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Brian R. Subach, Douglas Kondziolka, L. Dade Lunsford, David J. Bissonette, John C. Flickinger and Ann H. Maitz

Object. Stereotactically guided radiosurgery is one of the primary treatment modalities for patients with acoustic neuromas (vestibular schwannomas). The goal of radiosurgery is to arrest tumor growth while preserving neurological function. Patients with acoustic neuromas associated with neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) represent a special challenge because of the risk of complete deafness. To define better the tumor control rate and long-term functional outcome, the authors reviewed their 10-year experience in treating these lesions.

Methods. Forty patients underwent stereotactic radiosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh, 35 of them for solitary tumors. The other five underwent staged procedures for bilateral lesions (10 tumors, 45 total). Thirteen patients (with 29% of tumors) had undergone a median of two prior resections. The mean tumor volume at radiosurgery was 4.8 ml, and the mean tumor margin dose was 15 Gy (range 12–20 Gy).

The overall tumor control rate was 98%. During the median follow-up period of 36 months, 16 tumors (36%) regressed, 28 (62%) remained unchanged, and one (2%) grew. In the 10 patients for whom more than 5 years of clinical and neuroimaging follow-up results were available (median 92 months), five tumors were smaller and five remained unchanged. Surgical resection was performed in three patients (7%) after radiosurgery; only one showed radiographic evidence of progression. Useful hearing (Gardner—Robertson Class I or II) was preserved in six (43%) of 14 patients, and this rate improved to 67% after modifications made in 1992. Normal facial nerve function (House—Brackmann Grade 1) was preserved in 25 (81%) of 31 patients. Normal trigeminal nerve function was preserved in 34 (94%) of 36 patients.

Conclusions. Stereotactically guided radiosurgery is a safe and effective treatment for patients with acoustic tumors in the setting of NF2. The rate of hearing preservation may be better with radiosurgery than with other available techniques.

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Brian R. Subach, Douglas Kondziolka, L. Dade Lunsford, David J. Bissonette, John C. Flickinger and Ann H. Maitz

Object

Stereotactically guided radiosurgery is one of the primary treatment modalities for patients with acoustic neuromas (vestibular schwannomas). The goal of radiosurgery is to arrest tumor growth while preserving neurological function. Patients with acoustic neuromas associated with neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) represent a special challenge because of the risk of complete deafness. To better define the tumor control rate and long-term functional outcome, the authors reviewed their 10-year experience in treating these lesions.

Methods

Forty patients underwent stereotactic radiosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh, 35 of them for solitary tumors. The other five underwent staged procedures for bilateral lesions (10 tumors, 45 total). Thirteen patients (with 29% of tumors) had undergone a median of two prior resections. The mean tumor volume at radiosurgery was 4.8 ml and the mean tumor margin dose was 15 Gy (range 12–20 Gy).

The overall tumor control rate was 98%. During the median follow-up period of 36 months, 16 (36%) tumors regressed, 28 (62%) remained unchanged, and one (2%) grew. In the 10 patients for whom more than 5 years of clinical and neuroimaging follow-up results were available (median 92 months), five tumors were smaller and five remained unchanged. Surgical resection was performed in three patients (7%) after radiosurgery; only one showed radiographic evidence of progression. Useful hearing (Gardner-Robertson Class I or II) was preserved in six (43%) of 14 patients and this rate improved to 67% after modifications made in 1992. Normal facial nerve function (House-Brackmann Grade 1) was preserved in 25 (81%) of 31 patients. Normal trigeminal nerve function was preserved in 34 (94%) of 36 patients.

Conclusions

Stereotactically guided radiosurgery is a safe and effective treatment for patients with acoustic tumors in the setting of NF2. The rate of hearing preservation may be better with radiosurgery than with other available techniques.

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Douglas Kondziolka, Brian R. Subach, L. Dade Lunsford, David J. Bissonette and John C. Flickinger

Surgeons perform stereotactic radiosurgery as the main alternative to acoustic tumor (vestibular schwannoma) resection. The goals of radiosurgery include preservation of neurological function and prevention of tumor growth. Longer-term outcomes are not well documented for patients with solitary tumors or those with neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2).

To define outcomes, the authors evaluated 462 consecutive patients with solitary acoustic tumors and 40 patients with NF2 (total of 45 tumors treated) who underwent radiosurgery between 1987 and 1998.

Serial imaging studies, clinical evaluations, and a patient survey were performed. The average tumor margin dose was 15 Gy, and the mean transverse tumor diameter was 22 mm. In patients with solitary tumors, prior resection had been performed in 111 patients (24%); 27 patients experienced tumor recurrence after a “total resection.”

The clinical tumor control rate (no resection required) was 98%. In non-NF2 patients followed for at least 5 years, 100 tumors (61.7%) were smaller, 53 (32.7%) remained unchanged in size, and nine (5.6%) were slightly larger. Resection was performed in four patients (2.4%). Neurological deficits after radiosurgery all occurred within the first 28 months. The rates of facial and trigeminal neuropathy varied with radiosurgery technique. In patients with NF2, 16 tumors were smaller, 28 remained unchanged, and one enlarged (overall 98% control rate at median 3-year follow up). Resection was performed in three patients (7%). Useful hearing was preserved in six (43%) of 14 NF2 patients who had useful hearing before radiosurgery.

Radiosurgery provided long-term tumor control associated with high rates of neurological function preservation. No further tumor surgery was necessary in 98% of patients with solitary tumors followed for a minimum of 5 years.

