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John C. Flickinger, Douglas Kondziolka, Ajay Niranjan and L. Dade Lunsford

Object. The goal of this study was to define tumor control and complications of radiosurgery encountered using current treatment methods for the initial management of patients with unilateral acoustic neuroma.

Methods. One hundred ninety patients with previously untreated unilateral acoustic neuromas (vestibular schwannomas) underwent gamma knife radiosurgery between 1992 and 1997. The median follow-up period in these patients was 30 months (maximum 85 months). The marginal radiation doses were 11 to 18 Gy (median 13 Gy), the maximum doses were 22 to 36 Gy (median 26 Gy), and the treatment volumes were 0.1 to 33 cm3 (median 2.7 cm3).

The actuarial 5-year clinical tumor-control rate (no requirement for surgical intervention) for the entire series was 97.1 ± 1.9%. Five-year actuarial rates for any new facial weakness, facial numbness, hearing-level preservation, and preservation of testable speech discrimination were 1.1 ± 0.8%, 2.6 ± 1.2%, 71 ± 4.7%, and 91 ± 2.6%, respectively. Facial weakness did not develop in any patient who received a marginal dose of less than 15 Gy (163 patients). Hearing levels improved in 10 (7%) of 141 patients who exhibited decreased hearing (Gardner-Robertson Classes II–V) before undergoing radiosurgery. According to multivariate analysis, increasing marginal dose correlated with increased development of facial weakness (p = 0.0342) and decreased preservation of testable speech discrimination (p = 0.0122).

Conclusions. Radiosurgery for acoustic neuroma performed using current procedures is associated with a continued high rate of tumor control and lower rates of posttreatment morbidity than those published in earlier reports.

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Keisuke Maruyama, Douglas Kondziolka, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

Object. Management options for arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the brainstem are limited. The long-term results of stereotactic radiosurgery for these disease entities are poorly understood. In this report the authors reviewed both neurological and radiological outcomes following stereotactic radiosurgery for brainstem AVMs over 15 years of experience.

Methods. Fifty patients with brainstem AVMs underwent gamma knife surgery between 1987 and 2002. There were 29 male and 21 female patients with an age range of 7 to 79 years (median 35 years). Anatomical locations of these AVMs included the midbrain (39 lesions), pons (20 lesions), and medulla oblongata (three lesions). The radiation dose applied to the margin of the AVM varied from 12 to 26 Gy (median 20 Gy). Forty-five patients were followed up from 5 to 176 months (mean 72 months). The angiographically confirmed actuarial obliteration rate was 66% at the final follow-up examination. Two patients experienced a hemorrhage before obliteration. The annual hemorrhage rate was 1.7% for the first 3 years after radiosurgery and 0% thereafter. Patients who had received irradiation at two or fewer isocenters had higher obliteration rates (80% compared with 44% for > two isocenters, p = 0.006), and this was related to a more spherical nidus shape. The rate of persistent neurological complications in patients treated using magnetic resonance imaging—based dose planning after 1993 was 7%, compared with 20% in patients treated before 1993. An older patient age, a lesion located in the tectum, and a higher radiosurgery-based score were significantly associated with greater neurological complications.

Conclusions. Stereotactic radiosurgery provided complete obliteration of AVMs in two thirds of the patients with a low risk of latency-interval hemorrhage. Better three-dimensional imaging studies and conformal dose planning reduced the risk of adverse radiation effects. Younger patients harboring more spherical AVMs that did not involve the tectal plate had the best outcomes.

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John Y. K. Lee, Ajay Niranjan, James McInerney, Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

Object. To evaluate long-term outcomes of patients who have undergone stereotactic radiosurgery for cavernous sinus meningiomas, the authors retrospectively reviewed their 14-year experience with these cases.

Methods. One hundred seventy-six patients harbored meningiomas centered within the cavernous sinus. Seventeen patients were lost to follow-up review, leaving 159 analyzable patients, in whom 164 procedures were performed. Seventy-six patients (48%) underwent adjuvant radiosurgery after one or more attempts at surgical resection. Eighty-three patients (52%) underwent primary radiosurgery. Two patients (1%) had previously received fractionated external-beam radiation therapy. Four patients (2%) harbored histologically verified atypical or malignant meningiomas. Conformal multiple isocenter gamma knife surgery was performed. The median dose applied to the tumor margin was 13 Gy.

