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Alim P. Mitha, Erin E. Murphy and Christopher S. Ogilvy

✓ In this report, the authors present the case of a patient with a unique type of spinal arteriovenous fistula. Both the location and venous angioarchitecture of this variant are uncommon, making diagnosis of the lesion challenging and raising particular management issues. The authors discuss this unusual lesion and describe its imaging features and surgical findings, as well as highlight its pathological abnormalities.

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Rupesh Kotecha, Lilyana Angelov, Gene H. Barnett, Chandana A. Reddy, John H. Suh, Erin S. Murphy, Gennady Neyman and Samuel T. Chao

Object

Traditionally, the treatment of choice for patients with metastases to the calvaria or skull base has been conventional radiation therapy. Because patients with systemic malignancies are also at risk for intracranial metastases, the utility of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for these patients has been explored to reduce excess radiation exposure to the perilesional brain parenchyma. The purpose of this study was to report the efficacy of GKS for the treatment of calvarial metastases and skull base lesions.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of 21 patients with at least 1 calvarial or skull base metastatic lesion treated with GKS during 2001–2013. For 7 calvarial lesions, a novel technique, in which a bolus was placed over the treatment site, was used. For determination of local control or disease progression, radiation therapy data were examined and posttreatment MR images and oncology records were reviewed. Survival times from the date of procedure were estimated by using Kaplan-Meier analyses.

Results

The median patient age at treatment was 57 years (range 29–84 years). A total of 19 (90%) patients received treatment for single lesions, 1 patient received treatment for 3 lesions, and 1 patient received treatment for 4 lesions. The most common primary tumor was breast cancer (24% of patients). Per lesion, the median clinical and radiographic follow-up times were 10.3 months (range 0–71.9 months) and 7.1 months (range 0–61.3 months), respectively. Of the 26 lesions analyzed, 14 (54%) were located in calvarial bones and 12 (46%) were located in the skull base. The median lesion volume was 5.3 cm3 (range 0.3–55.6 cm3), and the median prescription margin dose was 15 Gy (range 13–24 Gy). The median overall survival time for all patients was 35.9 months, and the 1-year local control rate was 88.9% (95% CI 74.4%–100%). Local control rates did not differ between lesions treated with the bolus technique and those treated with traditional methods or between calvarial lesions and skull base lesions (p > 0.05). Of the 3 patients for whom local treatment failed, 1 patient received no further treatment and 2 patients responded to salvage chemotherapy. Subsequent brain parenchymal metastases developed in 2 patients, who then underwent GKS.

Conclusions

GKS is an effective treatment modality for patients with metastases to the calvarial bones or skull base. For patients with superficial calvarial lesions, a novel approach with bolus application resulted in excellent rates of local control. GKS provides an effective therapeutic alternative to conventional radiation therapy and should be considered for patients at risk for calvarial metastases and brain parenchymal metastases.

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Grant W. Mallory, Grigoriy Arutyunyan, Meghan E. Murphy, Kathryn M. Van Abel, Elvis Francois, Nicholas M. Wetjen, Jeremy L. Fogelson, Erin K. O'Brien, Michelle J. Clarke, Laurence J. Eckel and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECT

Endoscopic approaches to the anterior craniocervical junction are increasing in frequency. Choice of oral versus endoscopic endonasal approach to the odontoid often depends on the relationship of the C1–2 complex to the hard palate. However, it is not known how this relevant anatomy changes with age. We hypothesize that there is a dynamic relationship of C-2 and the hard palate, which changes with age, and potentially affects the choice of surgical approach. The aim of this study was to characterize the relationship of C-2 relative to the hard palate with respect to age and sex.

METHODS

Emergency department billing and trauma records from 2008 to 2014 were reviewed for patients of all ages who underwent cervical or maxillofacial CT as part of a trauma evaluation for closed head injury. Patients who had a CT scan that allowed adequate visualization of the hard palate, opisthion, and upper cervical spine (C-1 and C-2) were included. Patients who had cervical or displaced facial/skull base fractures, a history of rheumatoid arthritis, or craniofacial anomalies were excluded. The distance from McGregor's palatooccipital line to the midpoint of the inferior endplate of C-2 (McL–C2) was measured on midsagittal CT scans. Patients were grouped by decile of age and by sex. A 1-way ANOVA was performed with each respective grouping.

