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Robert M. Starke, Chun-Po Yen, Dale Ding and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

The authors performed a study to review outcomes following Gamma Knife radiosurgery for cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and to create a practical scale to predict long-term outcome.

Methods

Outcomes were reviewed in 1012 patients who were followed up for more than 2 years. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration and no posttreatment hemorrhage or permanent, symptomatic, radiation-induced complication. Preradiosurgery patient and AVM characteristics predictive of outcome in multivariate analysis were weighted according to their odds ratios to create the Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale.

Results

The mean follow-up time was 8 years (range 2–20 years). Arteriovenous malformation obliteration occurred in 69% of patients. Postradiosurgery hemorrhage occurred in 88 patients, for a yearly incidence of 1.14%. Radiation-induced changes occurred in 387 patients (38.2%), symptoms in 100 (9.9%), and permanent deficits in 21 (2.1%). Favorable outcome was achieved in 649 patients (64.1%). The Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale was created such that patients were assigned 1 point each for having an AVM volume of 2–4 cm3, eloquent AVM location, or a history of hemorrhage, and 2 points for having an AVM volume greater than 4 cm3. Eighty percent of patients who had a score of 0–1 points had a favorable outcome, as did 70% who had a score of 2 points and 45% who had a score of 3–4 points. The Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale was still predictive of outcome after controlling for predictive Gamma Knife radiosurgery treatment parameters, including peripheral dose and number of isocenters, in a multivariate analysis. The Spetzler-Martin grading scale and the Radiosurgery-Based Grading Scale predicted favorable outcome, but the Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale provided the best assessment.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife radiosurgery can be used to achieve long-term AVM obliteration and neurological preservation in a predictable fashion based on patient and AVM characteristics.

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Douglas Kondziolka

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David J. Schlesinger, Faisal T. Sayer, Chun-Po Yen and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

Treatment planning for Gamma Knife surgery has traditionally been a forward planning (FP)–only approach with results that depend significantly on the experience of the user. Leksell GammaPlan version 10.0, currently in beta testing, introduces a new inverse planning (IP) engine that may allow more reproducible results across dosimetrists and individual institutions. In this study the authors compared the FP and IP approaches to Gamma Knife surgery.

Methods

Forty-three patients with pituitary adenomas were evaluated after dose planning was performed using FP and IP treatment approaches. Treatment plans were compared for target coverage, target selectivity, Paddick gradient index, number of isocenters, optic pathways dose, and treatment time. Differences between the forward and inverse treatment plans were evaluated in a statistical fashion.

Results

The IP software generated a dose plan within approximately 10 minutes. The FP approach delivered the prescribed isodose to a larger treatment volume than the IP system (p < 0.001). The mean (± SD) FP and IP coverage indices were 0.85 ± 0.23 and 0.85 ± 0.13, respectively (no significant difference). The mean FP and IP gradient indices were 2.78 ± 0.20 and 3.08 ± 0.37, respectively (p < 0.001). The number of isocenters did not appreciably differ between approaches. The maximum doses directed to the optic apparatus for the FP and IP methods were 8.67 ± 1.97 Gy and 12.33 ± 5.86 Gy, respectively (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

The Leksell GammaPlan IP system was easy to operate and provided a reasonable, first approximation dose plan. Particularly in cases in which there are eloquent structures at risk, experience and user-based optimization will be required to achieve an acceptable Gamma Knife dose plan.

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Editorial

Arteriovenous malformations

Douglas Kondziolka

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Dale Ding, Chun-Po Yen, Zhiyuan Xu, Robert M. Starke and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

Low-grade, or Spetzler-Martin (SM) Grades I and II, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are associated with lower surgical morbidity rates than higher-grade lesions. While radiosurgery is now widely accepted as an effective treatment approach for AVMs, the risks and benefits of the procedure for low-grade AVMs, as compared with microsurgery, remain poorly understood. The authors of this study present the outcomes for a large cohort of low-grade AVMs treated with radiosurgery.

Methods

From an institutional radiosurgery database comprising approximately 1450 AVM cases, all patients with SM Grade I and II lesions were identified. Patients with less than 2 years of radiological follow-up, except those with complete AVM obliteration, were excluded from analysis. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional-hazards and logistic regression analyses were used to determine factors associated with obliteration, radiation-induced changes (RICs), and hemorrhage following radiosurgery.

