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Cheng-Chia Lee, David Hung-Chi Pan, Wen-Yuh Chung, Kang-Du Liu, Huai-Che Yang, Hsiu-Mei Wu, Wan-Yuo Guo, and Yang-Hsin Shih

Object

The authors retrospectively reviewed the efficacy and safety of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) in patients with brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs). The CMs had bled repeatedly and placed the patients at high risk with respect to surgical intervention.

Methods

Between 1993 and 2010, 49 patients with symptomatic CMs were treated by GKS. The mean age in these patients was 37.8 years, and the predominant sex was female (59.2%). All 49 patients experienced at least 2 instances of repeated bleeding before GKS; these hemorrhages caused neurological deficits including cranial nerve deficits, hemiparesis, hemisensory deficits, spasticity, chorea or athetosis, and consciousness disturbance.

Results

The mean size of the CMs at the time of GKS was 3.2 cm3 (range 0.1–14.6 cm3). The mean radiation dose directed to the lesion was 11 Gy with an isodose level at 60.0%. The mean clinical and imaging follow-up time was 40.6 months (range 1.0–150.7 months). Forty-five patients participated in regularly scheduled follow-up. Twenty-nine patients (59.2%) were followed up for > 2 years, and 16 (32.7%) were followed up for < 2 years. The pre-GKS annual hemorrhage rate was 31.3% (69 symptomatic hemorrhages during a total of 220.3 patient-years). After GKS, 3 episodes of symptomatic hemorrhage were observed within the first 2 years of follow-up (4.29% annual hemorrhage rate), and 3 episodes of symptomatic hemorrhage were observed after the first 2 years of follow-up (3.64% annual hemorrhage rate). In this study of 49 patients, symptomatic radiation-induced complications developed in only 2 patients (4.1%; cyst formation in 1 patient and perifocal edema with neurological deficits in the other patient). There were no deaths in this group.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife surgery is effective in reducing the rate of recurrent hemorrhage. In the authors' experience, it was possible to control bleeding using a low-dose treatment. In addition, there were few symptomatic radiation-induced complications. As a result, the authors believe that GKS is a good alternative treatment for brainstem CMs.

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Chih-Ying Huang, Syu-Jyun Peng, Hsiu-Mei Wu, Huai-Che Yang, Ching-Jen Chen, Mao-Che Wang, Yong-Sin Hu, Yu-Wei Chen, Chung-Jung Lin, Wan-Yuo Guo, David Hung-Chi Pan, Wen-Yuh Chung, and Cheng-Chia Lee

OBJECTIVE

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is a common treatment modality for vestibular schwannoma (VS). The ability to predict treatment response is important in patient counseling and decision-making. The authors developed an algorithm that can automatically segment and differentiate cystic and solid tumor components of VS. They also investigated associations between the quantified radiological features of each component and tumor response after GKRS.

METHODS

This is a retrospective study comprising 323 patients with VS treated with GKRS. After preprocessing and generation of pretreatment T2-weighted (T2W)/T1-weighted with contrast (T1WC) images, the authors segmented VSs into cystic and solid components by using fuzzy C-means clustering. Quantitative radiological features of the entire tumor and its cystic and solid components were extracted. Linear regression models were implemented to correlate clinical variables and radiological features with the specific growth rate (SGR) of VS after GKRS.

RESULTS

A multivariable linear regression model of radiological features of the entire tumor demonstrated that a higher tumor mean signal intensity (SI) on T2W/T1WC images (p < 0.001) was associated with a lower SGR after GKRS. Similarly, a multivariable linear regression model using radiological features of cystic and solid tumor components demonstrated that a higher solid component mean SI (p = 0.039) and a higher cystic component mean SI (p = 0.004) on T2W/T1WC images were associated with a lower SGR after GKRS. A larger cystic component proportion (p = 0.085) was associated with a trend toward a lower SGR after GKRS.

CONCLUSIONS

Radiological features of VSs on pretreatment MRI that were quantified using fuzzy C-means were associated with tumor response after GKRS. Tumors with a higher tumor mean SI, a higher solid component mean SI, and a higher cystic component mean SI on T2W/T1WC images were more likely to regress in volume after GKRS. Those with a larger cystic component proportion also trended toward regression after GKRS. Further refinement of the algorithm may allow direct prediction of tumor response.

