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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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Hideyuki Kano, John C. Flickinger, Aya Nakamura, Rachel C. Jacobs, Daniel A. Tonetti, Craig Lehocky, Kyung-Jae Park, Huai-che Yang, Ajay Niranjan, and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The management of large-volume arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) remains challenging. The authors retrospectively tested the hypothesis that AVM obliteration rates can be improved by increasing the percentage volume of an AVM that receives a minimal threshold dose of radiation.

METHODS

In 1992, the authors prospectively began to stage anatomical components in order to deliver higher single doses to AVMs > 15 cm3 in volume. Since that time 60 patients with large AVMs have undergone volume-staged SRS (VS-SRS). The median interval between the first stage and the second stage was 4.5 months (2.8–13.8 months). The median target volume was 11.6 cm3 (range 4.3–26 cm3) in the first-stage SRS and 10.6 cm3 (range 2.8–33.7 cm3) in the second-stage SRS. The median margin dose was 16 Gy (range 13–18 Gy) for both SRS stages.

RESULTS

AVM obliteration after the initial two staged volumetric SRS treatments was confirmed by MRI alone in 4 patients and by angiography in 11 patients at a median follow-up of 82 months (range 0.4–206 months) after VS-SRS. The post–VS-SRS obliteration rates on angiography were 4% at 3 years, 13% at 4 years, 23% at 5 years, and 27% at 10 years. In multivariate analysis, only ≥ 20-Gy volume coverage was significantly associated with higher total obliteration rates confirmed by angiography. When the margin dose is ≥ 17 Gy and the 20-Gy SRS volume included ≥ 63% of the total target volume, the angiographically confirmed obliteration rates increased to 61% at 5 years and 70% at 10 years.

CONCLUSIONS

The outcomes of prospective VS-SRS for large AVMs can be improved by prescribing an AVM margin dose of ≥ 17 Gy and adding additional isocenters so that ≥ 63% of the internal AVM dose receives more than 20 Gy.

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Huai-che Yang, Hideyuki Kano, Nasir Raza Awan, L. Dade Lunsford, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger, Josef Novotny Jr., Jagdish P. Bhatnagar, and Douglas Kondziolka

Object

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is an important management option for patients with small- and medium-sized vestibular schwannomas. To assess the potential role of SRS in larger tumors, the authors reviewed their recent experience.

Methods

Between 1994 and 2008, 65 patients with vestibular schwannomas between 3 and 4 cm in one extracanalicular maximum diameter (median tumor volume 9 ml) underwent Gamma Knife surgery. Seventeen patients (26%) had previously undergone resection.

Results

The median follow-up duration was 36 months (range 1–146 months). At the first planned imaging follow-up at 6 months, 5 tumors (8%) were slightly expanded, 53 (82%) were stable in size, and 7 (11%) were smaller. Two patients (3%) underwent resection within 6 months due to progressive symptoms. Two years later, with 63 tumors overall after the 2 post-SRS resections, 16 tumors (25%) had a volume reduction of more than 50%, 22 (35%) tumors had a volume reduction of 10–50%, 18 (29%) were stable in volume (volume change < 10%), and 7 (11%) had larger volumes (5 of the 7 patients underwent resection and 1 of the 7 underwent repeat SRS). Eighteen (82%) of 22 patients with serviceable hearing before SRS still had serviceable hearing after SRS more than 2 years later. Three patients (5%) developed symptomatic hydrocephalus and underwent placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. In 4 patients (6%) trigeminal sensory dysfunction developed, and in 1 patient (2%) mild facial weakness (House-Brackmann Grade II) developed after SRS. In univariate analysis, patients who had a previous resection (p = 0.010), those with a tumor volume exceeding 10 ml (p = 0.05), and those with Koos Grade 4 tumors (p = 0.02) had less likelihood of tumor control after SRS.

Conclusions

Although microsurgical resection remains the primary management choice in patients with low comorbidities, most vestibular schwannomas with a maximum diameter less than 4 cm and without significant mass effect can be managed satisfactorily with Gamma Knife radiosurgery.

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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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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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Cheng-Chia Lee, Hideyuki Kano, Huai-Che Yang, Zhiyuan Xu, Chun-Po Yen, Wen-Yuh Chung, David Hung-Chi Pan, L. Dade Lunsford, and Jason P. Sheehan

Object

Nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFAs) are the most common type of pituitary adenoma and, when symptomatic, typically require surgical removal as an initial means of management. Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is an alternative therapeutic strategy for patients whose comorbidities substantially increase the risks of resection. In this report, the authors evaluated the efficacy and safety of initial GKRS for NFAs.

Methods

An international group of three academic Gamma Knife centers retrospectively reviewed outcome data in 569 patients with NFAs.

