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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-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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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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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, 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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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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Chia-An Wu, Huai-Che Yang, Yong-Sin Hu, Hsiu-Mei Wu, Chung-Jung Lin, Chao-Bao Luo, Wan-Yuo Guo, Cheng-Chia Lee, Kang-Du Liu, and Wen-Yuh Chung

OBJECTIVE

Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) obliterates 65%–87% of cavernous sinus dural arteriovenous fistulas (CSDAVFs). However, the hemodynamic effect on GKS outcomes is relatively unknown. The authors thus used the classification scheme developed by Suh et al. to explore this effect.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively (1993–2016) included 123 patients with CSDAVFs who received GKS alone at the institute and classified them as proliferative type (PT; n = 23), restrictive type (RT; n = 61), or late restrictive type (LRT; n = 39) after analyzing their pre-GKS angiography images. Treatment parameters, the presence of numerous arterial feeders, and venous drainage numbers were compared across the CSDAVF types. Patients’ follow-up MR images were evaluated for the presence of complete obliteration. A Kaplan-Meier analysis was conducted to determine the correlation between CSDAVF types and outcomes.

RESULTS

The 36-month probability of complete obliteration was 74.3% for all patients, with no significant differences across types (p = 0.56). PT had the largest radiation volume (6.5 cm3, p < 0.001), the most isocenters (5, p = 0.015) and venous drainage routes (3, p < 0.001), and the lowest peripheral dose (16.6 Gy, p = 0.011) and isodose level coverage (64.3%, p = 0.006). CSDAVFs presenting with ocular patterns were less likely to be completely obliterated (hazard ratio 0.531, p = 0.009). After adjustment for age, CSDAVFs with more venous drainage routes were less likely to be completely obliterated (hazard ratio 0.784, p = 0.039).

CONCLUSIONS

GKS is an equally effective treatment option for all 3 CSDAVF types. Furthermore, the number of venous drainage routes may help in predicting treatment outcomes and making therapeutic decisions.

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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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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.