RESULTS

Ultimately, 483 patients (29% female) were included. The mean age was 46 ± 24 years. The majority of patients studied were in the 2nd through 8th decades of life (85%). Significant variation was found between McL–C2 and decile of age (p < 0.001) and sex (p < 0.001). The mean McL–C2 was 27 mm in the 1st decade of life compared with the population mean of 37 mm. The mean McL–C2 was also noted to be smaller in females (mean difference 4.8 mm, p < 0.0001). Both decile of age (p = 0.0009) and sex (p < 0.0001) were independently correlated with McL–C2 on multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

The relationship of C-2 and the hard palate significantly varies with respect to age and sex, descending relative to the hard palate a full centimeter on average in adulthood. These findings may have relevance in determining optimal surgical approaches for addressing pathology involving the anterior craniocervical junction.

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Rupesh Kotecha, Camille A. Berriochoa, Erin S. Murphy, Andre G. Machado, Samuel T. Chao, John H. Suh and Kevin L. Stephans

Patients with implanted neuromodulation devices present potential challenges for radiation therapy treatment planning and delivery. Although guidelines exist regarding the irradiation of cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators, fewer data and less clinical experience exist regarding the effects of radiation therapy on less frequently used devices, such as deep brain stimulators. A 79-year-old woman with a history of coarse tremors effectively managed with deep brain stimulation presented with multiple intracranial metastases from a newly diagnosed lung cancer and was referred for whole-brain radiation therapy. She was treated with a German helmet technique to a total dose of 30 Gy in 10 fractions using 6 MV photons via opposed lateral fields with the neurostimulator turned off prior to delivery of each fraction. The patient tolerated the treatment well with no acute complications and no apparent change in the functionality of her neurostimulator device or effect on her underlying neuromuscular disorder.

This represents the first reported case of the safe delivery of whole-brain radiation therapy in a patient with an implanted neurostimulator device. In cases such as this, neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists should have discussions with patients about the risks of brain injury, device malfunction or failure of the device, and plans for rigorous testing of the device before and after radiation therapy.

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Alireza M. Mohammadi, Jason L. Schroeder, Lilyana Angelov, Samuel T. Chao, Erin S. Murphy, Jennifer S. Yu, Gennady Neyman, Xuefei Jia, John H. Suh, Gene H. Barnett and Michael A. Vogelbaum

OBJECTIVE

The impact of the stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) prescription dose (PD) on local progression and radiation necrosis for small (≤ 2 cm) brain metastases was evaluated.

METHODS

An institutional review board–approved retrospective review was performed on 896 patients with brain metastases ≤ 2 cm (3034 tumors) who were treated with 1229 SRS procedures between 2000 and 2012. Local progression and/or radiation necrosis were the primary end points. Each tumor was followed from the date of radiosurgery until one of the end points was reached or the last MRI follow-up. Various criteria were used to differentiate tumor progression and radiation necrosis, including the evaluation of serial MRIs, cerebral blood volume on perfusion MR, FDG-PET scans, and, in some cases, surgical pathology. The median radiographic follow-up per lesion was 6.2 months.

RESULTS

The median patient age was 56 years, and 56% of the patients were female. The most common primary pathology was non–small cell lung cancer (44%), followed by breast cancer (19%), renal cell carcinoma (14%), melanoma (11%), and small cell lung cancer (5%). The median tumor volume and median largest diameter were 0.16 cm3 and 0.8 cm, respectively. In total, 1018 lesions (34%) were larger than 1 cm in maximum diameter. The PD for 2410 tumors (80%) was 24 Gy, for 408 tumors (13%) it was 19 to 23 Gy, and for 216 tumors (7%) it was 15 to 18 Gy. In total, 87 patients (10%) had local progression of 104 tumors (3%), and 148 patients (17%) had at least radiographic evidence of radiation necrosis involving 199 tumors (7%; 4% were symptomatic). Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed for local progression and radiation necrosis. For local progression, tumors less than 1 cm (subhazard ratio [SHR] 2.32; p < 0.001), PD of 24 Gy (SHR 1.84; p = 0.01), and additional whole-brain radiation therapy (SHR 2.53; p = 0.001) were independently associated with better outcome. For the development of radiographic radiation necrosis, independent prognostic factors included size greater than 1 cm (SHR 2.13; p < 0.001), location in the corpus callosum (SHR 5.72; p < 0.001), and uncommon pathologies (SHR 1.65; p = 0.05). Size (SHR 4.78; p < 0.001) and location (SHR 7.62; p < 0.001)—but not uncommon pathologies—were independent prognostic factors for the subgroup with symptomatic radiation necrosis.

