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Swei-Ming Lin, Sheng-Hong Tseng, Jiao-Chiao Yang and Chi-Cheng Tu

Object

The authors evaluated the efficacy and safety of so-called chimney sublaminar decompression, a new technique to decompress the degenerative stenotic lumbar spinal canal without stripping of the paravertebral muscles.

Methods

Eighteen patients (nine men and nine women whose mean age was 67 years) with symptoms of claudication were selected to undergo chimney sublaminar decompression. The duration of symptoms was greater than 6 months in 17 patients. Two lumbar segments were involved in seven patients, three in eight, and four in the remaining three patients. Central canal stenosis was present in 13 patients, and lateral recess stenosis in five patients. Mild spondylolisthesis was noted in seven patients. All the patients underwent chimney sublaminar decompression.

After surgery, mild wound pain developed in 14 patients, moderate wound pain in two, and severe wound pain in two. The postoperative hospital stay was 4 days or fewer in 14 patients. At follow-up examination, excellent, good, and fair outcomes were achieved in 11, five, and two patients, respectively. No patient required a body brace, and no worsening of preexisting spondylolisthesis was detected. The spinal canal was increased to two- to 6.8-fold (mean 4.2-fold) the preoperative size.

Conclusions

Compared with laminectomy or endoscopic surgery, the aforementioned chimney sublaminar decompression technique was an equally effective and less invasive technique in the treatment of degenerative lumbar canal stenosis.

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I-Chang Su, Chi-Cheng Yang, Wei-Han Wang, Jing-Er Lee, Yong-Kwang Tu and Kuo-Chuan Wang

The authors present a rare case of an infarction complication 15 days following acute intraventricular bleeding due to moyamoya disease. Before the infarction occurred, perfusion CT imaging disclosed early but reversible ischemic injury on the day of hemorrhage. Dehydration and hypotension are both possibly contributing factors of progressive injury from reversible ischemia due to infarction. Although the patient underwent successful bypass surgery, 1 month after the ictus the neurobehavior evaluation still showed marked executive dysfunction. The authors address that, in hemorrhagic-type moyamoya disease, early perfusion CT scanning is not only a powerful tool to identify the high-risk group of patients who could experience subacute infarction, but also alarms neurosurgeons to eliminate any predisposing factors when it shows reversible ischemic injuries.

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Cheng-Chia Lee, David Hung-Chi Pan, Wen-Yuh Chung, Kang-Du Liu, Huai-Che Yang, Hsiu-Mei Wu, Wan-Yuo Guo and Yang-Hsin Shih

Object

The authors retrospectively reviewed the efficacy and safety of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) in patients with brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs). The CMs had bled repeatedly and placed the patients at high risk with respect to surgical intervention.

Methods

Between 1993 and 2010, 49 patients with symptomatic CMs were treated by GKS. The mean age in these patients was 37.8 years, and the predominant sex was female (59.2%). All 49 patients experienced at least 2 instances of repeated bleeding before GKS; these hemorrhages caused neurological deficits including cranial nerve deficits, hemiparesis, hemisensory deficits, spasticity, chorea or athetosis, and consciousness disturbance.

Results

The mean size of the CMs at the time of GKS was 3.2 cm3 (range 0.1–14.6 cm3). The mean radiation dose directed to the lesion was 11 Gy with an isodose level at 60.0%. The mean clinical and imaging follow-up time was 40.6 months (range 1.0–150.7 months). Forty-five patients participated in regularly scheduled follow-up. Twenty-nine patients (59.2%) were followed up for > 2 years, and 16 (32.7%) were followed up for < 2 years. The pre-GKS annual hemorrhage rate was 31.3% (69 symptomatic hemorrhages during a total of 220.3 patient-years). After GKS, 3 episodes of symptomatic hemorrhage were observed within the first 2 years of follow-up (4.29% annual hemorrhage rate), and 3 episodes of symptomatic hemorrhage were observed after the first 2 years of follow-up (3.64% annual hemorrhage rate). In this study of 49 patients, symptomatic radiation-induced complications developed in only 2 patients (4.1%; cyst formation in 1 patient and perifocal edema with neurological deficits in the other patient). There were no deaths in this group.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife surgery is effective in reducing the rate of recurrent hemorrhage. In the authors' experience, it was possible to control bleeding using a low-dose treatment. In addition, there were few symptomatic radiation-induced complications. As a result, the authors believe that GKS is a good alternative treatment for brainstem CMs.

