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Peter C. Gerszten and Edward A. Monaco III

Object

Patients with symptomatic pathological compression fractures require spinal stabilization surgery for mechanical back pain control and radiation therapy for the underlying malignant process. Spinal radiosurgery provides excellent long-term radiographic control for vertebral metastases. Percutaneous cement augmentation using polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) may be contraindicated in lesions with spinal canal compromise due to the risk of displacement of tumor resulting in spinal cord or cauda equina injury. However, there is also significant morbidity associated with open corpectomy procedures in patients with metastatic cancer, especially in those who subsequently require adjuvant radiotherapy. This study evaluated a treatment paradigm for malignant vertebral compression fractures consisting of transpedicular coblation corpectomy combined with closed fracture reduction and fixation, followed by spinal radiosurgery.

Methods

Eleven patients (6 men and 5 women, mean age 58 years) with symptomatic vertebral body metastatic tumors associated with moderate spinal canal compromise were included in this study (8 thoracic levels, 3 lumbar levels). Primary histologies included 4 lung, 2 breast, 2 renal, and 1 each of thyroid, bladder, and hepatocellular carcinomas. All patients underwent percutaneous transpedicular coblation corpectomy immediately followed by balloon kyphoplasty through the same 8-gauge cannula under fluoroscopic guidance. Patients subsequently underwent radiosurgery to the affected vertebral body (mean time to treatment 14 days). Postoperatively, patients were assessed for pain reduction and neurological morbidity.

Results

There were no complications associated with any part of the procedure. Adequate cement augmentation within the vertebral body was achieved in all cases. The mean radiosurgical tumor dose was 19 Gy covering the entire vertebral body. The procedure provided long-term pain improvement and radiographic tumor control in all patients (follow-up range 7–44 months). No patient later required open surgery. No radiation-induced toxicity or new neurological deficit occurred during the follow-up period.

Conclusions

This treatment paradigm for pathological fractures of percutaneous transpedicular corpectomy combined with cement augmentation followed by radiosurgery was found to be safe and clinically effective. This technique combines minimally invasive procedures that avoid the morbidity associated with open surgery while providing spinal canal decompression and immediate fracture stabilization, and then administering a single-fraction tumoricidal radiation dose.

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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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Ramesh Grandhi, Douglas Kondziolka, David Panczykowski, Edward A. Monaco III, Hideyuki Kano, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

To better establish the role of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in treating patients with 10 or more intracranial metastases, the authors assessed clinical outcomes and identified prognostic factors associated with survival and tumor control in patients who underwent radiosurgery using the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion (LGK PFX) unit.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed data in all patients who had undergone LGK PFX surgery to treat 10 or more brain metastases in a single session at the University of Pittsburgh. Posttreatment imaging studies were used to assess tumor response, and patient records were reviewed for clinical follow-up data. All data were collected by a neurosurgeon who had not participated in patient care.

Results

Sixty-one patients with 10 or more brain metastases underwent SRS for the treatment of 806 tumors (mean 13.2 lesions). Seven patients (11.5%) had no previous therapy. Stereotactic radiosurgery was the sole prior treatment modality in 8 patients (13.1%), 22 (36.1%) underwent whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) only, and 16 (26.2%) had prior SRS and WBRT. The total treated tumor volume ranged from 0.14 to 40.21 cm3, and the median radiation dose to the tumor margin was 16 Gy. The median survival following SRS for 10 or more brain metastases was 4 months, with improved survival in patients with fewer than 14 brain metastases, a nonmelanomatous primary tumor, controlled systemic disease, a better Karnofsky Performance Scale score, and a lower recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) class. Prior cerebral treatment did not influence survival. The median survival for a patient with fewer than 14 brain metastases, a nonmelanomatous primary tumor, and controlled systemic disease was 21.0 months. Sustained local tumor control was achieved in 81% of patients. Prior WBRT predicted the development of new adverse radiation effects.

Conclusions

Stereotactic radiosurgery safely and effectively treats intracranial disease with a high rate of local control in patients with 10 or more brain metastases. In patients with fewer metastases, a nonmelanomatous primary lesion, controlled systemic disease, and a low RPA class, SRS may be most valuable. In selected patients, it can be considered as first-line treatment.

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Nathan T. Zwagerman, Michael M. McDowell, Ronald L. Hamilton, Edward A. Monaco III, John C. Flickinger and Peter C. Gerszten

OBJECTIVE

Increased survival time after diagnosis of neoplastic disease has resulted in a gradual increase in spine tumor incidence. Radiosurgery is frequently a viable alternative to operative management in a population with severe medical comorbidities. The authors sought to assess the histopathological consequences of radiosurgery in the subset of patients progressing to operative intervention.