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Chih-Ying Huang, Syu-Jyun Peng, Hsiu-Mei Wu, Huai-Che Yang, Ching-Jen Chen, Mao-Che Wang, Yong-Sin Hu, Yu-Wei Chen, Chung-Jung Lin, Wan-Yuo Guo, David Hung-Chi Pan, Wen-Yuh Chung, and Cheng-Chia Lee

OBJECTIVE

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is a common treatment modality for vestibular schwannoma (VS). The ability to predict treatment response is important in patient counseling and decision-making. The authors developed an algorithm that can automatically segment and differentiate cystic and solid tumor components of VS. They also investigated associations between the quantified radiological features of each component and tumor response after GKRS.

METHODS

This is a retrospective study comprising 323 patients with VS treated with GKRS. After preprocessing and generation of pretreatment T2-weighted (T2W)/T1-weighted with contrast (T1WC) images, the authors segmented VSs into cystic and solid components by using fuzzy C-means clustering. Quantitative radiological features of the entire tumor and its cystic and solid components were extracted. Linear regression models were implemented to correlate clinical variables and radiological features with the specific growth rate (SGR) of VS after GKRS.

RESULTS

A multivariable linear regression model of radiological features of the entire tumor demonstrated that a higher tumor mean signal intensity (SI) on T2W/T1WC images (p < 0.001) was associated with a lower SGR after GKRS. Similarly, a multivariable linear regression model using radiological features of cystic and solid tumor components demonstrated that a higher solid component mean SI (p = 0.039) and a higher cystic component mean SI (p = 0.004) on T2W/T1WC images were associated with a lower SGR after GKRS. A larger cystic component proportion (p = 0.085) was associated with a trend toward a lower SGR after GKRS.

CONCLUSIONS

Radiological features of VSs on pretreatment MRI that were quantified using fuzzy C-means were associated with tumor response after GKRS. Tumors with a higher tumor mean SI, a higher solid component mean SI, and a higher cystic component mean SI on T2W/T1WC images were more likely to regress in volume after GKRS. Those with a larger cystic component proportion also trended toward regression after GKRS. Further refinement of the algorithm may allow direct prediction of tumor response.

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Yi-Chieh Hung, Cheng-Chia Lee, Kang-Du Liu, Wen-Yuh Chung, David Hung-Chi Pan, and Huai-Che Yang

Object

The authors evaluated individual anatomical variations in the trigeminal nerves of patients with medically intractable trigeminal neuralgia and clarified the relationships among the variations, radiosurgical target locations, and the clinical outcomes after high-dose Gamma Knife surgery (GKS).

Methods

From 2006 through 2011, the authors conducted a retrospective review of 106 cases of primary or secondary trigeminal neuralgia consecutively treated with GKS targeting the dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) for which a maximal dose of 90 Gy and a 20% isodose line to the brainstem were used. A questionnaire was used to evaluate patients' pre- and post-GKS clinical conditions. To evaluate individual anatomical variations among trigeminal nerves, the authors used 3 parameters: the length of the trigeminal nerve in the cistern (nerve length), the length of the target between the radiation shot and the brainstem (targeting length), and the ratio between nerve length and targeting length (targeting ratio).

Results

The median length of the trigeminal nerves in the 106 patients was 9.6 mm (range 6.04−20.74 mm), the median targeting length was 3.8 mm (range 1.81−10.84 mm), and the median targeting ratio was 38% (range 13%− 80%). No statistically significant differences in pain relief and pain recurrence were detected among patients with these various nerve characteristics. However, radiation-induced facial hypesthesia correlated with nerve length and targeting ratio (p < 0.05) but not with absolute distance from the brainstem (targeting length).

Conclusions

In trigeminal neuralgia patients who received DREZ-targeted GKS, the rate of pain relief did not differ according to anatomical nerve variations. However, the frequency of facial hypesthesia was higher among patients in whom the nerve was longer (> 11 mm) or the targeting ratio was lower (< 36%). Adjusting the target according to the targeting ratio, especially for patients with longer nerves, can reduce facial hypesthesia and enable maintenance of effective pain control.

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Hideyuki Kano, L. Dade Lunsford, John C. Flickinger, Huai-che Yang, Thomas J. Flannery, Nasir R. Awan, Ajay Niranjan, Josef Novotny Jr., and Douglas Kondziolka

Object

The aim of this paper was to define the outcomes and risks of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for Spetzler-Martin Grade I and II arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

Methods

Between 1987 and 2006, the authors performed Gamma Knife surgery in 996 patients with brain AVMs, including 217 patients with AVMs classified as Spetzler-Martin Grade I or II. The median maximum diameter and target volumes were 1.9 cm (range 0.5–3.8 cm) and 2.3 cm3 (range 0.1–14.1 cm3), respectively. The median margin dose was 22 Gy (range 15–27 Gy).

