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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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Mark E. Linskey, A. Julio Martinez, Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger, Ann H. Maitz, Theresa Whiteside and L. Dade Lunsford

✓ An experimental model with xenograft transplantation into the subrenal capsule of athymic (nude) mice was used to evaluate the early response of human acoustic schwannomas to stereotactic radiosurgery. After xenograft placement, 45 mice underwent radiosurgery with single doses of 10, 20, or 40 Gy using a 201-source 60Co gamma unit (4-mm collimator, single isocenter, 80% isodose line). The 45 radiosurgery-treated xenografts were compared with 15 untreated xenografts and 15 xenografts in mice that underwent “sham radiosurgery.” All five study groups were matched for the following pretreatment variables: patient of origin, animal weight, average xenograft diameter, and percentage of xenograft surface vascularity. Immediately prior to sacrifice of the mice all xenografts were evaluated in situ to determine the average tumor diameter, tumor volume, and percentage of surface vascularity. Mice were sacrificed 2 weeks, 1 month, or 3 months after radiosurgery. Blinded histological review was performed by an independent neuropathologist.

Tumor volume was reduced 33.6% after 2 weeks (p = 0.023) and 45% after 3 months (p = 0.018) in the 40-Gy radiosurgery group. Tumor volume was reduced by 46.2% after 1 month (p = 0.0002) and 35.2% after 3 months (p = 0.032) in the 20-Gy radiosurgery group. An average volume reduction of 16.4% was observed after 3 months (p = 0.17) in the 10-Gy radiosurgery group. At 3 months after surgery, tumor surface vascularity was reduced by an average of 19.7% (p = 0.043) in the 40-Gy radiosurgery group and 5.8% (p = 0.12) in the 20-Gy radiosurgery group and was unchanged in the 10-Gy radiosurgery group and both control groups. Histological examination demonstrated a higher incidence of hemosiderin deposits (p = 0.026) and vascular mural hyalinization (p = 0.032) in radiosurgery xenografts versus control.

The subrenal capsule xenograft in nude mice was an excellent model for studying the in vivo radiobiology of acoustic schwannomas after radiosurgery. Both cellular and vascular effects could be assessed serially in situ and the model was stable even 4 months after transplantation. Additional studies investigating radiobiology over periods better approximating the time course of clinical neuroimaging changes (6 to 12 months) are warranted.

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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.