1.026–12.838). Three patients (1.5%) developed delayed pituitary dysfunction after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

This long-term study showed that Gamma Knife radiosurgery provided long-term tumor control for most patients with CSM. Patients who underwent SRS for progressive tumors after prior microsurgery had a greater chance of tumor growth than the patients without prior surgery or those with residual tumor treated after microsurgery.

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Hideyuki Kano, John C. Flickinger, Aya Nakamura, Rachel C. Jacobs, Daniel A. Tonetti, Craig Lehocky, Kyung-Jae Park, Huai-che Yang, Ajay Niranjan and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The management of large-volume arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) remains challenging. The authors retrospectively tested the hypothesis that AVM obliteration rates can be improved by increasing the percentage volume of an AVM that receives a minimal threshold dose of radiation.

METHODS

In 1992, the authors prospectively began to stage anatomical components in order to deliver higher single doses to AVMs > 15 cm3 in volume. Since that time 60 patients with large AVMs have undergone volume-staged SRS (VS-SRS). The median interval between the first stage and the second stage was 4.5 months (2.8–13.8 months). The median target volume was 11.6 cm3 (range 4.3–26 cm3) in the first-stage SRS and 10.6 cm3 (range 2.8–33.7 cm3) in the second-stage SRS. The median margin dose was 16 Gy (range 13–18 Gy) for both SRS stages.

RESULTS

AVM obliteration after the initial two staged volumetric SRS treatments was confirmed by MRI alone in 4 patients and by angiography in 11 patients at a median follow-up of 82 months (range 0.4–206 months) after VS-SRS. The post–VS-SRS obliteration rates on angiography were 4% at 3 years, 13% at 4 years, 23% at 5 years, and 27% at 10 years. In multivariate analysis, only ≥ 20-Gy volume coverage was significantly associated with higher total obliteration rates confirmed by angiography. When the margin dose is ≥ 17 Gy and the 20-Gy SRS volume included ≥ 63% of the total target volume, the angiographically confirmed obliteration rates increased to 61% at 5 years and 70% at 10 years.

CONCLUSIONS

The outcomes of prospective VS-SRS for large AVMs can be improved by prescribing an AVM margin dose of ≥ 17 Gy and adding additional isocenters so that ≥ 63% of the internal AVM dose receives more than 20 Gy.

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Sudesh S. Raju, Ajay Niranjan, Edward A. Monaco III, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to severe intention tremor in some patients. In several case reports, conventional radiotherapy has been reported to possibly exacerbate MS. Radiosurgery dramatically limits normal tissue irradiation to potentially avoid such a problem. Gamma Knife thalamotomy (GKT) has been established as a minimally invasive technique that is effective in treating essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease–related tremor. The goal in this study was to analyze the outcomes of GKT in patients suffering from medically refractory MS-related tremor.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively studied the outcomes of 15 patients (mean age 46.5 years) who had undergone GKT over a 15-year period (1998–2012). Fourteen patients underwent GKT at a median maximum dose of 140 Gy (range 130–150 Gy) using a single 4-mm isocenter. One patient underwent GKT at a dose of 140 Gy delivered via two 4-mm isocenters (3 mm apart). The posteroinferior region of the nucleus ventralis intermedius (VIM) was the target for all GKTs. The Fahn-Tolosa-Marin clinical tremor rating scale was used to evaluate tremor, handwriting, drawing, and drinking. The median time to the last follow-up was 39 months.

RESULTS

After GKT, 13 patients experienced tremor improvement on the side contralateral to surgery. Four patients noted tremor arrest at a median of 4.5 months post-GKT. Seven patients had excellent tremor improvement and 6 had good tremor improvement. Four patients noted excellent functional improvement, 8 noted good functional improvement, and 1 noted satisfactory functional improvement. Three patients experienced diminished tremor relief at a median of 18 months after radiosurgery. Two patients experienced temporary adverse radiation effects. Another patient developed a large thalamic cyst 60 months after GKT, which was successfully managed with Ommaya reservoir placement.

CONCLUSIONS

Gamma Knife thalamotomy was found to be a minimally invasive and beneficial procedure for medically refractory MS tremor.

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Daniel A. Tonetti, Bradley A. Gross, Brian T. Jankowitz, Hideyuki Kano, Edward A. Monaco III, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Aggressive dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) with cortical venous drainage (CVD) are known for their relatively high risk of recurrent neurological events or hemorrhage. However, recent natural history literature has indicated that nonaggressive dAVFs with CVD have a significantly lower prospective risk of hemorrhage. These nonaggressive dAVFs are typically diagnosed because of symptomatic headache, pulsatile tinnitus, or ocular symptoms, as in low-risk dAVFs. Therefore, the viability of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as a treatment for this lesion subclass should be investigated.

METHODS

The authors evaluated their institutional experience with SRS for dAVFs with CVD for the period from 1991 to 2016, assessing angiographic outcomes and posttreatment hemorrhage rates. They subsequently pooled their results with those published in the literature and stratified the results based on the mode of clinical presentation.