Results

Forty-one patients (7.2%) underwent GKRS as primary management for their NFAs because of an advanced age, multiple comorbidities, or patient preference. The median age at the time of radiosurgery was 69 years. Thirty-seven percent of the patients had hypopituitarism before GKRS. Patients received a median tumor margin dose of 12 Gy (range 6.2–25.0 Gy) at a median isodose of 50%. The overall tumor control rate was 92.7%, and the actuarial tumor control rate was 94% and 85% at 5 and 10 years postradiosurgery, respectively. Three patients with tumor growth or symptom progression underwent resection at 3, 3, and 96 months after GKRS, respectively. New or worsened hypopituitarism developed in 10 patients (24%) at a median interval of 37 months after GKRS. One patient suffered new-onset cranial nerve palsy. No other radiosurgical complications were noted. Delayed hypopituitarism was observed more often in patients who had received a tumor margin dose > 18 Gy (p = 0.038) and a maximum dose > 36 Gy (p = 0.025).

Conclusions

In this study, GKRS resulted in long-term control of NFAs in 85% of patients at 10 years. This experience suggests that GKRS provides long-term tumor control with an acceptable risk profile. This approach may be especially valuable in older patients, those with multiple comorbidities, and those who have endocrine-inactive tumors without visual compromise due to mass effect of the adenoma.

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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 object of this study was to evaluate the outcomes and risks of repeat stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for incompletely obliterated cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

Methods

Between 1987 and 2006, Gamma Knife surgery was performed in 996 patients with AVMs. During this period, repeat SRS was performed in 105 patients who had incompletely obliterated AVMs at a median of 40.9 months after initial SRS (range 27.5–139 months). The median AVM target volume was 6.4 cm3 (range 0.2–26.3 cm3) at initial SRS but was reduced to 2.3 cm3 (range 0.1–18.2 cm3) at the time of the second procedure. The median margin dose at both initial SRS and repeat SRS was 18 Gy.

Results

The actuarial rate of total obliteration by angiography or MR imaging after repeat SRS was 35%, 68%, 77%, and 80% at 3, 4, 5, and 10 years, respectively. The median time to complete angiographic or MR imaging obliteration after repeat SRS was 39 months. Factors associated with a higher rate of AVM obliteration were smaller residual AVM target volume (p = 0.038) and a volume reduction of 50% or more after the initial procedure (p = 0.014). Seven patients (7%) had a hemorrhage in the interval between initial SRS and repeat SRS. Seventeen patients (16%) had hemorrhage after repeat SRS and 6 patients died. The cumulative actuarial rates of new AVM hemorrhage after repeat SRS were 1.9%, 8.1%, 10.1%, 10.1%, and 22.4% at 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10 years, respectively, which translate to annual hemorrhage rates of 4.05% and 1.79% of patients developing new post–repeat-SRS hemorrhages per year for Years 0–2 and 2–10 following repeat SRS. Factors associated with a higher risk of hemorrhage after repeat SRS were a greater number of prior hemorrhages (p = 0.008), larger AVM target volume at initial SRS (p = 0.010), larger target volume at repeat SRS (p = 0.002), initial AVM volume reduction less than 50% (p = 0.019), and a higher Pollock-Flickinger score (p = 0.010). Symptomatic adverse radiation effects developed in 5 patients (4.8%) after initial SRS and in 10 patients (9.5%) after repeat SRS. Prior embolization (p = 0.022) and a higher Spetzler-Martin grade (p = 0.004) were significantly associated with higher rates of adverse radiation effects after repeat SRS. Delayed cyst formation occurred in 5 patients (4.8%) at a median of 108 months after repeat SRS (range 47–184 months).

Conclusions

Repeat SRS for incompletely obliterated AVMs increases the eventual obliteration rate. Hemorrhage after obliteration did not occur in this series. The best results for patients with incompletely obliterated AVMs were seen in patients with a smaller residual nidus volume and no prior hemorrhages.

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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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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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Hideyuki Kano, John C. Flickinger, Huai-che Yang, Thomas J. Flannery, Daniel Tonetti, Ajay Niranjan, and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

The purpose of this study was to define the outcomes and risks of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for Spetzler-Martin (SM) Grade III arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

Methods

Between 1987 and 2009, SRS was performed in 474 patients with SM Grade III AVMs. The AVMs were categorized by scoring the size (S), drainage (D), and location (L): IIIa was a small AVM (S1D1L1, N = 282); IIIb was a medium/deep AVM (S2D1L0, N = 44); and IIIc was a medium/eloquent AVM (S2D0L1, N = 148). The median target volume was 3.8 ml (range 0.1–26.3 ml) and the margin dose was 20 Gy (range 13–25 Gy). Eighty-one patients (17%) underwent prior embolization, and 58 (12%) underwent prior resection.

Results

At a mean follow-up of 89 months, the total obliteration rates documented by angiography or MRI for all SM Grade III AVMs increased from 48% at 3 years to 69% at 4 years, 72% at 5 years, and 77% at 10 years. The SM Grade IIIa AVMs were more likely to obliterate than other subgroups. The cumulative rate of hemorrhage was 2.3% at 1 year, 4.4% at 2 years, 5.5% at 3 years, 6.4% at 5 years, and 9% at 10 years. The SM Grade IIIb AVMs had a significantly higher cumulative rate of hemorrhage. Symptomatic adverse radiation effects were detected in 6%.

Conclusions

Treatment with SRS was an effective and relatively safe management option for SM Grade III AVMs. Although patients with residual AVMs remained at risk for hemorrhage during the latency interval, the cumulative 10-year 9% hemorrhage risk in this series may represent a significant reduction compared with the expected natural history.