METHODS

Eighteen patients who underwent radiosurgery for spine tumors between 2008 and 2014 subsequently progressed to surgical treatment. A histopathological examination of these cases was performed. Indications for surgery included symptomatic compression fractures, radiographic instability, and symptoms of cord or cauda equina compression. Biopsy samples were obtained from the tumor within the radiosurgical zone in all cases and were permanently fixated. Viable tumor samples were stained for Ki 67.

RESULTS

Fifteen patients had metastatic lesions and 3 patients had neurofibromas. The mean patient age was 57 years. The operative indication was symptomatic compression in 10 cases (67%). The most frequent metastatic lesions were breast cancer (4 cases), renal cell carcinoma (3), prostate cancer (2), and endometrial cancer (2). In 9 (60%) of the 15 metastatic cases, histological examination of the lesions showed minimal evidence of inflammation. Viable tumor at the margins of the radiosurgery was seen in 9 (60%) of the metastatic cases. Necrosis in the tumor bed was frequent, as was fibrotic bone marrow. Vascular ectasia was seen in 2 of 15 metastatic cases, but sclerosis with ectasia was frequent. No evidence of malignant conversion was seen in the periphery of the lesions in the 3 neurofibroma cases. In 1 case of neurofibroma, the lesion demonstrated some small areas of remnant tumor in the radiosurgical target zone.

CONCLUSIONS

This case series demonstrates important histopathological characteristics of spinal lesions treated by SRS. Regions with the highest exposure to radiation appear to be densely necrotic and show little evidence of tumor growth, whereas peripheral regions distant from the radiation dosage are more likely to demonstrate viable tumor in malignant and benign neoplasms. Physiological tissue appears to be similarly affected. With additional investigation, a more homogenized field of hypofractionated radiation exposure may allow for tumor obliteration with relative preservation of critical anatomical structures.

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Daniel A. Tonetti, Bradley A. Gross, Kyle M. Atcheson, Brian T. Jankowitz, Hideyuki Kano, Edward A. Monaco III, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The authors of this study found that, given the latency period required for arteriovenous malformation (AVM) obliteration after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), a study with limited follow-up cannot assess the benefit of SRS for unruptured AVMs.

METHODS

The authors reviewed their institutional experience with “ARUBA (A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations)–eligible” AVMs treated with SRS between 1987 and 2016, with the primary outcome defined as stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic) or death (AVM related or AVM unrelated). Patients with at least 3 years of follow-up in addition to those who experienced stroke or died during the latency period were included. Secondary outcome measures included obliteration rates, patients with new seizure disorders, and those with new focal deficits without stroke.

RESULTS

Of 233 patients included in this study, 32 had a stroke or died after SRS over the mean 8.4-year follow-up (14%). Utilizing the 10% stroke or death rate at a mean 2.8-year follow-up for untreated AVMs in ARUBA, the rate in the authors’ study is significantly lower than that anticipated at the 8.4-year follow-up for an untreated cohort (14% vs 30%, p = 0.0003). Notwithstanding obliteration, in this study, annualized rates of hemorrhage and stroke or death after 3 years following SRS were 0.4% and 0.8%, respectively. The overall obliteration rate was 72%; new seizure disorders, temporary new focal deficits without stroke, and permanent new focal deficits without stroke occurred in 2% of patients each.

CONCLUSIONS

After a sensible follow-up period exceeding the latency period, there is a lower rate of stroke/death for patients with treated, unruptured AVMs with SRS than for patients with untreated AVMs.

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Hilal A. Kanaan, Paul A. Gardner, Gabrielle Yeaney, Daniel M. Prevedello, Edward A. Monaco III, Geoffrey Murdoch, Ian F. Pollack and Amin B. Kassam

Olfactory schwannomas are rare tumors of the anterior skull base that are possibly derived from ectopic Schwann cells, perivascular neural tissue, or sensory nerves of the meninges. The authors report the case of a 14-year-old boy with an olfactory schwannoma that extended inferiorly through the cranial base and superiorly into the frontal lobe. Because of the growth characteristics of the tumor and the significant overlying frontal lobe edema, the lesion was approached via an endonasal endoscopic route, as a strategy to minimize brain retraction. This tumor was characterized radiographically as contrast-enhancing with cystic areas and erosion into bone. The tumor showed immunoreactivity for S100 protein and leukocyte antigen 7 (CD57) but not epithelial membrane antigen, supporting the diagnosis of olfactory schwannoma. A gross-total resection was achieved. This approach represents a novel application of endoscopic endonasal surgery to the pediatric neurosurgical context, as well as a favorable outcome in an extremely unusual tumor type, that should be applicable to other appropriately selected pediatric brain tumors.