Results

Arteriovenous malformation obliteration was confirmed by MR imaging in 148 patients and by angiography in 100 patients with a median follow-up of 64 months (range 6–247 months). The actuarial rates of total obliteration determined by angiography or MR imaging after 1 SRS procedure were 58%, 87%, 90%, and 93% at 3, 4, 5, and 10 years, respectively. The median time to complete MR imaging–determined obliteration was 30 months. Factors associated with higher AVM obliteration rates were smaller AVM target volume, smaller maximum diameter, and greater marginal dose. Thirteen patients (6%) suffered hemorrhages during the latency period, and 6 patients died. Cumulative rates of AVM hemorrhage 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10 years after SRS were 3.7%, 4.2%, 4.2%, 5.0%, and 6.1%, respectively. This corresponded to rates of annual bleeding risk of 3.7%, 0.3%, and 0.2% for Years 0–1, 1–5, and 5–10, respectively, after SRS. The presence of a coexisting aneurysm proximal to the AVM correlated with a significantly higher hemorrhage risk. Temporary symptomatic adverse radiation effects developed in 5 patients (2.3%) after SRS, and 2 patients (1%) developed delayed cysts.

Conclusions

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a gradually effective and relatively safe option for patients with smaller volume Spetzler-Martin Grade I or II AVMs who decline initial resection. Hemorrhage after obliteration did not occur in this series. Patients remain at risk for a bleeding event during the latency interval until obliteration occurs. Patients with aneurysms and an AVM warrant more aggressive surgical or endovascular treatment to reduce the risk of a hemorrhage in the latency period after SRS.

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Chih-Chun Wu, Wan-Yuo Guo, Wen-Yuh Chung, Hisu-Mei Wu, Chung-Jung Lin, Cheng-Chia Lee, Kang-Du Liu, and Huai-che Yang

OBJECTIVE

Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) is a promising treatment modality for patients with vestibular schwannomas (VSs), but a small percentage of patients have persistent postradiosurgical tumor growth. The aim of this study was to determine the clinical and quantitative MRI features of VS as predictors of long-term tumor control after GKS.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective study of all patients with VS treated with GKS using the Leksell Gamma Knife Unit between 2005 and 2013 at their institution. A total of 187 patients who had a minimum of 24 months of clinical and radiological assessment after radiosurgery were included in this study. Those who underwent a craniotomy with tumor removal before and after GKS were excluded. Study patients comprised 85 (45.5%) males and 102 (54.5%) females, with a median age of 52.2 years (range 20.4–82.3 years). Tumor volumes, enhancing patterns, and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values were measured by region of interest (ROI) analysis of the whole tumor by serial MRI before and after GKS.

RESULTS

The median follow-up period was 60.8 months (range 24–128.9 months), and the median treated tumor volume was 3.54 cm3 (0.1–16.2 cm3). At last follow-up, imaging studies indicated that 150 tumors (80.2%) showed decreased tumor volume, 20 (10.7%) had stabilized, and 17 (9.1%) continued to grow following radiosurgery. The postradiosurgical outcome was not significantly correlated with pretreatment volumes or postradiosurgical enhancing patterns. Tumors that showed regression within the initial 12 months following radiosurgery were more likely to have a larger volume reduction ratio at last follow-up than those that did not (volume reduction ratio 55% vs 23.6%, respectively; p < 0.001). Compared with solid VSs, cystic VSs were more likely to regress or stabilize in the initial postradiosurgical 6–12-month period and during extended follow-up. Cystic VSs exhibited a greater volume reduction ratio at last follow-up (cystic vs solid: 67.6% ± 24.1% vs 31.8% ± 51.9%; p < 0.001). The mean preradiosurgical maximum ADC (ADCmax) values of all VSs were significantly higher for those with tumor regression or stabilization at last follow-up compared with those with progression (2.391 vs 1.826 × 10−3 mm2/sec; p = 0.010).

CONCLUSIONS

Loss of central enhancement after radiosurgery was a common phenomenon, but it did not correlate with tumor volume outcome. Preradiosurgical MRI features including cystic components and ADCmax values can be helpful as predictors of treatment outcome.

