The optimal treatment paradigm for large arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is controversial. One approach is volume-staged stereotactic radiosurgery (VS-SRS). The authors previously reported efficacy of VS-SRS for large AVMs in a multiinstitutional cohort; here they focus on risk of symptomatic adverse radiation effects (AREs).
This is a multicentered retrospective review of patients treated with a planned prospective volume staging approach to stereotactically treat the entire nidus of an AVM, with volume stages separated by intervals of 3–6 months. A total of 9 radiosurgical centers treated 257 patients with VS-SRS between 1991 and 2016. The authors evaluated permanent, transient, and total ARE events that were symptomatic.
Patients received 2–4 total volume stages. The median age was 33 years at the time of the first SRS volume stage, and the median follow-up was 5.7 years after VS-SRS. The median total AVM nidus volume was 23.25 cm3 (range 7.7–94.4 cm3), with a median margin dose per stage of 17 Gy (range 12–20 Gy). A total of 64 patients (25%) experienced an ARE, of which 19 were permanent. Rather than volume, maximal linear dimension in the Z (craniocaudal) dimension was associated with toxicity; a threshold length of 3.28 cm was associated with an ARE, with a 72.5% sensitivity and a 58.3% specificity. In addition, parietal lobe involvement for superficial lesions and temporal lobe involvement for deep lesions were associated with an ARE.
Size remains the dominant predictor of toxicity following SRS, but overall rates of AREs were lower than anticipated based on baseline features, suggesting that dose and size were relatively dissociated through volume staging. Further techniques need to be assessed to optimize outcomes.