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Andrew J. Bishop, Randa Tao, B. Ashleigh Guadagnolo, Pamela K. Allen, Neal C. Rebueno, Xin A. Wang, Behrang Amini, Claudio E. Tatsui, Laurence D. Rhines, Jing Li, Eric L. Chang, Paul D. Brown and Amol J. Ghia

OBJECTIVE

Given the relatively lower radiosensitivity of sarcomas and the locally infiltrative patterns of spread, the authors sought to investigate spine stereotactic radiosurgery (SSRS) outcomes for metastatic sarcomas and to analyze patterns of failure.

METHODS

The records of 48 patients with 66 sarcoma spinal metastases consecutively treated with SSRS between 2002 and 2013 were reviewed. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate rates of overall survival (OS) and local control (LC). Local recurrences were categorized as occurring infield (within the 95% isodose line [IDL]), marginally (between the 20% and 95% IDLs), or out of field.

RESULTS

Median follow-up time was 19 months (range 1–121 months), and median age was 53 years (range 17–85 years). The most commonly treated histology was leiomyosarcoma (42%). Approximately two-thirds of the patients were treated with definitive SSRS (44 [67%]) versus postoperatively (22 [33%]). The actuarial 1-year OS and LC rates were 67% and 81%, respectively. Eighteen patients had a local relapse, which was more significantly associated with postoperative SSRS (p = 0.04). On multivariate modeling, receipt of postoperative SSRS neared significance for poorer LC (p = 0.06, subhazard ratio [SHR] 2.33), while only 2 covariates emerged as significantly correlated with LC: 1) biological equivalent dose (BED) > 48 Gy (vs BED ≤ 48 Gy, p = 0.006, SHR 0.21) and 2) single vertebral body involvement (vs multiple bodies, p = 0.03, SHR 0.27). Of the 18 local recurrences, 14 (78%) occurred at the margin, and while the majority of these cases relapsed within the epidural space, 4 relapsed within the paraspinal soft tissue. In addition, 1 relapse occurred out of field. Finally, the most common acute toxicity was fatigue (15 cases), with few late toxicities (4 insufficiency fractures, 3 neuropathies).

CONCLUSIONS

For metastatic sarcomas, SSRS provides durable tumor control with minimal toxicity. High-dose single-fraction regimens offer optimal LC, and given the infiltrative nature of sarcomas, when paraspinal soft tissues are involved, larger treatment volumes may be warranted.

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Claudio E. Tatsui, Clarissa N. G. Nascimento, Dima Suki, Behrang Amini, Jing Li, Amol J. Ghia, Jonathan G. Thomas, R. Jason Stafford, Laurence D. Rhines, Juan P. Cata, Ashok J. Kumar and Ganesh Rao

OBJECTIVE

Image guidance for spinal procedures is based on 3D-fluoroscopy or CT, which provide poor visualization of soft tissues, including the spinal cord. To overcome this limitation, the authors developed a method to register intraoperative MRI (iMRI) of the spine into a neuronavigation system, allowing excellent visualization of the spinal cord. This novel technique improved the accuracy in the deployment of laser interstitial thermal therapy probes for the treatment of metastatic spinal cord compression.

METHODS

Patients were positioned prone on the MRI table under general anesthesia. Fiducial markers were applied on the skin of the back, and a plastic cradle was used to support the MRI coil. T2-weighted MRI sequences of the region of interest were exported to a standard navigation system. A reference array was sutured to the skin, and surface matching of the fiducial markers was performed. A navigated Jamshidi needle was advanced until contact was made with the dorsal elements; its position was confirmed with intraoperative fluoroscopy prior to advancement into a target in the epidural space. A screenshot of its final position was saved, and then the Jamshidi needle was exchanged for an MRI-compatible access cannula. MRI of the exact axial plane of each access cannula was obtained and compared with the corresponding screenshot saved during positioning. The discrepancy in millimeters between the trajectories was measured to evaluate accuracy of the image guidance

RESULTS

Thirteen individuals underwent implantation of 47 laser probes. The median absolute value of the discrepancy between the location predicted by the navigation system and the actual position of the access cannulas was 0.7 mm (range 0–3.2 mm). No injury or adverse event occurred during the procedures.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates the feasibility of image guidance based on MRI to perform laser interstitial thermotherapy of spinal metastasis. The authors' method permits excellent visualization of the spinal cord, improving safety and workflow during laser ablations in the epidural space. The results can be extrapolated to other indications, including biopsies or drainage of fluid collections near the spinal cord.

