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  • Author or Editor: Alberto Franzin x
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Alberto Franzin, Pietro Panni, Giorgio Spatola, Antonella del Vecchio, Alberto L. Gallotti, Carmen R. Gigliotti, Andrea Cavalli, Carmine A. Donofrio and Pietro Mortini


There are few reported series regarding volume-staged Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for the treatment of large, complex, cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). The object of this study was to report the results of using volume-staged Gamma Knife radiosurgery for patients affected by large and complex AVMs.


Data from 20 patients with large AVMs were prospectively included in the authors' AVM database between 2004 and 2012. A staging strategy was used when treating lesion volumes larger than 10 cm3. Hemorrhage and seizures were the presenting clinical feature for 6 (30%) and 8 (40%) patients, respectively. The median AVM volume was 15.9 cm3 (range 10.1–34.3 cm3). The mean interval between stages (± standard deviation) was 15 months (± 9 months). The median margin dose for each stage was 20 Gy (range 18–25 Gy).


Obliteration was confirmed in 8 (42%) patients after a mean follow-up of 45 months (range 19–87 months). A significant reduction (> 75%) of the original nidal volume was achieved in 4 (20%) patients. Engel Class I–II seizure status was reported by 75% of patients presenting with seizures (50% Engel Class I and 25% Engel Class II) after radiosurgery. After radiosurgery, 71.5% (5/7) of patients who had presented with a worsening neurological deficit reported a complete resolution or amelioration. None of the patients who presented acutely because of hemorrhage experienced a new bleeding episode during follow-up. One (5%) patient developed radionecrosis that caused sensorimotor hemisyndrome. Two (10%) patients sustained a bleeding episode after GKRS, although only 1 (5%) was symptomatic. High nidal flow rate and a time interval between stages of less than 11.7 months were factors significantly associated with AVM obliteration (p = 0.021 and p = 0.041, respectively). Patient age younger than 44 years was significantly associated with a greater than 75% reduction in AVM volume but not with AVM obliteration (p = 0.024).


According to the results of this study, volume-staged GKRS is an effective and safe treatment strategy for large, complex, cerebral AVMs for which microsurgery or endovascular approaches could carry substantially higher risks to the patient. Radiation doses up to 20 Gy can be safely administered. The time interval between stages should be shorter than 11.7 months to increase the chance of obliteration. High nidal flow and a patient age younger than 44 years were factors associated with nidus obliteration and significant nidus reduction, respectively.

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Alberto Franzin, Giorgio Spatola, Carlo Serra, Piero Picozzi, Marzia Medone, Davide Milani, Paola Castellazzi and Pietro Mortini


Due to technological advances in neuroradiology in recent years, incidental diagnoses of vestibular schwannomas (VSs) have increased. The aim of this study was to evaluate the hearing function after treatment with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for VSs in patients adequately selected with “good” or “useful” hearing before treatment and to assess the possible predictive factors for hearing function preservation.


Of all patients treated in the authors' hospital between 2001 and 2007, they retrospectively studied 50 patients with a unilateral VS in whom there was serviceable hearing (Gardner-Robertson [GR] Class I or II). Additional inclusion criteria were: no Type 2 neurofibromatosis, no previous treatment, and at least 6 months' follow-up of neuroradiological and audiological data. The median patient age was 54 years (range 24–78 years). The median tumor volume was 0.73 ml (range 0.03–6.6 ml), and the median radiation dose to the tumor margin was 13 Gy (range 12–16 Gy) with an isodose of 50%.


Patient age, tumor volume, and presenting symptoms were found to correlate with hearing function. At a median of 36 months after radiosurgery, tumor growth control was 96% and no patient required any other additional treatment. Serviceable hearing was preserved in 34 patients (68%): 21 (62%) with GR Class I hearing and 13 (38%) with GR Class II hearing. The remaining 16 patients had poor hearing function:15 with GR Class III and 1 with GR Class IV hearing function. In 19 (58%) of 33 patients with GR Class I function before GKS the same class was maintained posttreatment; 29 (88%) maintained functional hearing (GR Class I or II). In all patients with an intracanalicular lesion, functional hearing was maintained. Significant prognostic factors for maintaining serviceable hearing were GR Class I function before treatment, symptoms at presentation, patient age younger than 54 years, and Koos Stage T1 disease.


The results of the study show that the probability of preserving functional hearing in patients undergoing GKS treatment for unilateral VSs is very high. Patients with GR Class I, age younger than 54 years, with presenting symptoms other than hearing loss, and a Koos Stage T1 tumor have better prognosis. The prescribed dose of 13 Gy appears to represent an excellent compromise between controlling the disease and preserving auditory function.