RESULTS

In an institutional cohort of 42 dAVFs with CVD treated using SRS, there were no complications or hemorrhages after treatment in 19 patients with nonaggressive dAVFs, but there was 1 radiation-induced complication and 1 hemorrhage among the 23 patients with aggressive dAVFs. In pooling these cases with 155 additional cases from the literature, the authors found that the hemorrhage rate after SRS was significantly lower among the patients with nonaggressive dAVFs (0% vs 6.8%, p = 0.003). Similarly, the number of radiation-related complications was 0/124 in nonaggressive dAVF cases versus 6/73 in aggressive dAVF cases (p = 0.001). The annual rate of hemorrhage after SRS for aggressive fistulas was 3.0% over 164.5 patient-years, whereas none of the nonaggressive fistulas bled after radiosurgery over 279.4 patient-years of follow-up despite the presence of CVD.

CONCLUSIONS

Cortical venous drainage is thought to be a significant risk factor in all dAVFs. In the institutional experience described here, SRS proved to be a low-risk strategy associated with a very low risk of subsequent hemorrhage or radiation-related complications in nonaggressive dAVFs with CVD.

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Daniel A. Tonetti, Bradley A. Gross, Kyle M. Atcheson, Brian T. Jankowitz, Hideyuki Kano, Edward A. Monaco III, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The authors of this study found that, given the latency period required for arteriovenous malformation (AVM) obliteration after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), a study with limited follow-up cannot assess the benefit of SRS for unruptured AVMs.

METHODS

The authors reviewed their institutional experience with “ARUBA (A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations)–eligible” AVMs treated with SRS between 1987 and 2016, with the primary outcome defined as stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic) or death (AVM related or AVM unrelated). Patients with at least 3 years of follow-up in addition to those who experienced stroke or died during the latency period were included. Secondary outcome measures included obliteration rates, patients with new seizure disorders, and those with new focal deficits without stroke.

RESULTS

Of 233 patients included in this study, 32 had a stroke or died after SRS over the mean 8.4-year follow-up (14%). Utilizing the 10% stroke or death rate at a mean 2.8-year follow-up for untreated AVMs in ARUBA, the rate in the authors’ study is significantly lower than that anticipated at the 8.4-year follow-up for an untreated cohort (14% vs 30%, p = 0.0003). Notwithstanding obliteration, in this study, annualized rates of hemorrhage and stroke or death after 3 years following SRS were 0.4% and 0.8%, respectively. The overall obliteration rate was 72%; new seizure disorders, temporary new focal deficits without stroke, and permanent new focal deficits without stroke occurred in 2% of patients each.

CONCLUSIONS

After a sensible follow-up period exceeding the latency period, there is a lower rate of stroke/death for patients with treated, unruptured AVMs with SRS than for patients with untreated AVMs.

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Marshall J. Huang, Hideyuki Kano, Seyed H. Mousavi, Ajay Niranjan, Edward A. Monaco III, Yoshio Arai, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this retrospective cohort study was to assess long-term outcomes in patients with vestibular schwannoma (VS) who underwent stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) after initial microsurgical resection.

METHODS

From the authors' database of 1770 patients with VS, the authors retrospectively analyzed data from 173 Gamma Knife SRS procedures for VS after 1 (128 procedures) or multiple (45 procedures) microsurgical resections. The median length of the interval between the last resection and SRS was 42 months (range 2–329 months). The median length of clinical follow-up was 74 months (range 6–285 months). Progression-free survival after SRS was determined with Kaplan-Meier analysis.

RESULTS

At the time of SRS, the hearing of 161 patients (93%) was Gardner-Robertson Class V, and 81 patients (47%) had facial neuropathy (i.e., facial function with House-Brackmann [HB] grades of III–VI), 87 (50%) had trigeminal neuropathy, and 71 (41%) reported imbalance or disequilibrium disorders. The median tumor volume was 2.7 cm3 (range 0.2–21.6 cm3), and the median dose to the tumor margin was 13 Gy (range 11–20 Gy). Radiosurgery controlled growth of 163 (94%) tumors. Progression-free survival after SRS was 97% at 3 years, 95% at 5 years, and 90% at 10 years. Four patients with delayed tumor progression underwent repeat SRS at a median of 35 months (range 23–64 months) after the first SRS. Four patients (2.3%) with tumor progression underwent repeat resection at a median of 25 months (range 19–33 months). Among the patients with any facial dysfunction (indicated by HB grades of II–VI), 19% had improvement in this condition after SRS, and 5.5% with some facial function (indicated by HB grades of I–V) developed more facial weakness. Among patients with trigeminal neuropathy, 20% had improvement in this condition, and 5.8% developed or had worsened trigeminal neuropathy after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

Stereotactic radiosurgery offered a safe and effective long-term management strategy for VS patients whose tumors remained or recurred after initial microsurgery.