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Claudio E. Tatsui, Telmo A. B. Belsuzarri, Marilou Oro, Laurence D. Rhines, Jing Li, Amol J. Ghia, Behrang Amini, Heron Espinoza, Paul D. Brown and Ganesh Rao

OBJECTIVE

An emerging paradigm for treating patients with epidural spinal cord compression (ESCC) caused by metastatic tumors is surgical decompression and stabilization, followed by stereotactic radiosurgery. In the setting of rapid progressive disease, interruption or delay in return to systemic treatment can lead to a negative impact in overall survival. To overcome this limitation, the authors introduce the use of spinal laser interstitial thermotherapy (sLITT) in association with percutaneous spinal stabilization to facilitate a rapid return to oncological treatment.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed a consecutive series of patients with ESCC and spinal instability who were considered to be poor surgical candidates and instead were treated with sLITT and percutaneous spinal stabilization. Demographic data, Spine Instability Neoplastic Scale score, degree of epidural compression before and after the procedure, length of hospital stay, and time to return to oncological treatment were analyzed.

RESULTS

Eight patients were treated with thermal ablation and percutaneous spinal stabilization. The primary tumors included melanoma (n = 3), lung (n = 3), thyroid (n = 1), and renal cell carcinoma (n = 1). The median Karnofsky Performance Scale score before and after the procedure was 60, and the median hospital stay was 5 days (range 3–18 days). The median Spine Instability Neoplastic Scale score was 13 (range 12–16). The mean modified postoperative ESCC score (2.75 ± 0.37) was significantly lower than the preoperative score (4.5 ± 0.27) (Mann-Whitney test, p = 0.0044). The median time to return to oncological treatment was 5 days (range 3–10 days).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors present the first cohort of sLITT associated with a percutaneous spinal stabilization for the treatment of ESCC and spinal instability. This minimally invasive technique can allow a faster recovery without prejudice of adjuvant systemic treatment, with adequate local control and spinal stabilization.

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Jennifer C. Ho, Chad Tang, Brian J. Deegan, Pamela K. Allen, Eric Jonasch, Behrang Amini, Xin A. Wang, Jing Li, Claudio E. Tatsui, Laurence D. Rhines, Paul D. Brown and Amol J. Ghia

OBJECTIVE

The authors investigated the outcomes following spine stereotactic radiosurgery (SSRS) for patients with oligometastatic disease of the spine.

METHODS

The study was a secondary analysis of 38 of 209 patients enrolled in 2 separate institutional Phase I/II prospective protocols and treated with SSRS between 2002 and 2011. Of these 38 patients, 33 (87%) were treated for a solitary spine metastasis, with no other history of metastatic disease. SSRS was prescribed to 24 Gy in 1 fraction (8%), 18 Gy in 1 fraction (18%), 16 Gy in 1 fraction (11%), 27 Gy in 3 fractions (53%), 30 Gy in 5 fractions (8%), or 20 Gy in 5 fractions (3%). Seventeen patients (45%) received prior conventional external beam radiation therapy.

RESULTS

The median overall survival (OS) was 75.7 months, and the 2- and 5-year OS rates were 84% and 60%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, patients who had prior spine surgery and a better Karnofsky Performance Scale score had an improved OS (HR 0.16, 95% CI 0.05–0.52, p < 0.01, and HR 0.33, 95% CI 0.13%–0.84%, p = 0.02, respectively), and those who had undergone prior radiation therapy had a worse OS (HR 3.6, 95% CI 1.2%–10%, p = 0.02). The 1-, 2-, and 5-year local progression-free survival rates were 85%, 82%, and 78%, respectively. The median time to systemic therapy modification was 41 months. Two patients (5%) experienced late Grade 3–4 toxicity.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with oligometastatic disease of the spine treated with SSRS can experience long-term survival and a long time before needing a modification in systemic therapy. In addition, SSRS leads to excellent local control and minimal late toxicity.