CONCLUSIONS

A PD of 24 Gy results in significantly better local control of metastases measuring < 2 cm than lower doses. In addition, tumor size is an independent prognostic factor for both local progression and radiation necrosis. Some tumor pathologies and locations may also contribute to an increased risk of radiation necrosis.

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Erin S. Murphy, Gene H. Barnett, Michael A. Vogelbaum, Gennady Neyman, Glen H. J. Stevens, Bruce H. Cohen, Paul Elson, Andrew D. Vassil and John H. Suh

Object

The authors sought to determine the long-term tumor control and side effects of Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) in patients with vestibular schwannomas (VS).

Methods

One hundred seventeen patients with VS underwent GKRS between January 1997 and February 2003. At the time of analysis, at least 5 years had passed since GKRS in all patients. The mean patient age was 60.9 years. The mean maximal tumor diameter was 1.77 ± 0.71 cm. The mean tumor volume was 1.95 ± 2.42 ml. Eighty-two percent of lesions received 1300 cGy and 14% received 1200 cGy. The median dose homogeneity ratio was 1.97 and the median dose conformality ratio was 1.78. Follow-up included MR imaging or CT scanning approximately every 6–12 months. Rates of progression to surgery were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method.

Results

Of the 117 patients in whom data were analyzed, 103 had follow-up MR or CT images and 14 patients were lost to follow-up. Fifty-three percent of patients had stable tumors and 37.9% had a radiographically documented response. Imaging-documented tumor progression was present in 8 patients (7.8%), but in 3 of these the lesion eventually stabilized. Only 5 patients required a neurosurgical intervention. The estimated 1-, 3-, and 5-year rates of progression to surgery were 1, 4.6, and 8.9%, respectively. One patient (1%) developed trigeminal neuropathy, 4 patients (5%) developed permanent facial neuropathy, 3 patients (4%) reported vertigo, and 7 patients (18%) had new gait imbalance following GKRS.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife radiosurgery results in excellent local control rates with minimal toxicity for patients with VS. The authors recommend standardized follow-up to gain a better understanding of the long-term effects of GKRS.

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Mayur Sharma, Jason L. Schroeder, Paul Elson, Antonio Meola, Gene H. Barnett, Michael A. Vogelbaum, John H. Suh, Samuel T. Chao, Alireza M. Mohammadi, Glen H. J. Stevens, Erin S. Murphy and Lilyana Angelov

OBJECTIVE

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most malignant form of astrocytoma. The average survival is 6–10 months in patients with recurrent GBM (rGBM). In this study, the authors evaluated the role of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in patients with rGBMs.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of their brain tumor database (1997–2016). Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) after salvage SRS were the primary endpoints evaluated. Response to SRS was assessed using volumetric MR images.

RESULTS

Fifty-three patients with rGBM underwent salvage SRS targeting 75 lesions. The median tumor diameter and volume were 2.55 cm and 3.80 cm3, respectively. The median prescription dose was 18 Gy (range 12–24 Gy) and the homogeneity index was 1.90 (range 1.11–2.02). The median OS after salvage SRS was estimated to be 11.0 months (95% CI 7.1–12.2) and the median PFS after salvage SRS was 4.4 months (95% CI 3.7–5.0). A Karnofsky Performance Scale score ≥ 80 was independently associated with longer OS, while small tumor volume (< 15 cm3) and less homogeneous treatment plans (homogeneity index > 1.75) were both independently associated with longer OS (p = 0.007 and 0.03) and PFS (p = 0.01 and 0.002, respectively). Based on these factors, 2 prognostic groups were identified for PFS (5.4 vs 3.2 months), while 3 were identified for OS (median OS of 15.2 vs 10.5 vs 5.2 months).

CONCLUSIONS

SRS is associated with longer OS and/or PFS in patients with good performance status, small-volume tumor recurrences, and heterogeneous treatment plans. The authors propose a prognostic model to identify a cohort of rGBM patients who may benefit from SRS.

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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.

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Rupesh Kotecha, Jacob A. Miller, Vyshak A. Venur, Alireza M. Mohammadi, Samuel T. Chao, John H. Suh, Gene H. Barnett, Erin S. Murphy, Pauline Funchain, Jennifer S. Yu, Michael A. Vogelbaum, Lilyana Angelov and Manmeet S. Ahluwalia

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to investigate the impact of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), BRAF status, and targeted and immune-based therapies on the recurrence patterns and factors associated with overall survival (OS) among patients with melanoma brain metastasis (MBM).

