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Mayur Sharma, Elizabeth E. Bennett, Gazanfar Rahmathulla, Samuel T. Chao, Hilary K. Koech, Stephanie N. Gregory, Todd Emch, Anthony Magnelli, Antonio Meola, John H. Suh and Lilyana Angelov

OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) of the spine is a conformal method of delivering a high radiation dose to a target in a single or few (usually ≤ 5) fractions with a sharp fall-off outside the target volume. Although efforts have been focused on evaluating spinal cord tolerance when treating spinal column metastases, no study has formally evaluated toxicity to the surrounding organs at risk (OAR), such as the brachial plexus or the oropharynx, when performing SRS in the cervicothoracic region. The aim of this study was to evaluate the radiation dosimetry and the acute and delayed toxicities of SRS on OAR in such patients.

METHODS

Fifty-six consecutive patients (60 procedures) with a cervicothoracic spine tumor involving segments within C5–T1 who were treated using single-fraction SRS between February 2006 and July 2014 were included in the study. Each patient underwent CT simulation and high-definition MRI before treatment. The clinical target volume and OAR were contoured on BrainScan and iPlan software after image fusion. Radiation toxicity was evaluated using the common toxicity criteria for adverse events and correlated to the radiation doses delivered to these regions. The incidence of vertebral body compression fracture (VCF) before and after SRS was evaluated also.

RESULTS

Metastatic lesions constituted the majority (n = 52 [93%]) of tumors treated with SRS. Each patient was treated with a median single prescription dose of 16 Gy to the target. The median percentage of tumor covered by SRS was 93% (maximum target dose 18.21 Gy). The brachial plexus received the highest mean maximum dose of 17 Gy, followed by the esophagus (13.8 Gy) and spinal cord (13 Gy). A total of 14 toxicities were encountered in 56 patients (25%) during the study period. Overall, 14% (n = 8) of the patients had Grade 1 toxicity, 9% (n = 5) had Grade 2 toxicity, 2% (n = 1) had Grade 3 toxicity, and none of the patients had Grade 4 or 5 toxicity. The most common (12%) toxicity was dysphagia/odynophagia, followed by axial spine pain flare or painful radiculopathy (9%). The maximum radiation dose to the brachial plexus showed a trend toward significance (p = 0.066) in patients with worsening post-SRS pain. De novo and progressive VCFs after SRS were noted in 3% (3 of 98) and 4% (4 of 98) of vertebral segments, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

From the analysis, the current SRS doses used at the Cleveland Clinic seem safe and well tolerated at the cervicothoracic junction. These preliminary data provide tolerance benchmarks for OAR in this region. Because the effect of dose-escalation SRS strategies aimed at improving local tumor control needs to be balanced carefully with associated treatment-related toxicity on adjacent OAR, larger prospective studies using such approaches are needed.

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Lilyana Angelov, Alireza M. Mohammadi, Elizabeth E. Bennett, Mahmoud Abbassy, Paul Elson, Samuel T. Chao, Joshua S. Montgomery, Ghaith Habboub, Michael A. Vogelbaum, John H. Suh, Erin S. Murphy, Manmeet S. Ahluwalia, Sean J. Nagel and Gene H. Barnett

OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is the primary modality for treating brain metastases. However, effective radiosurgical control of brain metastases ≥ 2 cm in maximum diameter remains challenging and is associated with suboptimal local control (LC) rates of 37%–62% and an increased risk of treatment-related toxicity. To enhance LC while limiting adverse effects (AEs) of radiation in these patients, a dose-dense treatment regimen using 2-staged SRS (2-SSRS) was used. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of this treatment strategy.

METHODS

Fifty-four patients (with 63 brain metastases ≥ 2 cm) treated with 2-SSRS were evaluated as part of an institutional review board–approved retrospective review. Volumetric measurements at first-stage stereotactic radiosurgery (first SSRS) and second-stage SRS (second SSRS) treatments and on follow-up imaging studies were determined. In addition to patient demographic data and tumor characteristics, the study evaluated 3 primary outcomes: 1) response at first follow-up MRI, 2) time to local progression (TTP), and 3) overall survival (OS) with 2-SSRS. Response was analyzed using methods for binary data, TTP was analyzed using competing-risks methods to account for patients who died without disease progression, and OS was analyzed using conventional time-to-event methods. When needed, analyses accounted for multiple lesions in the same patient.

RESULTS

Among 54 patients, 46 (85%) had 1 brain metastasis treated with 2-SSRS, 7 patients (13%) had 2 brain metastases concurrently treated with 2-SSRS, and 1 patient underwent 2-SSRS for 3 concurrent brain metastases ≥ 2 cm. The median age was 63 years (range 23–83 years), 23 patients (43%) had non–small cell lung cancer, and 14 patients (26%) had radioresistant tumors (renal or melanoma). The median doses at first and second SSRS were 15 Gy (range 12–18 Gy) and 15 Gy (range 12–15 Gy), respectively. The median duration between stages was 34 days, and median tumor volumes at the first and second SSRS were 10.5 cm3 (range 2.4–31.3 cm3) and 7.0 cm3 (range 1.0–29.7 cm3). Three-month follow-up imaging results were available for 43 lesions; the median volume was 4.0 cm3 (range 0.1–23.1 cm3). The median change in volume compared with baseline was a decrease of 54.9% (range −98.2% to 66.1%; p < 0.001). Overall, 9 lesions (14.3%) demonstrated local progression, with a median of 5.2 months (range 1.3–7.4 months), and 7 (11.1%) demonstrated AEs (6.4% Grade 1 and 2 toxicity; 4.8% Grade 3). The estimated cumulative incidence of local progression at 6 months was 12% ± 4%, corresponding to an LC rate of 88%. Shorter TTP was associated with greater tumor volume at baseline (p = 0.01) and smaller absolute (p = 0.006) and relative (p = 0.05) decreases in tumor volume from baseline to second SSRS. Estimated OS rates at 6 and 12 months were 65% ± 7% and 49% ± 8%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

2-SSRS is an effective treatment modality that resulted in significant reduction of brain metastases ≥ 2 cm, with excellent 3-month (95%) and 6-month (88%) LC rates and an overall AE rate of 11%. Prospective studies with larger cohorts and longer follow-up are necessary to assess the durability and toxicities of 2-SSRS.