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Amol J. Ghia, Eric L. Chang, Andrew J. Bishop, Hubert Y. Pan, Nicholas S. Boehling, Behrang Amini, Pamela K. Allen, Jing Li, Laurence D. Rhines, Nizar M. Tannir, Claudio E. Tatsui, Paul D. Brown and James N. Yang

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to compare fractionation schemes and outcomes of patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) treated in institutional prospective spinal stereotactic radiosurgery (SSRS) trials who did not previously undergo radiation treatment at the site of the SSRS.

METHODS

Patients enrolled in 2 separate institutional prospective protocols and treated with SSRS between 2002 and 2011 were included. A secondary analysis was performed on patients with previously nonirradiated RCC spinal metastases treated with either single-fraction (SF) or multifraction (MF) SSRS.

RESULTS

SSRS was performed in 47 spinal sites on 43 patients. The median age of the patients was 62 years (range 38–75 years). The most common histological subtype was clear cell (n = 30). Fifteen sites underwent surgery prior to the SSRS, with laminectomy the most common procedure performed (n = 10). All SF SSRS was delivered to a dose of 24 Gy (n = 21) while MF regiments were either 27 Gy in 3 fractions (n = 20) or 30 Gy in 5 fractions (n = 6). The median overall survival duration for the entire cohort was 22.8 months. The median local control (LC) for the entire cohort was 80.6 months with 1-year and 2-year actuarial LC rates of 82% and 68%, respectively. Single-fraction SSRS correlated with improved 1- and 2-year actuarial LC relative to MF SSRS (95% vs 71% and 86% vs 55%, respectively; p = 0.009). On competing risk analysis, SF SSRS showed superior LC to MF SSRS (subhazard ratio [SHR] 6.57, p = 0.014). On multivariate analysis for LC with tumor volume (p = 0.272), number of treated levels (p = 0.819), gross tumor volume (GTV) coverage (p = 0.225), and GTV minimum point dose (p = 0.97) as covariates, MF SSRS remained inferior to SF SSRS (SHR 5.26, p = 0.033)

CONCLUSIONS

SSRS offers durable LC for spinal metastases from RCC. Single-fraction SSRS is associated with improved LC over MF SSRS for previously nonirradiated RCC spinal metastases.

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Claudio E. Tatsui, R. Jason Stafford, Jing Li, Jonathan N. Sellin, Behrang Amini, Ganesh Rao, Dima Suki, Amol J. Ghia, Paul Brown, Sun-Ho Lee, Charles E. Cowles, Jeffrey S. Weinberg and Laurence D. Rhines

OBJECT

High-grade malignant spinal cord compression is commonly managed with a combination of surgery aimed at removing the epidural tumor, followed by spinal stereotactic radiosurgery (SSRS) aimed at local tumor control. The authors here introduce the use of spinal laser interstitial thermotherapy (SLITT) as an alternative to surgery prior to SSRS.

METHODS

Patients with a high degree of epidural malignant compression due to radioresistant tumors were selected for study. Visual analog scale (VAS) scores for pain and quality of life were obtained before and within 30 and 60 days after treatment. A laser probe was percutaneously placed in the epidural space. Real-time thermal MRI was used to monitor tissue damage in the region of interest. All patients received postoperative SSRS. The maximum thickness of the epidural tumor was measured, and the degree of epidural spinal cord compression (ESCC) was scored in pre- and postprocedure MRI.

RESULTS

In the 11 patients eligible for study, the mean VAS score for pain decreased from 6.18 in the preoperative period to 4.27 within 30 days and 2.8 within 60 days after the procedure. A similar VAS interrogating the percentage of quality of life demonstrated improvement from 60% preoperatively to 70% within both 30 and 60 days after treatment. Imaging follow-up 2 months after the procedure demonstrated a significant reduction in the mean thickness of the epidural tumor from 8.82 mm (95% CI 7.38–10.25) before treatment to 6.36 mm (95% CI 4.65–8.07) after SLITT and SSRS (p = 0.0001). The median preoperative ESCC Grade 2 was scored as 4, which was significantly higher than the score of 2 for Grade 1b (p = 0.04) on imaging follow-up 2 months after the procedure.

CONCLUTIONS

The authors present the first report on an innovative minimally invasive alternative to surgery in the management of spinal metastasis. In their early experience, SLITT has provided local control with low morbidity and improvement in both pain and the quality of life of patients.