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Hideyuki Kano, Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger, Huai-che Yang, Thomas J. Flannery, Nasir R. Awan, Ajay Niranjan, Josef Novotny Jr., and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

The authors conducted a study to define the long-term outcomes and risks of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for pediatric arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

Methods

Between 1987 and 2006, the authors performed Gamma Knife surgery in 996 patients with brain AVMs; 135 patients were younger than 18 years of age. The median maximum diameter and target volumes were 2.0 cm (range 0.6–5.2 cm) and 2.5 cm3 (range 0.1–17.5 cm3), respectively. The median margin dose was 20 Gy (range 15–25 Gy).

Results

The actuarial rates of total obliteration documented by angiography or MR imaging at 71.3 months (range 6–264 months) were 45%, 64%, 67%, and 72% at 3, 4, 5, and 10 years, respectively. The median time to complete angiographically documented obliteration was 48.9 months. Of 81 patients with 4 or more years of follow-up, 57 patients (70%) had total obliteration documented by angiography. Factors associated with a higher rate of documented AVM obliteration were smaller AVM target volume, smaller maximum diameter, and larger margin dose. In 8 patients (6%) a hemorrhage occurred during the latency interval, and 1 patient died. The rates of AVM hemorrhage after SRS were 0%, 1.6%, 2.4%, 5.5%, and 10.0% at 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10 years, respectively. The overall annual hemorrhage rate was 1.8%. Larger volume AVMs were associated with a significantly higher risk of hemorrhage after SRS. Permanent neurological deficits due to adverse radiation effects developed in 2 patients (1.5%) after SRS, and in 1 patient (0.7%) delayed cyst formation occurred.

Conclusions

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a gradually effective and relatively safe management option for pediatric patients in whom surgery is considered to pose excessive risks. Although hemorrhage after AVM obliteration did not occur in the present series, patients remain at risk during the latency interval until obliteration is complete. The best candidates for SRS are pediatric patients with smaller volume AVMs located in critical brain regions.

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Douglas Kondziolka, Kenneth Bernstein, Cheng-Chia Lee, Huai-Che Yang, Roman Liscak, Jaromir May, Roberto Martínez-Álvarez, Nuria Martínez-Moreno, Adomas Bunevicius, and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

Rathke’s cleft cysts (RCCs) are sellar collections from an incompletely regressed Rathke’s pouch. Common symptoms of RCCs can include headaches, visual loss, and endocrinopathy. Surgery is required in some cases of symptomatic or growing RCCs. Recurrence after surgery is common (range 10%–40%). Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has been used in an attempt to control growth and symptoms, but outcomes are not well known. The authors sought to study the outcomes of RCCs following Gamma Knife surgery for both salvage and initial treatment.

METHODS

The outcomes of 25 patients with RCCs who underwent SRS between 2001 and 2020 were reviewed. Four patients received initial SRS and 21 were treated with salvage SRS. Diagnosis was based on imaging or histopathology. Cyst control was defined as stability or regression of the cyst. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to determine time to recurrence and determine potential factors for recurrence.

RESULTS

The respective median clinical follow-up and margin dose were 6.5 years and 12 Gy. Overall control was achieved in 19 (76%) of 25 patients, and 4 recurrences required further intervention. The average time to recurrence was 35.6 months in those RCCs that recurred. Visual recovery occurred in 14 (93.3%) of 15 patients and no new post-SRS visual deficits occurred. The presence of a pretreatment visual deficit was often an indicator of RCC regrowth. All 3 patients with pretreatment hyperprolactinemia experienced resolution after SRS. New endocrinopathy related to SRS was noted in 5 (20%) of 25 patients, all of which were thyroid and/or cortisol axis related. Upfront SRS was used in 4 patients. No new endocrinopathies or visual deficits developed after upfront SRS, and the 1 patient with a pretreatment visual deficit recovered. One of the 4 patients with upfront SRS experienced a recurrence after 7.5 years.

CONCLUSIONS

SRS produced effective recovery of visual deficits and carries a low risk for new visual deficits. Cyst control was achieved in approximately three-fourths of the patients. Following SRS, patients without pretreatment visual deficits are less likely to have RCC regrowth. Endocrinopathy can occur after SRS, similar to other sellar mass lesions. Initial SRS shows the potential for long-term cyst control, with improvement of symptoms and a low risk for complications.