METHODS

A total of 366 patients were treated for 1336 MBMs; a lesion-based analysis was performed on 793 SRS lesions. The BRAF status was available for 78 patients: 35 had BRAF mut and 43 had BRAF wild-type (BRAF-WT) lesions. The Kaplan-Meier method evaluated unadjusted OS; cumulative incidence analysis determined the incidences of local failure (LF), distant failure, and radiation necrosis (RN), with death as a competing risk.

RESULTS

The 12-month OS was 24% (95% CI 20%–29%). On multivariate analysis, younger age, lack of extracranial metastases, better Karnofsky Performance Status score, and fewer MBMs, as well as treatment with BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi), anti–PD-1/CTLA-4 therapy, or cytokine therapy were significantly associated with OS. For patients who underwent SRS, the 12-month LF rate was lower among those with BRAF mut lesions (6%, 95% CI 2%–11%) compared with those with BRAF-WT lesions (22%, 95% CI 13%–32%; p < 0.01). The 12-month LF rates among lesions treated with BRAFi and PD-1/CTLA-4 agents were 1% (95% CI 1%–4%) and 7% (95% CI 1%–13%), respectively. On multivariate analysis, BRAF inhibition within 30 days of SRS was protective against LF (HR 0.08, 95% CI 0.01–0.55; p = 0.01). The 12-month rates of RN were low among lesions treated with BRAFi (0%, 95% CI 0%–0%), PD-1/CTLA-4 inhibitors (2%, 95% CI 1%–5%), and cytokine therapies (6%, 95% CI 1%–13%).

CONCLUSIONS

Prognostic schema should incorporate BRAFi or immunotherapy status and use of targeted therapies. Treatment with a BRAF inhibitor within 4 weeks of SRS improves local control without an increased risk of RN.

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Aditya Juloori, Jacob A. Miller, Shireen Parsai, Rupesh Kotecha, Manmeet S. Ahluwalia, Alireza M. Mohammadi, Erin S. Murphy, John H. Suh, Gene H. Barnett, Jennifer S. Yu, Michael A. Vogelbaum, Brian Rini, Jorge Garcia, Glen H. Stevens, Lilyana Angelov and Samuel T. Chao

OBJECTIVE

The object of this retrospective study was to investigate the impact of targeted therapies on overall survival (OS), distant intracranial failure, local failure, and radiation necrosis among patients treated with radiation therapy for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) metastases to the brain.

METHODS

All patients diagnosed with RCC brain metastasis (BM) between 1998 and 2015 at a single institution were included in this study. The primary outcome was OS, and secondary outcomes included local failure, distant intracranial failure, and radiation necrosis. The timing of targeted therapies was recorded. Multivariate Cox proportional-hazards regression was used to model OS, while multivariate competing-risks regression was used to model local failure, distant intracranial failure, and radiation necrosis, with death as a competing risk.

RESULTS

Three hundred seventy-six patients presented with 912 RCC BMs. Median OS was 9.7 months. Consistent with the previously validated diagnosis-specific graded prognostic assessment (DS-GPA) for RCC BM, Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) and number of BMs were the only factors prognostic for OS. One hundred forty-seven patients (39%) received vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Median OS was significantly greater among patients receiving TKIs (16.8 vs 7.3 months, p < 0.001). Following multivariate analysis, KPS, number of metastases, and TKI use remained significantly associated with OS.

The crude incidence of local failure was 14.9%, with a 12-month cumulative incidence of 13.4%. TKIs did not significantly decrease the 12-month cumulative incidence of local failure (11.4% vs 14.5%, p = 0.11). Following multivariate analysis, age, number of BMs, and lesion size remained associated with local failure. The 12-month cumulative incidence of radiation necrosis was 8.0%. Use of TKIs within 30 days of SRS was associated with a significantly increased 12-month cumulative incidence of radiation necrosis (10.9% vs 6.4%, p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

Use of targeted therapies in patients with RCC BM treated with intracranial SRS was associated with improved OS. However, the use of TKIs within 30 days of SRS increases the rate of radiation necrosis without improving local control or reducing distant intracranial failure. Prospective studies are warranted to determine the optimal timing to reduce the rate of necrosis without detracting from survival.