Results

Five hundred two patients harboring low-grade AVMs were eligible for analysis. The median age was 35 years, 50% of patients were male, and the most common presentation was hemorrhage (47%). The median AVM volume and prescription dose were 2.4 cm3 and 23 Gy, respectively. The median radiological and clinical follow-up intervals were 48 and 62 months, respectively. The cumulative obliteration rate was 76%. The median time to obliteration was 40 months, and the actuarial obliteration rates were 66% and 80% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Independent predictors of obliteration were no preradiosurgery embolization (p < 0.001), decreased AVM volume (p = 0.005), single draining vein (p = 0.013), lower radiosurgery-based AVM scale score (p = 0.016), and lower Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale (Virginia RAS) score (p = 0.001). The annual postradiosurgery hemorrhage rate was 1.4% with increased AVM volume (p = 0.034) and lower prescription dose (p = 0.006) as independent predictors. Symptomatic and permanent RICs were observed in 8.2% and 1.4% of patients, respectively. No preradiosurgery hemorrhage (p = 0.011), a decreased prescription dose (p = 0.038), and a higher Virginia RAS score (p = 0.001) were independently associated with postradiosurgery RICs.

Conclusions

Spetzler-Martin Grade I and II AVMs are very amenable to successful treatment with stereotactic radiosurgery. While patient, physician, and institutional preferences frequently dictate the final course of treatment, radiosurgery offers a favorable risk-to-benefit profile for the management of low-grade AVMs.

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Dale Ding, Chun-Po Yen, Robert M. Starke, Zhiyuan Xu and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

Ruptured intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are at a significantly greater risk for future hemorrhage than unruptured lesions, thereby necessitating treatment in the majority of cases. In a retrospective, single-center study, the authors describe the outcomes after radiosurgery in a large cohort of patients with ruptured AVMs.

Methods

From an institutional review board–approved, prospectively collected AVM radiosurgery database, the authors identified all patients with a history of AVM rupture. They analyzed obliteration rates in all patients in whom radiological follow-up data were available (n = 639). However, to account for the latency period associated with radiosurgery, only those patients with more than 2 years of radiological follow-up and those with earlier AMV obliteration were included in the analysis of prognostic factors related to obliteration and complications. This resulted in a cohort of 565 patients with ruptured AVMs for whom data were analyzed; these patients had a median radiological follow-up of 57 months and a median age of 29 years. Twenty-one percent of the patients underwent preradiosurgery embolization. The median volume and prescription dose were 2.1 cm3 and 22 Gy, respectively. The Spetzler-Martin grade was III or higher in 56% of patients, the median radiosurgery-based AVM score was 1.08, and the Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale (RAS) score was 3 to 4 points in 44%. Survival and regression analyses were performed to determine obliteration rates over time and predictors of obliteration and complications.

Results

In the overall population of 639 patients with ruptured AVMs, the obliteration rate was 11.1% based on MRI only (71 of 639 patients), 56.0% based on angiography (358 of 639), and 67.1% based on combined modalities (429 of 639 patients). In the cohort of patients with 2 years of follow-up or an earlier AVM obliteration, the cumulative obliteration rate was 76% and the actuarial obliteration rates were 41% and 64% at 3 and 5 years, respectively. Multivariate analysis identified the absence of preradiosurgery embolization (p < 0.001), increased prescription dose (p = 0.001), the presence of a single draining vein (p = 0.046), no postradiosurgery-related hemorrhage (p = 0.007), and lower Virginia RAS score (p = 0.020) as independent predictors of obliteration. The annual risk of a hemorrhage occurring during the latency period was 2.0% and the rate of hemorrhage-related morbidity and mortality was 1.6%. Multivariate analysis showed that decreased prescription dose (p < 0.001) and multiple draining veins (p = 0.003) were independent predictors of postradiosurgery hemorrhage. The rates of symptomatic and permanent radiation-induced changes were 8% and 2.7%, respectively. In the multivariate analysis, a single draining vein (p < 0.001) and higher Virginia RAS score (p = 0.005) were independent predictors of radiation-induced changes following radiosurgery.

Conclusions

Radiosurgery effectively treats ruptured AVMs with an acceptably low risk-to-benefit ratio. For patients with ruptured AVMs, favorable outcomes are more likely when preradiosurgical embolization is avoided and a higher prescription dose can be delivered.

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Dale Ding, Chun-Po Yen, Zhiyuan Xu, Robert M. Starke and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

The appropriate management of unruptured intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) remains controversial. In the present study, the authors evaluate the radiographic and clinical outcomes of radiosurgery for a large cohort of patients with unruptured AVMs.

Methods

From a prospective database of 1204 cases of AVMs involving patients treated with radiosurgery at their institution, the authors identified 444 patients without evidence of rupture prior to radiosurgery. The patients' mean age was 36.9 years, and 50% were male. The mean AVM nidus volume was 4.2 cm3, 13.5% of the AVMs were in a deep location, and 44.4% were at least Spetzler-Martin Grade III. The median radiosurgical prescription dose was 20 Gy. Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses were used to determine risk factors associated with obliteration, postradiosurgery hemorrhage, radiation-induced changes, and postradiosurgery cyst formation. The mean duration of radiological and clinical follow-up was 76 months and 86 months, respectively.