Neurological status improved in 46 patients (29%), remained stable in 99 (62%), and eventually worsened in 14 (9%). Adverse effects of radiation occurred after 11 procedures (6.7%). Tumor volumes decreased in 54 patients (34%), remained stable in 96 (60%), and increased in nine (6%). The actuarial tumor control rate for patients with typical meningiomas was 93.1 ± 3.3% at both 5 and 10 years. For the 83 patients who underwent radiosurgery as their sole treatment, the actuarial tumor control rate at 5 years was 96.9 ± 3%.

Conclusions. Stereotactic radiosurgery provided safe and effective management of cavernous sinus meningiomas. We believe it is the preferred management strategy for tumors of suitable volume (average tumor diameter ≤ 3 cm or volume ≤ 15 cm3).

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Sudesh S. Raju, Ajay Niranjan, Edward A. Monaco III, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to severe intention tremor in some patients. In several case reports, conventional radiotherapy has been reported to possibly exacerbate MS. Radiosurgery dramatically limits normal tissue irradiation to potentially avoid such a problem. Gamma Knife thalamotomy (GKT) has been established as a minimally invasive technique that is effective in treating essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease–related tremor. The goal in this study was to analyze the outcomes of GKT in patients suffering from medically refractory MS-related tremor.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively studied the outcomes of 15 patients (mean age 46.5 years) who had undergone GKT over a 15-year period (1998–2012). Fourteen patients underwent GKT at a median maximum dose of 140 Gy (range 130–150 Gy) using a single 4-mm isocenter. One patient underwent GKT at a dose of 140 Gy delivered via two 4-mm isocenters (3 mm apart). The posteroinferior region of the nucleus ventralis intermedius (VIM) was the target for all GKTs. The Fahn-Tolosa-Marin clinical tremor rating scale was used to evaluate tremor, handwriting, drawing, and drinking. The median time to the last follow-up was 39 months.

RESULTS

After GKT, 13 patients experienced tremor improvement on the side contralateral to surgery. Four patients noted tremor arrest at a median of 4.5 months post-GKT. Seven patients had excellent tremor improvement and 6 had good tremor improvement. Four patients noted excellent functional improvement, 8 noted good functional improvement, and 1 noted satisfactory functional improvement. Three patients experienced diminished tremor relief at a median of 18 months after radiosurgery. Two patients experienced temporary adverse radiation effects. Another patient developed a large thalamic cyst 60 months after GKT, which was successfully managed with Ommaya reservoir placement.

CONCLUSIONS

Gamma Knife thalamotomy was found to be a minimally invasive and beneficial procedure for medically refractory MS tremor.

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Ajay Niranjan, Sudesh S. Raju, Edward A. Monaco III, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Unilateral Gamma Knife thalamotomy (GKT) is a well-established treatment for patients with medically refractory tremor who are not eligible for invasive procedures due to increased risk of compications. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether staged bilateral GKT provides benefit with acceptable risk to patients suffering from disabling medically refractory bilateral tremor.

METHODS

Eleven patients underwent staged bilateral GKT during a 17-year period (1999–2016). Eight patients had essential tremor (ET), 2 had Parkinson's disease (PD)–related tremor, and 1 had multiple-sclerosis (MS)–related tremor. For the first GKT, a median maximum dose of 140 Gy was delivered to the posterior-inferior region of the nucleus ventralis intermedius (VIM) through a single isocenter with 4-mm collimators. Patients who benefitted from unilateral GKT were eligible for a contralateral GKT 1–2 years later (median 22 months). For the second GKT, a median maximum dose of 130 Gy was delivered to the opposite VIM nucleus to a single 4-mm isocenter. The Fahn-Tolosa-Marin (FTM) clinical tremor rating scale was used to score tremor, drawing, and drinking before and after each GKT. The FTM writing score was assessed only for the dominant hand before and after the first GKT. The Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) was used to assess quality of life and activities of daily living before and after the first and second GKT.

