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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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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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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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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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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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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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Seyed H. Mousavi, Berkcan Akpinar, Ajay Niranjan, Vikas Agarwal, Jonathan Cohen, John C. Flickinger, Douglas Kondziolka and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Contrast enhancement of the retrogasserian trigeminal nerve on MRI scans frequently develops after radiosurgical ablation for the management of medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN). The authors sought to evaluate the clinical significance of this imaging finding in patients who underwent a second radiosurgical procedure for recurrent TN.

METHODS

During a 22-year period, 360 patients underwent Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as their first surgical procedure for TN at the authors' center. The authors retrospectively analyzed the data from 59 patients (mean age 72 years, range 33–89 years) who underwent repeat SRS for recurrent pain at a median of 30 months (range 6–146 months) after the first SRS. The isocenter was 4 mm, and the median maximum doses for the first and second procedures were 80 Gy and 70 Gy, respectively. A neuroradiologist and a neurosurgeon blinded to the treated side evaluated the presence of nerve contrast enhancement on MRI series at the time of the repeat procedure. The authors correlated the presence of this imaging change with clinical outcomes. Pain outcomes and development of trigeminal sensory dysfunction were evaluated with the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) Pain Scale and BNI Numbness Scale, respectively. The mean length of follow-up after the second SRS was 58 months (95% CI 49–68 months).

RESULTS

At the time of the repeat SRS, contrast enhancement of the trigeminal nerve on MRI scans was observed in 31 patients (53%). Five years after the SRS, patients with this enhancement had lower actuarial rates of complete pain relief after the repeat SRS (27% [95% CI 7%–47%]) than patients without the enhancement (76% [95% CI 58%–94%]) (p < 0.001). At the 5-year follow-up, patients with the contrast enhancement also had a higher risk for trigeminal sensory loss after repeat SRS (75% [95% CI 59%–91%]) than patients without contrast enhancement (26% [95% CI 10%–42%]) (p = 0.001). Dysesthetic pain after repeat SRS was observed for 8 patients with and for 2 patients without contrast enhancement.

CONCLUSIONS

Trigeminal nerve contrast enhancement on MRI scans observed at the time of a repeat SRS for TN was associated with less satisfactory pain control and more frequently detected facial sensory loss. Residual contrast enhancement at the time of a repeat SRS may warrant consideration of dose reduction or further separation of the radiosurgical targets.

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

OBJECT

After initial standard of care management of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), relatively few proven options remain for patients with unresected progressive tumor. Numerous reports describe the value of radiosurgery, yet this modality appears to remain underutilized. The authors analyzed the outcomes of early adjuvant stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for unresected tumor or later salvage SRS for progressive GBM. Radiosurgery was performed as part of the multimodality management and was combined with other therapies. Patients continued to receive additional chemotherapy after SRS and prior to progression being documented. In this retrospective analysis, the authors evaluated factors that affected patient overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival.

METHODS

Between 1987 and 2008 the authors performed Gamma Knife SRS in 297 patients with histologically proven GBMs. All patients had received prior fractionated radiation therapy, and 66% had undergone one or more chemotherapy regimens. Ninety-six patients with deep-seated unresectable GBMs underwent biopsy only. Of those in whom excision had been possible, resection was considered to be gross total in 68 and subtotal in 133. The median patient age was 58 years (range 23–89 years) and the median tumor volume was 14 cm3 (range 0.26–84.2 cm3). The median prescription dose delivered to the imaging-defined tumor margin was 15 Gy (range 9–25 Gy). The median follow-up duration was 8.6 months (range 1.1–173 months). Cox regression models were used to analyze survival outcomes. Variables examined included age, residual versus recurrent tumor, prior chemotherapy, time to first recurrence, SRS dose, and gross tumor volume.

RESULTS

The median survival times after radiosurgery and after diagnosis were 9.03 and 18.1 months, respectively. The 1-year and 2-year OS after SRS were 37.9% and 16.7%, respectively. The 1-year and 2-year OS after diagnosis were 76.2% and 30.8%, respectively. Using multivariate analysis, factors associated with improved OS after diagnosis were younger age (< 60 years) at diagnosis (p < 0.0001), tumor volume < 14 cm3 (p < 0.001), use of prior chemotherapy (p = 0.001), and radiosurgery at the time of recurrence (p < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis showed that younger age (p < 0.0001) and smaller tumor volume (< 14 cm3) (p = 0.001) were significantly associated with increased OS after SRS. Adverse radiation effects were seen in 69 patients (23%). Fifty-eight patients (19.5%) underwent additional resection after SRS. The median survivals after diagnosis for recursive partitioning analysis Classes III, IV and V+VI were 31.6, 20.8, and 16.7 months, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

In this analysis 30% of a heterogeneous cohort of GBM patients eligible for SRS had an OS of 2 years. Radiosurgery at the time of tumor progression was associated with a median survival of 21.8 months. The role of radiosurgery for GBMs remains controversial. The findings in this study support the need for a funded and appropriately designed clinical trial that will provide a higher level of evidence regarding the future role of SRS for glioblastoma patients in whom disease has progressed despite standard management.

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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.