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James K. Liu, Scott Forman, Chitti R. Moorthy and Deborah L. Benzil

Optic nerve sheath meningiomas (ONSMs) represent 1 to 2% of all meningiomas and one third of all optic nerve tumors. The management of ONSMs is controversial. Traditional surgical removal often results in postoperative blindness in the affected eye and thus has been abandoned as a treatment option in most patients. Surgery may be unnecessarily aggressive, especially if the patient has useful vision. When these tumors are left untreated, however, ensuing progressive visual impairment may lead to complete blindness. More recently, radiotherapy has gained wider acceptance as a treatment for these lesions. The authors of some reports have suggested that fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) may be the best option for treating primary ONSMs. In patients with documented progressive visual deterioration, fractionated SRS may be effective in improving or stabilizing remaining functional vision. The authors review the clinical presentation, radiographic characteristics, and management of ONSMs, emphasizing the use of fractionated SRS.

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Richard J. Zeman, Xialing Wen, Chitti R. Moorthy and Joseph D. Etlinger

OBJECTIVE

X-irradiation has been shown to be beneficial to recovery from spinal cord injury (SCI); however, the optimal therapeutic target has not been defined. Experiments were designed to determine the optimal target volume within the injured spinal cord for improving functional recovery and sparing tissue with stereotactic x-irradiation.

METHODS

SCI was produced in rats at the T10 level. A 20-Gy dose of radiation was delivered with a single, 4-mm-diameter, circular radiation beam centered either on the injury epicenter or 4 or 8 mm caudal or rostral to the injury epicenter. Locomotor function was determined for 6 weeks with the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan locomotor scale and tissue sparing by histological analysis of transverse sections along the spinal cords.

RESULTS

X-irradiation of spinal cord segments at 4 mm, but not 8 mm, caudal or rostral to the contusion epicenter resulted in increases in locomotor recovery. Consistently, significant tissue sparing also occurred with x-irradiation centered at those sites, although irradiation centered 4 mm rostral to the epicenter led to tissue sparing along the greatest length of the spinal cord. Interestingly, regression analysis of these variables demonstrated that the quantitative relationship between the amount of tissue spared and the improvement in locomotion recovery was greatest in a region several millimeters rostral to the injury epicenter.

CONCLUSIONS

These results indicate that x-irradiation in a region rostral to the injury epicenter is optimal for recovery from SCI. This minimal target should be attractive for therapeutic application since it allows a greatly reduced target volume so that uninjured tissue is not needlessly irradiated.

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Salvador Espinoza, Mehran Saboori, Scott Forman, Chitti R. Moorthy and Deborah L. Benzil

✓ Thyroid-related ophthalmopathy (TRO), a debilitating condition involving a range of visual and orbital symptoms, occurs in up to 40% of patients with Graves disease. The goals of treatment include correcting thyroid dysfunction, relieving ocular pain, preserving vision, and improving cosmetic appearance. Options for therapy include symptomatic treatment, glucocorticoid medication, radiation therapy, and surgery. Traditional radiation treatment uses small opposed bilateral fields consisting of retrobulbar volumes and customized blocks to shield periorbital structures. The combination of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and stereotactic technology facilitates the administration of radiation to patients suffering from TRO and provides greater safety and efficacy than traditional treatment. The authors present the case of a patient with severe TRO whose symptoms resolved rapidly after treatment with stereotactic IMRT. The outcome in this case supports stereotactic IMRT as an effective treatment option for patients with TRO who also undergo radiation therapy.

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Deborah L. Benzil, Mehran Saboori, Alon Y. Mogilner, Ronald Rocchio and Chitti R. Moorthy

Object. The extension of stereotactic radiosurgery treatment of tumors of the spine has the potential to benefit many patients. As in the early days of cranial stereotactic radiosurgery, however, dose-related efficacy and toxicity are not well understood. The authors report their initial experience with stereotactic radiosurgery of the spine with attention to dose, efficacy, and toxicity.

Methods. All patients who underwent stereotactic radiosurgery of the spine were treated using the Novalis unit at Westchester Medical Center between December 2001 and January 2004 are included in a database consisting of demographics on disease, dose, outcome, and complications. A total of 31 patients (12 men, 19 women; mean age 61 years, median age 63 years) received treatment for 35 tumors. Tumor types included 26 metastases (12 lung, nine breast, five other) and nine primary tumors (four intradural, five extradural). Thoracic tumors were most common (17 metastases and four primary) followed by lumbar tumors (four metastases and four primary). Lesions were treated to the 85 to 90% isodose line with spinal cord doses being less than 50%. The dose per fraction and total dose were selected on the basis of previous treatment (particularly radiation exposure), size of lesion, and proximity to critical structures.

Conclusions. Rapid and significant pain relief was achieved after stereotactic radiosurgery in 32 of 34 treated tumors. In patients treated for metastases, pain was relieved within 72 hours and remained reduced 3 months later. Pain relief was achieved with a single dose as low as 500 cGy. Spinal cord isodoses were less than 50% in all patients except those with intradural tumors (mean single dose to spinal cord 268 cGy and mean total dose to spinal cord 689 cGy). Two patients experienced transient radiculitis (both with a biological equivalent dose (BED) > 60 Gy). One patient who suffered multiple recurrences of a conus ependymoma had permanent neurological deterioration after initial improvement. Pathological evaluation of this lesion at surgery revealed radiation necrosis with some residual/recurrent tumor. No patient experienced other organ toxicity.

Stereotactic radiosurgery of the spine is safe at the doses used and provides effective pain relief. In this study, BEDs greater than 60 Gy were associated with an increased risk of radiculitis.

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Virany H. Hillard, Hong Peng, Kaushik Das, Raj Murali, Chitti R. Moorthy, Joseph D. Etlinger and Richard J. Zeman

Object

Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO), the nitroxide antioxidant tempol, and x-irradiation have been used to promote locomotor recovery in experimental models of spinal cord injury. The authors used x-irradiation of the injury site together with either HBO or tempol to determine whether combined therapy offers greater benefit to rats.

Methods

Contusion injury was produced with a weight-drop device in rats at the T-10 level, and recovery was determined using the 21-point Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan (BBB) locomotor scale. Locomotor function recovered progressively during the 6-week postinjury observation period and was significantly greater after x-irradiation (20 Gy) of the injury site or treatment with tempol (275 mg/kg intraperitoneally) than in untreated rats (final BBB Scores 10.6 [x-irradiation treated] and 9.1 [tempol treated] compared with 6.4 [untreated], p < 0.05). Recovery was not significantly improved by HBO (2 atm for 1 hour [BBB Score 8.2, p > 0.05]). Interestingly, the improved recovery of locomotor function after x-irradiation, in contrast with antiproliferative radiotherapy for neoplasia, was inhibited when used together with either HBO or tempol (BBB Scores 8.2 and 8.3, respectively). The ability of tempol to block enhanced locomotor recovery by x-irradiation was accompanied by prevention of alopecia at the irradiation site. The extent of locomotor recovery following treatment with tempol, HBO, and x-irradiation correlated with measurements of spared spinal cord tissue at the contusion epicenter.

Conclusions

These results suggest that these treatments, when used alone, can activate neuroprotective mechanisms but, in combination, may result in neurotoxicity.