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Donald N. Liew, Hideyuki Kano, Douglas Kondziolka, David Mathieu, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger, John M. Kirkwood, Ahmad Tarhini, Stergios Moschos and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

To evaluate the role of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in the management of brain metastases from melanoma, the authors assessed clinical outcomes and prognostic factors for survival and tumor control.

Methods

The authors reviewed 333 consecutive patients with melanoma who underwent SRS for 1570 brain metastases from cutaneous and mucosal/acral melanoma. The patient population consisted of 109 female and 224 male patients with a median age of 53 years. Two hundred eleven patients (63%) had multiple metastases. One hundred eighteen patients (35%) underwent whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT). The target volume ranged from 0.1 cm3 to 37.2 cm3. The median marginal dose was 18 Gy.

Results

Actuarial survival rates were 70% at 3 months, 47% at 6 months, 25% at 12 months, and 10% at 24 months after radiosurgery. Factors associated with longer survival included controlled extracranial disease, better Karnofsky Performance Scale score, fewer brain metastases, no prior WBRT, no prior chemotherapy, administration of immunotherapy, and no intratumoral hemorrhage before radiosurgery. The median survival for patients with a solitary brain metastasis, controlled extracranial disease, and administration of immunotherapy after radiosurgery was 22 months. Sustained local tumor control was achieved in 73% of the patients. Sixty-four (25%) of 259 patients who had follow-up imaging after SRS had evidence of delayed intratumoral hemorrhage. Sixteen patients underwent a craniotomy due to intratumoral hemorrhage. Seventeen patients (6%) had asymptomatic and 21 patients (7%) had symptomatic radiation effects. Patients with ≤ 8 brain metastases, no prior WBRT, and the recursive partitioning analysis Class I had extended survivals (median 54.3 months).

Conclusions

Stereotactic radiosurgery is an especially valuable option for patients with controlled systemic disease even if they have multiple metastatic brain tumors.

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Douglas Kondziolka, Oscar Zorro, Javier Lobato-Polo, Hideyuki Kano, Thomas J. Flannery, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

Trigeminal neuralgia pain causes severe disability. Stereotactic radiosurgery is the least invasive surgical option for patients with trigeminal neuralgia. Since different medical and surgical options have different rates of pain relief and morbidity, it is important to evaluate longer-term outcomes.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed outcomes in 503 medically refractory patients with trigeminal neuralgia who underwent Gamma Knife surgery (GKS). The median patient age was 72 years (range 26–95 years). Prior surgery had failed in 205 patients (43%). The GKS typically was performed using MR imaging guidance, a single 4-mm isocenter, and a maximum dose of 80 Gy.

Results

Patients were evaluated for up to 16 years after GKS; 107 patients had > 5 years of follow-up. Eighty-nine percent of patients achieved initial pain relief that was adequate or better, with or without medications (Barrow Neurological Institute [BNI] Scores I–IIIb). Significant pain relief (BNI Scores I–IIIa) was achieved in 73% at 1 year, 65% at 2 years, and 41% at 5 years. Including Score IIIb (pain adequately controlled with medication), a BNI score of I–IIIb was found in 80% at 1 year, 71% at 3 years, 46% at 5 years, and 30% at 10 years. A faster initial pain response including adequate and some pain relief was seen in patients with trigeminal neuralgia without additional symptoms, patients without prior surgery, and patients with a pain duration of ≤ 3 years. One hundred ninety-three (43%) of 450 patients who achieved initial pain relief reported some recurrent pain 3–144 months after initial relief (median 50 months). Factors associated with earlier pain recurrence that failed to maintain adequate or some pain relief were trigeminal neuralgia with additional symptoms and ≥ 3 prior failed surgical procedures. Fifty-three patients (10.5%) developed new or increased subjective facial paresthesias or numbness and 1 developed deafferentation pain; these symptoms resolved in 17 patients. Those who developed sensory loss had better long-term pain control (78% at 5 years).

Conclusions

Gamma Knife surgery proved to be safe and effective in the treatment of medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia and is of value for initial or recurrent pain management. Despite the goal of minimizing sensory loss with this procedure, some sensory loss may improve long-term outcomes. Pain relapse is amenable to additional GKS or another procedure.

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Hideyuki Kano, Douglas Kondziolka, Aftab Khan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

Many patients with acoustic neuromas (ANs) have hearing function at diagnosis and desire to maintain it. To date, radiosurgical techniques have been focused on conformal irradiation of the tumor mass, with less attention to inner ear structures for which there was scant radiobiological information. The authors of this study evaluated tumor control and hearing preservation as they relate to tumor volume, imaging characteristics, and nerve and cochlear radiation dose following stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) using the Gamma Knife.

Methods

Seventy-seven patients with ANs had serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson [GR] Class I or II) and underwent SRS between 2004 and 2007. This interval reflected more recent measurements of inner ear dosimetry during the authors' 21-year experience. The median patient age was 52 years (range 22–82 years). No patient had undergone any prior treatment for the ANs. The median tumor volume was 0.75 cm3 (range 0.07–7.7 cm3), and the median radiation dose to the tumor margin was 12.5 Gy (range 12–13 Gy). At diagnosis, a greater distance from the lateral tumor to the end of the internal auditory canal correlated with better hearing function.