RESULTS

The median time to last follow-up after the first GKT was 35 months (range 11–70 months). All patients had improvement in at least 1 FTM score after the first GKT. Three patients (27.3%) had tremor arrest and complete restoration of function (noted via FTM tremor, writing, drawing, and drinking scores equaling zero). No patient had tremor recurrence or diminished tremor relief after the first GKT. One patient experienced new temporary neurological deficit (contralateral lower-extremity hemiparesis) from the first GKT. The median time to last follow-up after the second GKT was 12 months (range 2–70 months). Nine patients had improvement in at least 1 FTM score after the second GKT. Two patients had tremor arrest and complete restoration of function. No patient experienced tremor recurrence or diminished tremor relief after the second GKT. No patient experienced new neurological or radiological adverse effect from the second GKT. Statistically significant improvements were noted in the KPS score following the first and second GKT.

CONCLUSIONS

Staged bilateral GKT provided effective relief for medically refractory, disabling, bilateral tremor without increased risk of neurological complications. It is an appropriate strategy for carefully selected patients with medically refractory bilateral tremor who are not eligible for deep brain stimulation.

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Ajay Niranjan, Ahmed Kashkoush, Hideyuki Kano, Edward A. Monaco III, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Seizures are the second-most common presenting symptom in patients with lobar arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). However, few studies have assessed the long-term effect of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) on seizure control. The authors of this study assess the outcome of SRS for these patients to identify prognostic factors associated with seizure control.

METHODS

Patients with AVM who presented with a history of seizure and underwent SRS at the authors’ institution between 1987 and 2012 were retrospectively assessed. The total cohort included 155 patients with a mean follow-up of 86 months (range 6–295 months). Primary outcomes assessed were seizure frequency, antiepileptic drug regimen, and seizure freedom for 6 months prior to last follow-up.

RESULTS

Seizure-free status was achieved in 108 patients (70%), with an additional 23 patients (15%) reporting improved seizure frequency as compared to their pre-SRS status. The median time to seizure-free status was estimated to be 12 months (95% CI 0–27 months) as evaluated via Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. The mean seizure frequency prior to SRS was 14.2 (95% CI 5.4–23.1) episodes per year. Although not all patients tried, the proportion of patients successfully weaned off all antiepileptic drugs was 18% (28/155 patients). On multivariate logistic regression, focal impaired awareness seizure type (also known as complex partial seizures) and superficial venous drainage were significantly associated with a decreased odds ratio for seizure-free status at last follow-up (OR 0.37 [95% CI 0.15–0.92] for focal impaired awareness seizures; OR 0.36 [95% CI 0.16–0.81] for superficial venous drainage). The effects of superficial venous drainage on seizure outcome were nonsignificant when excluding patients with < 2 years of follow-up. AVM obliteration did not correlate with long-term seizure freedom (p = 0.202, chi-square test).

CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests that SRS improves long-term seizure control and increases the likelihood of being medication free, independently of AVM obliteration. Patients with focal impaired awareness seizures were less likely to obtain long-term seizure relief.

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Douglas Kondziolka, Elad I. Levy, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

Object. Stereotactic radiosurgery is a primary or adjuvant management approach used to treat patients with intracranial meningiomas. The goal of radiosurgery is long-term prevention of tumor growth, maintenance of the patient's neurological function, and prevention of new neurological deficits. The object of this study is to report longer-term patient outcomes.

Methods. The authors evaluated 99 consecutive patients who underwent radiosurgery for meningioma between 1987 and 1992. Evaluation was performed using serial imaging tests, clinical evaluations, and a patient survey that was administered between 5 and 10 years after radiosurgery. Four patients underwent two radiosurgery procedures for separate meningiomas. The average tumor margin dose was 16 Gy and the median tumor volume was 4.7 ml (range 0.24–24 ml). Fifty-seven patients (57%) had undergone prior resection, of which 12 procedures were considered “total.” Five patients received fractionated radiation therapy before radiosurgery. Eighty-nine patients (89%) had skull base tumors.