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Peter C. Gerszten, Edward A. Monaco III, Mubina Quader, Josef Novotny Jr., Jong Oh Kim, John C. Flickinger and M. Saiful Huq

Object

Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) image guidance technology has been adopted for use in spine radiosurgery. There is concern regarding the ability to safely and accurately perform spine radiosurgery without the use of implanted fiducials for image guidance in postsurgical cases in which titanium instrumentation and/or methylmethacrylate (MMA) has been implanted. In this study the authors prospectively evaluated the accuracy of the patient setup for spine radiosurgery by using CBCT image guidance in the context of orthopedic hardware at the site of disease.

Methods

The positioning deviations of 31 single-fraction spine radiosurgery treatments in patients with spinal implants were prospectively evaluated using the Elekta Synergy S 6-MV linear accelerator with a beam modulator and CBCT image guidance combined with a robotic couch that allows positioning correction in 3 translational and 3 rotational directions. To measure patient movement, 3 quality-assurance CBCT studies were performed and recorded: before, halfway through, and after radiosurgical treatment. The positioning data and fused images of planning CTs and CBCTs from the treatments were analyzed to determine intrafractional patient movements. From each of 3 CBCTs, 3 translational and 3 rotational coordinates were obtained.

Results

The prescribed dose to the gross tumor volume for the cohort was 12–18 Gy (mean 14 Gy) utilizing 9–14 coplanar intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) beams (mean 10 beams). At the halfway point of the radiosurgery, the translational variations and standard deviations were 0.6 ± 0.6, 0.4 ± 0.4, and 0.5 ± 0.5 mm in the lateral (X), longitudinal (Y), and anteroposterior (Z) directions, respectively. The magnitude of the 3D vector (X,Y,Z) was 1.1 ± 0.7 mm. Similarly, the variations immediately after treatment were 0.5 ± 0.3, 0.4 ± 0.4, and 0.5 ± 0.6 mm along the X, Y, and Z directions, respectively. The 3D vector was 1.0 ± 0.6 mm. The mean rotational angles were 0.3 ± 0.4, 0.5 ± 0.6, and 0.3 ± 0.4° along yaw, roll, and pitch, respectively, at the halfway point and 0.3 ± 0.4, 0.6 ± 0.6, and 0.4 ± 0.5° immediately after treatment.

Conclusions

Cone beam CT image guidance used for patient setup for spine radiosurgery was highly accurate despite the presence of spinal instrumentation and/or MMA at the level of the target volume. The presence of such spinal implants does not preclude safe treatment via spine radiosurgery in these patients.

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Greg Bowden, Hideyuki Kano, Ellen Caparosa, Daniel Tonetti, Ajay Niranjan, Edward A. Monaco III, John Flickinger, Yoshio Arai and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECT

A visual field deficit resulting from the management of an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) significantly impacts a patient's quality of life. The present study was designed to investigate the clinical and radiological outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) performed for AVMs involving the postgeniculate visual pathway.

METHODS

In this retrospective single-institution analysis, the authors reviewed their experience with Gamma Knife surgery for postgeniculate visual pathway AVMs performed during the period between 1987 and 2009.

RESULTS

During the study interval, 171 patients underwent SRS for AVMs in this region. Forty-one patients (24%) had a visual deficit prior to SRS. The median target volume was 6.0 cm3 (range 0.4–22 cm3), and 19 Gy (range 14–25 Gy) was the median margin dose. Obliteration of the AVM was confirmed in 80 patients after a single SRS procedure at a median follow-up of 74 months (range 5–297 months). The actuarial rate of total obliteration was 67% at 4 years. Arteriovenous malformations with a volume < 5 cm3 had obliteration rates of 60% at 3 years and 79% at 4 years. The delivered margin dose proved significant given that 82% of patients receiving ≥ 22 Gy had complete obliteration. The AVM was completely obliterated in an additional 18 patients after they underwent repeat SRS. At a median of 25 months (range 11–107 months) after SRS, 9 patients developed new or worsened visual field deficits. One patient developed a complete homonymous hemianopia, and 8 patients developed quadrantanopias. The actuarial risk of sustaining a new visual deficit was 3% at 3 years, 5% at 5 years, and 8% at 10 years. Fifteen patients had hemorrhage during the latency period, resulting in death in 9 of the patients. The annual hemorrhage rate during the latency interval was 2%, and no hemorrhages occurred after confirmed obliteration.