Results

At a median of 20 months after SRS, no patient required any other additional treatment. Serviceable hearing was preserved in 71% of all patients and in 89% (46 patients) of those with GR Class I hearing. Significant prognostic factors for maintaining the same GR class included (all pre-SRS) GR Class I hearing, a speech discrimination score (SDS) ≥ 80%, a pure tone average (PTA) < 20 dB, and a patient age < 60 years. Significant prognostic factors for serviceable hearing preservation were (all pre-SRS) GR Class I hearing, an SDS ≥ 80%, a PTA < 20 dB, a patient age < 60 years, an intracanalicular tumor location, and a tumor volume < 0.75 cm3. Patients who received a radiation dose of < 4.2 Gy to the central cochlea had significantly better hearing preservation of the same GR class. Twelve of 12 patients < 60 years of age who had received a cochlear dose < 4.2 Gy retained serviceable hearing at 2 years post-SRS.

Conclusions

As currently practiced, SRS with the Gamma Knife preserves serviceable hearing in the majority of patients. Tumor volume and anatomy relate to the hearing level before radiosurgery and influence technique. A low radiosurgical dose to the cochlea enhances hearing preservation.

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Juan J. Martin, Ajay Niranjan, Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger, Karl A. Lozanne and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

Chordomas and chondrosarcomas of the skull base are aggressive and locally destructive tumors with a high tendency for local progression despite treatment. The authors evaluated the effect of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) on local tumor control and survival.

Methods

Twenty-eight patients with histologically confirmed chordomas (18) or chondrosarcomas (10) underwent Gamma Knife SRS either as primary or adjuvant treatment. Their ages ranged from 17 to 72 years (median 44 years). The most common presenting symptom was diplopia (26 patients, 93%). In two patients, SRS was the sole treatment. Twenty-six patients underwent between one and five additional surgical procedures. Two underwent an initial trans-sphenoidal biopsy. The average tumor volume was 9.8 cm3. The median dose to the tumor margin was 16 Gy.

Results

No patient was lost to follow-up. Transient symptomatic adverse radiation effects developed in only one patient. The actuarial local tumor control for chondrosarcomas at 5 years was 80 ± 10.1%. For chordomas both the actuarial tumor control and survival was 62.9 ± 10.4%.

Conclusions

Stereotactic radiosurgery is an important option for skull base chordomas and chondrosarcomas either as primary or adjunctive treatment. Multimodal management appears crucial to improve tumor control in most patients.

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Jason Sheehan, Douglas Kondziolka, John Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

Object. Lung carcinoma is the leading cause of death from cancer. More than 50% of those with small cell lung cancer develop a brain metastasis. Corticosteroid agents, radiotherapy, and resection have been the mainstays of treatment. Nonetheless, median survival for patients with small cell lung carcinoma metastasis is approximately 4 to 5 months after cranial irradiation. In this study the authors examine the efficacy of gamma knife surgery for treating recurrent small cell lung carcinoma metastases to the brain following tumor growth in patients who have previously undergone radiation therapy, and they evaluate factors affecting survival.

Methods. A retrospective review of 27 patients (47 recurrent small cell lung cancer brain metastases) undergoing radiosurgery was performed. Clinical and radiographic data obtained during a 14-year treatment period were collected. Multivariate analysis was utilized to determine significant prognostic factors influencing survival.

The overall median survival was 18 months after the diagnosis of brain metastases. In multivariate analysis, factors significantly affecting survival included: 1) tumor volume (p = 0.0042); 2) preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale score (p = 0.0035); and 3) time between initial lung cancer diagnosis and development of brain metastasis (p = 0.0127). Postradiosurgical imaging of the brain metastases revealed that 62% decreased, 19% remained stable, and 19% eventually increased in size. One patient later underwent a craniotomy and tumor resection for a tumor refractory to radiosurgery and radiation therapy. In three patients new brain metastases were demonstrating on follow-up imaging.

Conclusions. Stereotactic radiosurgery for recurrent small cell lung carcinoma metastases provided effective local tumor control in the majority of patients. Early detection of brain metastases, aggressive treatment of systemic disease, and a therapeutic strategy including radiosurgery can extend survival.

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L. Dade Lunsford, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger, Ann Maitz and Douglas Kondziolka

Object. Management options for vestibular schwannomas (VSs) have greatly expanded since the introduction of stereotactic radiosurgery. Optimal outcomes reflect long-term tumor control, preservation of cranial nerve function, and retention of quality of life. The authors review their 15-year experience.

Methods. Between 1987 and 2002, some 829 patients with VSs underwent gamma knife surgery (GKS). Dose selection, imaging, and dose planning techniques evolved between 1987 and 1992 but thereafter remained stable for 10 years. The average tumor volume was 2.5 cm3. The median margin dose to the tumor was 13 Gy (range 10–20 Gy).

No patient sustained significant perioperative morbidity. The average duration of hospital stay was less than 1 day. Unchanged hearing preservation was possible in 50 to 77% of patients (up to 90% in those with intracanalicular tumors). Facial neuropathy risks were reduced to less than 1%. Trigeminal symptoms were detected in less than 3% of patients whose tumors reached the level of the trigeminal nerve. Tumor control rates at 10 years were 97% (no additional treatment needed).

Conclusions. Superior imaging, multiple isocenter volumetric conformal dose planning, and optimal precision and dose delivery contributed to the long-term success of GKS, including in those patients in whom initial microsurgery had failed. Gamma knife surgery provides a low risk, minimally invasive treatment option for patients with newly diagnosed or residual VS. Cranial nerve preservation and quality of life maintenance are possible in long-term follow up.