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Hideyuki Kano, Huai-che Yang, Douglas Kondziolka, Ajay Niranjan, Yoshio Arai, John C. Flickinger, and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

To evaluate the role of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in patients with recurrent or residual intracranial ependymomas after resection and fractionated radiation therapy (RT), the authors assessed overall survival, distant tumor relapse, progression-free survival (PFS), and complications.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 21 children with ependymomas who underwent SRS for 32 tumors. There were 17 boys and 4 girls with a median age of 6.9 years (range 2.9–17.2 years) in the patient population. All patients underwent resection of an ependymoma followed by cranial or neuraxis (if spinal metastases was confirmed) RT. Eleven patients had adjuvant chemotherapy. Twelve patients had low-grade ependymomas (17 tumors), and 9 patients had anaplastic ependymomas (15 tumors). The median radiosurgical target volume was 2.2 cm3 (range 0.1–21.4 cm3), and the median dose to the tumor margin was 15 Gy (range 9–22 Gy).

Results

Follow-up imaging demonstrated therapeutic control in 23 (72%) of 32 tumors at a mean follow-up period of 27.6 months (range 6.1–72.8 months). Progression-free survival after the initial SRS was 78.4%, 55.5%, and 41.6% at 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively. Factors associated with a longer PFS included patients without spinal metastases (p = 0.033) and tumor volumes < 2.2 cm3 (median tumor volume 2.2 cm3, p = 0.029). An interval ≥18 months between RT and SRS was also associated with longer survival (p = 0.035). The distant tumor relapse rate despite RT and SRS was 33.6%, 41.0%, and 80.3% at 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively. Factors associated with a higher rate of distant tumor relapse included patients who had spinal metastases before RT (p = 0.037), a fourth ventricle tumor location (p = 0.002), and an RT to SRS interval < 18 months (p = 0.015). The median survival after SRS was 27.6 months (95% CI 19.33–35.87 months). Overall survival after SRS was 85.2%, 53.2%, and 23.0% at 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively. Adverse radiation effects developed in 2 patients (9.5%).

Conclusions

Stereotactic radiosurgery offers an additional option beyond repeat surgery or RT in pediatric patients with residual or recurrent ependymomas after initial management. Patients with smaller-volume tumors and a later recurrence responded best to radiosurgery.

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Hideyuki Kano, Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger, Huai-che Yang, Thomas J. Flannery, Ajay Niranjan, Josef Novotny Jr., and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

In this paper, the authors' goal was to define the long-term outcomes and risks of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the medulla, pons, and midbrain.

Methods

Between 1987 and 2006, the authors performed Gamma Knife surgery in 996 patients with brain AVMs; 67 patients had AVMs in the brainstem. In this series, 51 patients (76%) had a prior hemorrhage. The median target volume was 1.4 cm3 (range 0.1–13.4 cm3). The median margin dose was 20 Gy (range 14–25.6 Gy).

Results

Obliteration of the AVMs was eventually documented in 35 patients at a median follow-up of 73 months (range 6–269 months). The actuarial rates of documentation of total obliteration were 41%, 70%, 70%, and 76% at 3, 4, 5, and 10 years, respectively. Higher rates of AVM obliteration were associated only with a higher margin dose. Four patients (6%) suffered a hemorrhage during the latency period, and 2 patients died. The rate of AVM hemorrhage after SRS was 3.0%, 3.0%, and 5.8% at 1, 5, and 10 years, respectively. The overall annual hemorrhage rate was 1.9%. Permanent neurological deficits due to adverse radiation effects (AREs) developed in 7 patients (10%) after SRS, and a delayed cyst developed in 2 patients (3%). One patient died at an outside institution with symptoms of AREs and unrecognized hydrocephalus. Higher 12-Gy volumes and higher Spetzler-Martin grades were associated with a higher risk of symptomatic AREs. Ten of 22 patients who had ocular dysfunction before SRS had improvement, 9 were unchanged, and 3 were worse due to AREs. Eight of 14 patients who had hemiparesis before SRS improved, 5 were unchanged, and 1 was worse.

Conclusions

Although hemorrhage after obliteration did not occur in this series, patients remained at risk during the latency interval until obliteration occurred. Thirty-eight percent of the patients who had neurological deficits due to prior hemorrhage improved. Higher dose delivery in association with conformal and highly selective SRS is required for safe and effective radiosurgery.