Results

The cumulative AVM obliteration rate was 62%, and the postradiosurgery annual hemorrhage rate was 1.6%. Radiation-induced changes were symptomatic in 13.7% and permanent in 2.0% of patients. The statistically significant independent positive predictors of obliteration were no preradiosurgery embolization (p < 0.001), increased prescription dose (p < 0.001), single draining vein (p < 0.001), radiological presence of radiation-induced changes (p = 0.004), and lower Spetzler-Martin grade (p = 0.016). Increased volume and higher Pittsburgh radiosurgery-based AVM score were predictors of postradiosurgery hemorrhage in the univariate analysis only. Clinical deterioration occurred in 30 patients (6.8%), more commonly in patients with postradiosurgery hemorrhage (p = 0.018).

Conclusions

Radiosurgery afforded a reasonable chance of obliteration of unruptured AVMs with relatively low rates of clinical and radiological complications.

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Dale Ding, Zhiyuan Xu, Ian T. McNeill, Chun-Po Yen and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

Parasagittal and parafalcine (PSPF) meningiomas represent the second most common location for intracranial meningiomas. Involvement of the superior sagittal sinus or deep draining veins may prevent gross-total resection of these tumors without significant morbidity. The authors review their results for treatment of PSPF meningiomas with radiosurgery.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the institutional review board–approved University of Virginia Gamma Knife database and identified 65 patients with 90 WHO Grade I parasagittal (59%) and parafalcine (41%) meningiomas who had a mean MRI follow-up of 56.6 months. The patients' mean age was 57 years, the median preradiosurgery Karnofsky Performance Status score was 80, and the median initial tumor and treatment volumes were 3 and 3.7 cm3, respectively. The median prescription dose was 15 Gy, isodose line was 40%, and the number of isocenters was 5. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to determine progression-free survival (PFS). Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with PFS.

Results

The median overall PFS was 75.6 months. The actuarial tumor control rate was 85% at 3 years and 70% at 5 years. Parasagittal location, no prior resection, and younger age were found to be independent predictors of tumor PFS. For the 49 patients with clinical follow-up (mean 70.8 months), the median postradiosurgery Karnofsky Performance Status score was 90. Symptomatic postradiosurgery peritumoral edema was observed in 4 patients (8.2%); this group comprised 3 patients (6.1%) with temporary and 1 patient (2%) with permanent clinical sequelae. Two patients (4.1%) died of tumor progression.

Conclusions

Radiosurgery offers a minimally invasive treatment option for PSPF meningiomas, with a good tumor control rate and an acceptable complication rate comparable to most surgical series.

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Jason P. Sheehan, Chun-Po Yen, James Nguyen, Jessica A. Rainey, Kasandra Dassoulas and David J. Schlesinger

Object

Stereotactic radiosurgery has been shown to afford a reasonable chance of local tumor control. However, new brain metastasis can arise following successful local tumor control from radiosurgery. This study evaluates the timing, number, and risk factors for development of subsequent new brain metastasis in a group of patients treated with stereotactic radiosurgery alone.

Methods

One hundred seventeen patients with histologically confirmed metastatic cancer underwent Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) to treat all brain metastases demonstrable on MR imaging. Patients were followed clinically and radiologically at approximately 3-month intervals for a median of 14.4 months (range 0.37–51.8 months). Follow-up MR images were evaluated for evidence of new brain metastasis formation. Statistical analyses were performed to determine the timing, number, and risk factors for development of new brain metastases.

Results

The median time to development of a new brain metastasis was 8.8 months. Patients with 3 or more metastases at the time of initial radiosurgery or those with cancer histologies other than non–small cell lung carcinoma were found to be at increased risk for early formation of new brain metastasis (p < 0.05). The mean number of new metastases per patient was 1.6 (range 0–11). Those with a higher Karnofsky Performance Scale score at the time of initial GKS were significantly more likely to develop a greater number of brain metastases by the last follow-up evaluation.

Conclusions

The timing and number of new brain metastases developing in patients treated with GKS alone is not inconsequential. Those with 3 or more metastases at the time of radiosurgery and those with cancer histology other than non–small cell lung carcinoma were at greater risk of early formation of new brain metastasis. Frequent follow-up evaluations, such as at 3-month intervals, appears appropriate in this patient population, particularly in high-risk patients. When detected early, salvage treatments including repeat radiosurgery can be used to treat new brain metastasis.