The clinical tumor control rate (no resection required) was 93%. Sixty-one (63%) of 97 tumors became smaller, 31 (32%) remained unchanged in size, and five (5%) were enlarged. Resection was performed in seven patients (7%), six of whom had undergone prior resection. New neurological deficits developed in five patients (5%) 3 to 31 months after radiosurgery. Twenty-seven (42%) of 65 responding patients were employed at the time of radiosurgery and 20 (74%) of these remained so. Radiosurgery was believed to have been “successful” by 67 of 70 patients who completed an outcomes questionnaire 5 to 10 years later. At least one complication was described by nine patients (14%) and in four patients the complications resolved.

Conclusions. Five to 10 years after radiosurgery, 96% of surveyed patients believed that radiosurgery provided a satisfactory outcome for their meningioma. Overall, 93% of patients required no other tumor surgery. Incidences of morbidity in this early experience were usually transitory and relatively mild. Radiosurgery provided long-term tumor control associated with high rates of neurological function preservation and patient satisfaction.

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L. Dade Lunsford, Aftab A. Khan, Ajay Niranjan, Hideyuki Kano, John C. Flickinger and Douglas Kondziolka

Object

A retrospective study was conducted to reassess the benefit and safety of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in patients with solitary cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) that bleed repeatedly and are poor candidates for surgical removal.

Methods

Between 1988 and 2005 at the University of Pittsburgh, the authors performed SRS in 103 evaluable patients (57 males and 46 females) with solitary symptomatic CCMs. The mean patient age was 39.3 years. Ninety-eight percent of these patients had experienced 2 or more hemorrhages associated with new neurological deficits. Seventeen patients (16.5%) had undergone attempted resection before radiosurgery. Ninety-three CCMs were located in deep brain structures and 10 were in subcortical lobar areas of functional brain importance. The median malformation volume was 1.31 ml, and the median tumor margin dose was 16 Gy.

Results

The follow-up ranged from 2 to 20 years. The annual hemorrhage rate—that is, a new neurological deficit associated with imaging evidence of a new hemorrhage—before SRS was 32.5%. After SRS 22 hemorrhages were observed within 2 years (10.8% annual hemorrhage rate) and 4 hemorrhages were observed after 2 years (1.06% annual hemorrhage rate). The risk of hemorrhage from a CCM was significantly reduced after radiosurgery (p < 0.0001). Overall, new neurological deficits due to adverse radiation effects following SRS developed in 14 patients (13.5%), with most occurring early in our experience. Modifications in technique (treatment volume within the T2-weighted MR imaging–defined margin, use of MR imaging, and dose reduction for CCM in critical brainstem locations) further reduced risks after SRS.

Conclusions

Data in this study provide further evidence that SRS is a relatively safe procedure that reduces the rebleeding rate for CCMs located in high-surgical-risk areas of the brain.

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Hideyuki Kano, Ajay Niranjan, Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

To evaluate outcome predictors after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in patients with trigeminal schwannomas, the authors compared tumor control, functional preservation, and complications with tumor grade, tumor volume, patient age, and tumor imaging characteristics.

Methods

The records of 33 consecutive patients with trigeminal schwannoma treated via Gamma Knife surgery were retrospectively reviewed. The median patient age was 49.5 years (range 15.1–82.5 years). Eleven patients had undergone prior tumor resection. Two patients had neurofibromatosis Type 2. Lesions were classified as root type (6 tumors), ganglion type (17 tumors), and dumbbell type (10 tumors) based on their location. The median radiosurgery target volume was 4.2 cm3 (range 0.5–18.0 cm3), and the median dose to the tumor margin was 15.0 Gy (range 12–20 Gy).

Results

At an average of 6 years (range 7.2–147.9 months), the rate of progression-free survival (PFS) at 1, 5, and 10 years after SRS was 97.0, 82.0, and 82.0%, respectively. Factors associated with improved PFS included female sex, smaller tumor volume, and a root or ganglion tumor type. Neurological symptoms or signs improved in 11 (33.3%) of 33 patients and were unchanged in 19 (57.6%). Three patients (9.1%) had symptomatic disease progression. Patients who had not undergone a prior tumor resection were significantly more likely to show improvement in neurological symptoms or signs.

Conclusions

Stereotactic radiosurgery is an effective and minimally invasive management option in patients with residual or newly diagnosed trigeminal schwannomas. Predictors of a better treatment response included female sex, smaller tumor volume, root or ganglion tumor type, and the application of SRS as the primary treatment.