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Cheng-Chia Lee, Hideyuki Kano, Huai-Che Yang, Zhiyuan Xu, Chun-Po Yen, Wen-Yuh Chung, David Hung-Chi Pan, L. Dade Lunsford and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

Nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFAs) are the most common type of pituitary adenoma and, when symptomatic, typically require surgical removal as an initial means of management. Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is an alternative therapeutic strategy for patients whose comorbidities substantially increase the risks of resection. In this report, the authors evaluated the efficacy and safety of initial GKRS for NFAs.

Methods

An international group of three academic Gamma Knife centers retrospectively reviewed outcome data in 569 patients with NFAs.

Results

Forty-one patients (7.2%) underwent GKRS as primary management for their NFAs because of an advanced age, multiple comorbidities, or patient preference. The median age at the time of radiosurgery was 69 years. Thirty-seven percent of the patients had hypopituitarism before GKRS. Patients received a median tumor margin dose of 12 Gy (range 6.2–25.0 Gy) at a median isodose of 50%. The overall tumor control rate was 92.7%, and the actuarial tumor control rate was 94% and 85% at 5 and 10 years postradiosurgery, respectively. Three patients with tumor growth or symptom progression underwent resection at 3, 3, and 96 months after GKRS, respectively. New or worsened hypopituitarism developed in 10 patients (24%) at a median interval of 37 months after GKRS. One patient suffered new-onset cranial nerve palsy. No other radiosurgical complications were noted. Delayed hypopituitarism was observed more often in patients who had received a tumor margin dose > 18 Gy (p = 0.038) and a maximum dose > 36 Gy (p = 0.025).

Conclusions

In this study, GKRS resulted in long-term control of NFAs in 85% of patients at 10 years. This experience suggests that GKRS provides long-term tumor control with an acceptable risk profile. This approach may be especially valuable in older patients, those with multiple comorbidities, and those who have endocrine-inactive tumors without visual compromise due to mass effect of the adenoma.

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Yi-Chieh Hung, Cheng-Chia Lee, Kang-Du Liu, Wen-Yuh Chung, David Hung-Chi Pan and Huai-Che Yang

Object

The authors evaluated individual anatomical variations in the trigeminal nerves of patients with medically intractable trigeminal neuralgia and clarified the relationships among the variations, radiosurgical target locations, and the clinical outcomes after high-dose Gamma Knife surgery (GKS).

Methods

From 2006 through 2011, the authors conducted a retrospective review of 106 cases of primary or secondary trigeminal neuralgia consecutively treated with GKS targeting the dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) for which a maximal dose of 90 Gy and a 20% isodose line to the brainstem were used. A questionnaire was used to evaluate patients' pre- and post-GKS clinical conditions. To evaluate individual anatomical variations among trigeminal nerves, the authors used 3 parameters: the length of the trigeminal nerve in the cistern (nerve length), the length of the target between the radiation shot and the brainstem (targeting length), and the ratio between nerve length and targeting length (targeting ratio).

Results

The median length of the trigeminal nerves in the 106 patients was 9.6 mm (range 6.04−20.74 mm), the median targeting length was 3.8 mm (range 1.81−10.84 mm), and the median targeting ratio was 38% (range 13%− 80%). No statistically significant differences in pain relief and pain recurrence were detected among patients with these various nerve characteristics. However, radiation-induced facial hypesthesia correlated with nerve length and targeting ratio (p < 0.05) but not with absolute distance from the brainstem (targeting length).

Conclusions

In trigeminal neuralgia patients who received DREZ-targeted GKS, the rate of pain relief did not differ according to anatomical nerve variations. However, the frequency of facial hypesthesia was higher among patients in whom the nerve was longer (> 11 mm) or the targeting ratio was lower (< 36%). Adjusting the target according to the targeting ratio, especially for patients with longer nerves, can reduce facial hypesthesia and enable maintenance of effective pain control.

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Wen-Yuh Chung, David Hung-Chi Pan, Cheng-Chia Lee, Hsiu-Mei Wu, Kang-Du Liu, Yu-Shu Yen, Wan-Yuo Guo, Cheng-Ying Shiau and Yang-Hsin Shih

Object

Although radiosurgery has been well accepted as a treatment for small- to medium-sized vestibular schwannomas (VSs), its application in the treatment of large VSs remains controversial because of unfavorable effects such as tumor swelling and potential compression of the brainstem. The authors present a retrospective study spanning 17 years, during which 21 patients underwent Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for large VSs. Long-term outcomes are reported, and possible factors affecting tumor responses to GKS are analyzed.

