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

OBJECTIVE

Unilateral Gamma Knife thalamotomy (GKT) is a well-established treatment for patients with medically refractory tremor who are not eligible for invasive procedures due to increased risk of compications. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether staged bilateral GKT provides benefit with acceptable risk to patients suffering from disabling medically refractory bilateral tremor.

METHODS

Eleven patients underwent staged bilateral GKT during a 17-year period (1999–2016). Eight patients had essential tremor (ET), 2 had Parkinson's disease (PD)–related tremor, and 1 had multiple-sclerosis (MS)–related tremor. For the first GKT, a median maximum dose of 140 Gy was delivered to the posterior-inferior region of the nucleus ventralis intermedius (VIM) through a single isocenter with 4-mm collimators. Patients who benefitted from unilateral GKT were eligible for a contralateral GKT 1–2 years later (median 22 months). For the second GKT, a median maximum dose of 130 Gy was delivered to the opposite VIM nucleus to a single 4-mm isocenter. The Fahn-Tolosa-Marin (FTM) clinical tremor rating scale was used to score tremor, drawing, and drinking before and after each GKT. The FTM writing score was assessed only for the dominant hand before and after the first GKT. The Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) was used to assess quality of life and activities of daily living before and after the first and second GKT.

RESULTS

The median time to last follow-up after the first GKT was 35 months (range 11–70 months). All patients had improvement in at least 1 FTM score after the first GKT. Three patients (27.3%) had tremor arrest and complete restoration of function (noted via FTM tremor, writing, drawing, and drinking scores equaling zero). No patient had tremor recurrence or diminished tremor relief after the first GKT. One patient experienced new temporary neurological deficit (contralateral lower-extremity hemiparesis) from the first GKT. The median time to last follow-up after the second GKT was 12 months (range 2–70 months). Nine patients had improvement in at least 1 FTM score after the second GKT. Two patients had tremor arrest and complete restoration of function. No patient experienced tremor recurrence or diminished tremor relief after the second GKT. No patient experienced new neurological or radiological adverse effect from the second GKT. Statistically significant improvements were noted in the KPS score following the first and second GKT.

CONCLUSIONS

Staged bilateral GKT provided effective relief for medically refractory, disabling, bilateral tremor without increased risk of neurological complications. It is an appropriate strategy for carefully selected patients with medically refractory bilateral tremor who are not eligible for deep brain stimulation.

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Seyed H. Mousavi, Ajay Niranjan, Berkcan Akpinar, Edward A. Monaco III, Jonathan Cohen, Jagdish Bhatnagar, Yue-Fang Chang, Hideyuki Kano, Sakibul Huq, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

During the last 25 years, more than 100,000 patients worldwide with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) have undergone stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) with a standard dose of radiation. However, the radiobiological effect of radiation is determined by the amount of energy delivered to the tissue (integral dose [ID] = mean dose × target volume) and is directly associated with the nerve volume. Although the trigeminal nerve volume varies among patients with TN, the clinical impact of this variation in delivered energy is unknown. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of delivered ID on the outcome of TN radiosurgery.

METHODS

The authors evaluated 155 patients with unilateral TN who had undergone SRS as their initial surgical management over a 13-year period. The authors measured the postganglionic ID within the SRS target and retrospectively stratified patients into 3 groups: low (< 1.4 mJ), medium (1.4–2.7 mJ), and high (> 2.7 mJ) ID. Clinical outcomes, which included pain status (scored using the Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Scale) and sensory dysfunction (scored using the Barrow Neurological Institute Numbness Scale), were evaluated at a median follow-up of 71 months.

RESULTS

Patients who were treated with a medium ID had superior pain relief either with or without medications (p = 0.006). In the medium ID group, the rates of complete pain relief without medications at 1, 3, and 6 years after SRS were 67%, 54%, and 33%, respectively, while the rates in the rest of the cohort were 55%, 36%, and 19%, respectively. Patients given a high ID had a higher rate of post-SRS trigeminal sensory deterioration (p < 0.0001). At 1, 3, and 6 years after SRS, the high ID group had an estimated rate for developing sensory dysfunction of 35%, 45%, and 50%, respectively, while the rates in patients receiving low and medium IDs were 3%, 4%, and 9%, respectively. The optimal clinical outcome (maximum pain relief and minimal trigeminal sensory dysfunction) was obtained in patients who had received a medium ID.

CONCLUSIONS

With current dose selection methods, nerve volume affects long-term clinical outcomes in patients with TN who have undergone SRS. This study suggests that the prescribed SRS dose should be customized for each TN patient based on the nerve volume.