CONCLUSIONS

Despite an overall treatment mortality of 5%, related to latency interval hemorrhage, SRS was associated with only a 5.6% risk of new visual deficit and a final obliteration rate close to 80% in patients with AVMs of the postgeniculate visual pathway.

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Marshall J. Huang, Hideyuki Kano, Seyed H. Mousavi, Ajay Niranjan, Edward A. Monaco III, Yoshio Arai, John C. Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this retrospective cohort study was to assess long-term outcomes in patients with vestibular schwannoma (VS) who underwent stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) after initial microsurgical resection.

METHODS

From the authors' database of 1770 patients with VS, the authors retrospectively analyzed data from 173 Gamma Knife SRS procedures for VS after 1 (128 procedures) or multiple (45 procedures) microsurgical resections. The median length of the interval between the last resection and SRS was 42 months (range 2–329 months). The median length of clinical follow-up was 74 months (range 6–285 months). Progression-free survival after SRS was determined with Kaplan-Meier analysis.

RESULTS

At the time of SRS, the hearing of 161 patients (93%) was Gardner-Robertson Class V, and 81 patients (47%) had facial neuropathy (i.e., facial function with House-Brackmann [HB] grades of III–VI), 87 (50%) had trigeminal neuropathy, and 71 (41%) reported imbalance or disequilibrium disorders. The median tumor volume was 2.7 cm3 (range 0.2–21.6 cm3), and the median dose to the tumor margin was 13 Gy (range 11–20 Gy). Radiosurgery controlled growth of 163 (94%) tumors. Progression-free survival after SRS was 97% at 3 years, 95% at 5 years, and 90% at 10 years. Four patients with delayed tumor progression underwent repeat SRS at a median of 35 months (range 23–64 months) after the first SRS. Four patients (2.3%) with tumor progression underwent repeat resection at a median of 25 months (range 19–33 months). Among the patients with any facial dysfunction (indicated by HB grades of II–VI), 19% had improvement in this condition after SRS, and 5.5% with some facial function (indicated by HB grades of I–V) developed more facial weakness. Among patients with trigeminal neuropathy, 20% had improvement in this condition, and 5.8% developed or had worsened trigeminal neuropathy after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

Stereotactic radiosurgery offered a safe and effective long-term management strategy for VS patients whose tumors remained or recurred after initial microsurgery.

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Hideyuki Kano, Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger, Kyung-Jae Park, Aditya Iyer, Huai-che Yang, Xiaomin Liu, Edward A. Monaco III, Ajay Niranjan and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

In this paper the authors' goal was to define the long-term benefits and risks of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for patients with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) who underwent prior embolization.

Methods

Between 1987 and 2006, the authors performed Gamma Knife surgery in 996 patients with brain AVMs; 120 patients underwent embolization followed by SRS. In this series, 64 patients (53%) had at least one prior hemorrhage. The median number of embolizations varied from 1 to 5. The median target volume was 6.6 cm3 (range 0.2–26.3 cm3). The median margin dose was 18 Gy (range 13.5–25 Gy).

Results

After embolization, 25 patients (21%) developed symptomatic neurological deficits. The overall rates of total obliteration documented by either angiography or MRI were 35%, 53%, 55%, and 59% at 3, 4, 5, and 10 years, respectively. Factors associated with a higher rate of AVM obliteration were smaller target volume, smaller maximum diameter, higher margin dose, timing of embolization during the most recent 10-year period (1997–2006), and lower Pollock-Flickinger score. Nine patients (8%) had a hemorrhage during the latency period, and 7 patients died of hemorrhage. The actuarial rates of AVM hemorrhage after SRS were 0.8%, 3.5%, 5.4%, 7.7%, and 7.7% at 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10 years, respectively. The overall annual hemorrhage rate was 2.7%. Factors associated with a higher risk of hemorrhage after SRS were a larger target volume and a larger number of prior hemorrhages. Permanent neurological deficits due to adverse radiation effects (AREs) developed in 3 patients (2.5%) after SRS, and 1 patient had delayed cyst formation 210 months after SRS. No patient died of AREs. A larger 12-Gy volume was associated with higher risk of symptomatic AREs. Using a case-control matched approach, the authors found that patients who underwent embolization prior to SRS had a lower rate of total obliteration (p = 0.028) than patients who had not undergone embolization.

Conclusions

In this 20-year experience, the authors found that prior embolization reduced the rate of total obliteration after SRS, and that the risks of hemorrhage during the latency period were not affected by prior embolization. For patients who underwent embolization to volumes smaller than 8 cm3, success was significantly improved. A margin dose of 18 Gy or more also improved success. In the future, the role of embolization after SRS should be explored.