Top 25 Cited Gamma Knife® Surgery Articles - Volume 111

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Masahiro Shin, Nobutaka Kawahara, Keisuke Maruyama, Masao Tago, Keisuke Ueki and Takaaki Kirino

Object. Radiosurgery has been widely adopted for the treatment of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in which the practical endpoint is angiographic evidence of obliteration, presumed to be consistent with elimination of the risk of hemorrhage. To test this unverified assumption, the authors followed 236 radiosurgery-treated AVMs between 1 and 133 months (median 77 months) after angiographic evidence of obliteration.

Methods. Four patients experienced hemorrhage between 16 and 51 months after angiographic confirmation of AVM obliteration, and two underwent resection. The histological findings in these patients showed occlusion of the AVM by thickening of the intimal layer with dense hyalinization as well as a small amount of residual AVM vessels and a tiny vasculature. The risks of hemorrhage from these presumaby obliterated AVMs were 0.3% for the annual bleeding risk and 2.2% for the cumulative risk over 10 years. Continuous enhancement of the nidus on computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was the only significant factor positively associated with hemorrhage in the statistical analysis (p = 0.0212).

Conclusions. Because the study was based on limited follow-up data, its significance for defining predictive features of hemorrhage after angiographic evidence of obliteration is still indeterminable. Nevertheless, disappearance of the AVM on angiography after radiosurgery does not always indicate total elimination of the disease, especially when CT or MR imaging continues to demonstrate an enhancing lesion. The authors therefore recommend continual follow up even after evidence of AVM obliteration on angiography.

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Masahiro Shin, Keisuke Maruyama, Hiroki Kurita, Shunsuke Kawamoto, Masao Tago, Atsuro Terahara, Akio Morita, Keisuke Ueki, Kintomo Takakura and Takaaki Kirino

Object. A large number of clinical studies have been made on treatment outcomes of radiosurgery for arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), but the reported obliteration rates following this treatment vary significantly, perhaps reflecting the different methods and timings of the imaging studies used.

Methods. The authors retrospectively analyzed their experience with gamma knife surgery in 400 patients with AVMs (follow-up period 1–135 months, median 65 months), with special reference to the imaging modality used in each case. The calculated obliteration rates varied from 68.2 to 92%, depending on imaging modality and timing of evaluation. When only unquestionable imaging data such as demonstrations of a residual nidus on computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance (MR) images or findings on angiograms were used in the calculation, the obliteration rates were 72% at 3 years and 87.3% at 5 years. Factors leading to a better obliteration rate were previous hemorrhage (p = 0.0084), smaller nidus (p = 0.0023), and higher radiation dose to the lesion's margin (p = 0.0495), as determined in a multivariate analysis. Factors leading to an earlier obliteration of the nidus were male sex (p = 0.0001), previous hemorrhage (p = 0.0039), smaller nidus diameter (p = 0.0006), and dose planning using angiography alone (p = 0.0201).

Conclusions. After the introduction of CT and MR images into dose planning, the conformity and selectivity of dosimetry improved remarkably, although the latency intervals until obliteration were prolonged. Imaging outcomes for AVMs should be evaluated using data provided by longer follow-up periods. The timing of additional treatments for residual AVMs should be decided cautiously, considering the size of the AVM, the patient age and sex, and the history of hemorrhage before radiosurgery.