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Bruce E. Pollock, Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger, Atul K. Patel, David J. Bissonette and L. Dade Lunsford

✓ To determine the accuracy of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in comparison to cerebral angiography after radiosurgery for an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), the authors reviewed the records of patients who underwent radiosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center before 1992. All patients in the analysis had AVMs in which the flow-void signal was visible on preradiosurgical MR imaging. One hundred sixty-four postradiosurgical angiograms were obtained in 140 patients at a median of 2 months after postradiosurgical MR imaging (median 24 months after radiosurgery). Magnetic resonance imaging correctly predicted patency in 64 of 80 patients in whom patent AVMs were seen on follow-up angiography (sensitivity 80%) and angiographic obliteration in 84 of 84 patients (specificity 100%). Overall, 84 of 100 AVMs in which evidence of obliteration was seen on MR images displayed angiographic obliteration (negative predictive value, 84%). Ten of the 16 patients with false-negative MR images underwent follow-up angiography: in seven the lesions progressed to complete angiographic obliteration without further treatment. Exclusion of these seven patients from the false-negative MR imaging group increases the predictive value of a negative postradiosurgical MR image from 84% to 91%. No AVM hemorrhage was observed in clinical follow up of 135 patients after evidence of obliteration on MR imaging (median follow-up interval 35 months; range 2–96 months; total follow up 382 patient-years).

Magnetic resonance imaging proved to be an accurate, noninvasive method for evaluating the patency of AVMs that were identifiable on MR imaging after stereotactic radiosurgery. This imaging modality is less expensive, more acceptable to patients, and does not have the potential for neurological complications that may be associated with cerebral angiography. The risk associated with follow-up cerebral angiography may no longer justify its role in the assessment of radiosurgical results in the treatment of AVMs.

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Bruce E. Pollock, L. Dade Lunsford, Douglas Kondziolka, David J. Bissonette and John C. Flickinger

✓ Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) that are located within the postgeniculate optic radiations or striate cortex are difficult to resect without creating postoperative visual defects. To reduce the risk of an AVM hemorrhage and to enhance the possibility of preserving visual function, the authors performed stereotactic radiosurgery in 34 patients with newly diagnosed or residual AVMs of the visual pathways. The mean AVM volume was 4.7 ml, and the average radiation dose to the AVM margin was 21 Gy. The median follow up was 47 months (range 16–83 months). Two (6%) of 34 patients had documented new visual field defects (central scotoma in one, and partial hemianopsia in one) after single-stage radiosurgery, but no patient developed a new permanent homonymous hemianopsia. Angiography was performed in all patients at a median of 26 months after radiosurgery: 22 (65%) had complete obliteration, 10 (29%) had a significant decrease in AVM volume, one (3%) had only a persistent early draining vein without residual nidus, and one (3%) had no change in the AVM. Thirteen (81%) of 16 patients with AVMs less of than 4 ml had complete obliteration. Five patients had second-stage stereotactic radiosurgery after angiography revealed a persistent AVM nidus; two patients eligible for follow-up angiography had complete obliteration, thereby increasing the overall series obliteration rate to 71%. The calculated annual risk of AVM bleeding (before radiographic evidence of obliteration) was 2.4%. No patient bled after angiographically confirmed obliteration.

In most patients stereotactic radiosurgery obliterates visual pathway AVMs and also preserves preoperative visual function. Multimodality management (embolization, microsurgery, or staged radiosurgery) enhances AVM obliteration and visual preservation rates.

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L. Dade Lunsford, Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger, David J. Bissonette, Charles A. Jungreis, Ann H. Maitz, Joseph A. Horton and Robert J. Coffey

✓ Stereotactic radiosurgery successfully obliterates carefully selected arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) of the brain. In an initial 3-year experience using the 201-source cobalt-60 gamma knife at the University of Pittsburgh, 227 patients with AVM's were treated. Symptoms at presentation included prior hemorrhage in 143 patients (63%), headache in 104 (46%), and seizures in 70 (31%). Neurological deficits were present in 102 patients (45%). Prior surgical resection (resulting in subtotal removal) had been performed in 36 patients (16%). In 47 selected patients (21%), embolization procedures were performed in an attempt to reduce the AVM size prior to radiosurgery. The lesions were classified according to the Spetzler grading system: 64 (28%) were Grade VI (inoperable), 22 (10%) were Grade IV, 90 (40%) were Grade III, 43 (19%) were Grade II, and eight (4%) were Grade I. With the aid of computer imaging-integrated isodose plans for single-treatment irradiation, total coverage of the AVM nidus was possible in 216 patients (95%). The location and volume of the AVM were the most important factors for the selection of radiation dose. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was performed at 6-month intervals in 161 patients. Seventeen patients who had MR evidence of complete obliteration underwent angiography within 3 months of imaging: in 14 (82%) complete obliteration was confirmed. Complete angiographic obliteration was confirmed in 37 (80%) of 46 patients at 2 years, the earliest confirmation being 4 months (mean 17 months) after radiosurgery. The 2-year obliteration rates according to volume were: all eight (100%) AVM's less than 1 cu cm; 22 (85%) of 26 AVM's of 1 to 4 cu cm; and seven (58%) of 12 AVM's greater than 4 cu cm. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed postirradiation changes in 38 (24%) of 161 patients at a mean interval of 10.2 months after radiosurgery; only 10 (26%) of those 38 patients were symptomatic. In the entire series, two patients developed permanent new neurological deficits believed to be treatment-related. Two patients died of repeat hemorrhage at 6 and 23 months after treatment during the latency interval prior to obliteration.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is an important method to obliterate AVM's, especially those previously considered inoperable. Success and complication risks are related to the AVM location and the volume treated.