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Hideyuki Kano, Alejandro Morales-Restrepo, Aditya Iyer, Gregory M. Weiner, Seyed H. Mousavi, John M. Kirkwood, Ahmad A. Tarhini, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to use 4 prognostic indices to compare survival times of patients who underwent Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to treat melanoma brain metastases.

METHODS

The authors analyzed 422 consecutive patients (1440 brain metastases) who underwent Gamma Knife SRS. The median total brain tumor volume was 4.7 cm3 (range 0.3–69.3 cm3), and the median number of metastases was 2 (range 1–32). One hundred thirty-two patients underwent whole-brain radiation therapy. Survival times were compared using recursive partitioning analysis (RPA), the Score Index for Radiosurgery (SIR), the Basic Score for Brain Metastases (BSBM), and the Diagnosis-Specific Graded Prognostic Assessment (DS-GPA).

RESULTS

The overall survival times after SRS were compared. With the RPA index, survival times were 2.6 months (Class III, n = 27), 5.5 months (Class II, n = 348), and 13.0 months (Class I, n = 47). With the DS-GPA index, survival times were 2.8 months (Scores 0–1, n = 67), 4.2 months (Scores 1.5–2.0, n = 143), 6.6 months (Scores 2.5–3.0, n = 111), and 9.4 months (Scores 3.5–4.0, n = 101). With the SIR, survival times were 3.2 months (Scores 0–3, n = 56), 5.8 months (Scores 4–7, n = 319), and 12.7 months (Scores 8–10, n = 47). With the BSBM index, survival times were 2.6 months (BSBM0, n = 47), 5.4 months (BSBM1, n = 282), 11.0 months (BSBM2, n = 86), and 8.8 months (BSBM3, n = 7). The DS-GPA index was the most balanced by case numbers in each class and provided the overall best prognostic index for overall survival.

CONCLUSIONS

The DS-GPA index proved most balanced and predictive of survival for patients with melanoma who underwent SRS as part of management for brain metastases. Patients whose DS-GPA score was ≥ 2.5 had predictably improved survival times after SRS.

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Seyed H. Mousavi, Berkcan Akpinar, Ajay Niranjan, Vikas Agarwal, Jonathan Cohen, John C. Flickinger, Douglas Kondziolka and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Contrast enhancement of the retrogasserian trigeminal nerve on MRI scans frequently develops after radiosurgical ablation for the management of medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN). The authors sought to evaluate the clinical significance of this imaging finding in patients who underwent a second radiosurgical procedure for recurrent TN.

METHODS

During a 22-year period, 360 patients underwent Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as their first surgical procedure for TN at the authors' center. The authors retrospectively analyzed the data from 59 patients (mean age 72 years, range 33–89 years) who underwent repeat SRS for recurrent pain at a median of 30 months (range 6–146 months) after the first SRS. The isocenter was 4 mm, and the median maximum doses for the first and second procedures were 80 Gy and 70 Gy, respectively. A neuroradiologist and a neurosurgeon blinded to the treated side evaluated the presence of nerve contrast enhancement on MRI series at the time of the repeat procedure. The authors correlated the presence of this imaging change with clinical outcomes. Pain outcomes and development of trigeminal sensory dysfunction were evaluated with the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) Pain Scale and BNI Numbness Scale, respectively. The mean length of follow-up after the second SRS was 58 months (95% CI 49–68 months).

RESULTS

At the time of the repeat SRS, contrast enhancement of the trigeminal nerve on MRI scans was observed in 31 patients (53%). Five years after the SRS, patients with this enhancement had lower actuarial rates of complete pain relief after the repeat SRS (27% [95% CI 7%–47%]) than patients without the enhancement (76% [95% CI 58%–94%]) (p < 0.001). At the 5-year follow-up, patients with the contrast enhancement also had a higher risk for trigeminal sensory loss after repeat SRS (75% [95% CI 59%–91%]) than patients without contrast enhancement (26% [95% CI 10%–42%]) (p = 0.001). Dysesthetic pain after repeat SRS was observed for 8 patients with and for 2 patients without contrast enhancement.

CONCLUSIONS

Trigeminal nerve contrast enhancement on MRI scans observed at the time of a repeat SRS for TN was associated with less satisfactory pain control and more frequently detected facial sensory loss. Residual contrast enhancement at the time of a repeat SRS may warrant consideration of dose reduction or further separation of the radiosurgical targets.