In patients with chordomas the lesions often recur. Furthermore, the location of some chordomas within the base of the skull and the cervical spine can prevent complete resection from being achieved. Previous series have shown that stereotactic radiosurgery can be used as a treatment for residual chordomas with good overall results. The authors review their experience in using linear accelerator (LINAC) stereotactic radiosurgery to treat patients with recurrent and/or residual cranial base and cervical chordomas.
Ten patients with chordomas (eight with cranial base and two with cervical lesions [below C-2]) underwent LINAC stereotactic radiosurgery. The mean patient age was 49 years (range 30–73 years). There were seven men and three women. Three patients had undergone one prior surgery, five had undergone two previous surgeries, and two had undergone three prior operations. The mean radiation dose was 19.4 Gy (range 18–24 Gy), and the maximum intratumoral dose averaged 27 Gy (range 24.1–33.1 Gy). The mean secondary collimator size was 14.4 mm (range 7.5–20 mm). The volume of the tumor treated ranged from 1.1 to 21.5 ml. In five patients a standard frame-based LINAC radiosurgery system was used, whereas in the other five the CyberKnife, a frameless image-guided LINAC radiosurgical system, was used. All patients were available for follow-up review, which averaged 4 years (range 1–9 years). Over the course of follow up, one chordoma (10%) was smaller in size, seven were stable, and two chordomas progressed (one in a patient who underwent reoperation and a second course of stereotactic radiosurgery, and the second in a patient who underwent reoperation alone). There were no new neurological deficits noted following radiosurgery in the eight of 10 patients in whom there was no tumor progression, and no patient developed radiation-induced necrosis.
Stereotactic radiosurgery can be used to treat patients with recurrent or residual chordomas with excellent tumor control rates. Longer follow-up review in larger series is warranted to confirm these findings.