Methods

Five hundred thirteen patients harboring VSs underwent GKS between March 1993 and October 2009. A large VS was defined as a tumor whose diameter was > 3 cm. This paper focuses on 21 patients who harbored large VSs ranging in volume from 12.7 to 25.2 cm3 (mean 17.3 cm3) and were treated by GKS. Fourteen of these patients had undergone 1 or more craniotomies previously to remove the tumor. Seven patients underwent GKS alone because of patient preference or a poor clinical condition that precluded microsurgery with general anesthesia. The mean radiation dose directed to the tumor ranged from 15 to 17.5 Gy. The mean radiation dose prescribed to the tumor margin was 11.9 Gy (range 11–14 Gy). The mean follow-up period was 66 months (range 12–155 months), and the median follow-up period was 53 months.

Results

The tumor control rate was 90.5% (19 of 21 lesions). No deterioration in facial nerve or trigeminal nerve function was noted. Disturbances in balance (some temporary) occurred in 5 patients. Three of the 21 patients developed initial tumor swelling, which required minor surgical interventions, including aspiration using an Ommaya reservoir or placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. All 3 patients recovered satisfactorily after aspiration of an enlarging cyst or ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. There was no significant correlation between tumor control and the following factors: patient age or sex, tumor volume, radiation dose, previous operation, presence of brainstem compression, petrous bone invasion, T2 signal ratio between tumor and brainstem, and presence of a cyst. However, there was a significant correlation between the T2 signal ratio between tumor and brainstem and the duration of tumor swelling (p = 0.003).

Conclusions

Treatment of large VSs remains a challenge to neurosurgeons regardless of whether they perform microsurgery or radiosurgery. Control of tumor growth and preservation of neurological function are the main goals of treatment. Although delayed microsurgery was required in 2 patients (9.5%), the satisfactory tumor control rate and excellent preservation of facial and trigeminal nerve function are the great advantages of radiosurgery. Radiosurgery is not only a practical treatment for patients with small- to medium-sized VSs, but it is also an excellent tool for treating larger tumors up to 25 cm3. In selected cases, radiosurgery plays an important role in treating large VSs with satisfactory results.

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Cheng-Chia Lee, Ching-Jen Chen, Shao-Ching Chen, Huai-Che Yang, Chung Jung Lin, Chih-Chun Wu, Wen-Yuh Chung, Wan-Yuo Guo, David Hung-Chi Pan, Cheng-Ying Shiau and Hsiu-Mei Wu

OBJECTIVE

Clival epidural-osseous dural arteriovenous fistula (DAVF) is often associated with a large nidus, multiple arterial feeders, and complex venous drainage. In this study the authors report the outcomes of clival epidural-osseous DAVFs treated using Gamma Knife surgery (GKS).

METHODS

Thirteen patients with 13 clival epidural-osseous DAVFs were treated with GKS at the authors’ institution between 1993 and 2015. Patient age at the time of GKS ranged from 38 to 76 years (median 55 years). Eight DAVFs were classified as Cognard Type I, 4 as Type IIa, and 1 as Type IIa+b. The median treatment volume was 17.6 cm3 (range 6.2–40.3 cm3). The median prescribed margin dose was 16.5 Gy (range 15–18 Gy). Clinical and radiological follow-ups were performed at 6-month intervals. Patient outcomes after GKS were categorized as 1) complete improvement, 2) partial improvement, 3) stationary, and 4) progression.

RESULTS

All 13 patients demonstrated symptomatic improvement, and on catheter angiography 12 of the 13 patients had complete obliteration and 1 patient had partial obliteration. The median follow-up period was 26 months (range 14–186 months). The median latency period from GKS to obliteration was 21 months (range 8–186 months). There was no intracranial hemorrhage during the follow-up period, and no deaths occurred. Two adverse events were observed following treatment, and 2 patients required repeat GKS treatment with eventual complete obliteration.

CONCLUSIONS

Gamma Knife surgery offers a safe and effective primary or adjuvant treatment modality for complex clival epidural-osseous DAVFs. All patients in this case series demonstrated symptomatic improvement, and almost all patients attained complete obliteration.

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Cheng-Chia Lee, Huai-Che Yang, Ching-Jen Chen, Yi-Chieh Hung, Hsiu-Mei Wu, Cheng-Ying Shiau, Wan-Yuo Guo, David Hung-Chi Pan, Wen-Yuh Chung and Kang-Du Liu

Object

Although craniopharyngiomas are benign intracranial tumors, their high recurrence rates and intimate associations with surrounding neurovascular structures make gross tumor resection challenging. Stereotactic radiosurgery has been introduced as a valuable adjuvant therapy for recurrent or residual craniopharyngiomas. However, studies with large patient populations documenting long-term survival and progression-free survival rates are rare in the literature. The current study aims to report the long-term radiosurgical results and to define the prognostic factors in a large cohort of patients with a craniopharyngioma.

Methods

A total of 137 consecutive patients who underwent 162 sessions of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) treatments at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital between 1993 and 2012 were analyzed. The patients' median age was 30.1 years (range 1.5–84.9 years), and the median tumor volume was 5.5 ml (range 0.2–28.4 ml). There were 23 solid (16.8%), 23 cystic (16.8%), and 91 mixed solid and cystic (66.4%) craniopharyngiomas. GKS was indicated for residual or recurrent craniopharyngiomas. The median radiation dose was 12 Gy (range 9.5–16.0 Gy) at a median isodose line of 55% (range 50%–78%).

Results

At a median imaging follow-up of 45.7 months after GKS, the rates of tumor control were 72.7%, 73.9%, and 66.3% for the solid, cystic, and mixed tumors, respectively. The actuarial progression-free survival rates plotted by the Kaplan-Meier method were 70.0% and 43.8% at 5 and 10 years after radiosurgery, respectively. After repeated GKS, the actuarial progression-free survival rates were increased to 77.3% and 61.2% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. The overall survival rates were 91.5% and 83.9% at the 5- and 10-year follow-ups, respectively. Successful GKS treatment can be predicted by tumor volume (p = 0.011). Among the 137 patients who had clinical follow-up, new-onset or worsened pituitary deficiencies were detected in 11 patients (8.0%). Two patients without tumor growth had a worsened visual field, and 1 patient had a new onset of third cranial nerve palsy.

Conclusions

The current study suggests that GKS is a relatively safe modality for the treatment of recurrent or residual craniopharyngiomas, and it is associated with improved tumor control and reduced in-field recurrence rates. Acceptable rates of complications occurred.

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Cheng-Chia Lee, Sanford P. C. Hsu, Chung-Jung Lin, Hsiu-Mei Wu, Yu-Wei Chen, Yung-Hung Luo, Chi-Lu Chiang, Yong-Sin Hu, Wen-Yuh Chung, Cheng-Ying Shiau, Wan-Yuo Guo, David Hung-Chi Pan and Huai-Che Yang

OBJECTIVE

The presence of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has been associated with elevated radiosensitivity in vitro. However, results from clinical studies on radiosensitivity in cases of NSCLC with EGFR mutations are inconclusive. This paper presents a retrospective analysis of patients with NSCLC who underwent regular follow-up imaging after radiotherapy for brain metastases (BMs). The authors also investigated the influence of EGFR mutations on the efficacy of Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS).

METHODS

This study included 264 patients (1069 BMs) who underwent GKRS treatment and for whom EGFR mutation status, demographics, performance status, and tumor characteristics were available. Radiological images were obtained at 3 months after GKRS and at 3-month intervals thereafter. Kaplan-Meier plots and Cox regression analysis were used to correlate EGFR mutation status and other clinical features with tumor control and overall survival.

RESULTS

The tumor control rates and overall 12-month survival rates were 87.8% and 65.5%, respectively. Tumor control rates in the EGFR mutant group versus the EGFR wild-type group were 90.5% versus 79.4% at 12 months and 75.0% versus 24.5% at 24 months. During the 2-year follow-up period after SRS, the intracranial response rate in the EGFR mutant group was approximately 3-fold higher than that in the wild-type group (p < 0.001). Cox regression multivariate analysis identified EGFR mutation status, extracranial metastasis, primary tumor control, and prescribed margin dose as predictors of tumor control (p = 0.004, p < 0.001, p = 0.004, and p = 0.026, respectively). Treatment with a combination of GKRS and tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) was the most important predictor of overall survival (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The current study demonstrated that, among patients with NSCLC-BMs, EGFR mutations were independent prognostic factors of tumor control. It was also determined that a combination of GKRS and TKI had the most pronounced effect on prolonging survival after SRS. In select patient groups, treatment with SRS in conjunction with EGFR-TKIs provided effective tumor control for NSCLC-BMs.