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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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Greg Bowden, Hideyuki Kano, Huai-che Yang, Ajay Niranjan, John Flickinger and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

The outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery for arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) within or adjacent to the ventricular system are largely unknown. This study assessed the long-term outcomes and hemorrhage risks for patients with AVMs within this region who underwent Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) at the University of Pittsburgh.

Methods

The authors retrospectively identified 188 patients with ventricular-region AVMs who underwent a single-stage GKS procedure during a 22-year interval. The median patient age was 32 years (range 3–80 years), the median target volume was 4.6 cm3 (range 0.1–22 cm3), and the median marginal dose was 20 Gy (range 13–27 Gy).

Results

Arteriovenous malformation obliteration was confirmed by MRI or angiography in 89 patients during a median follow-up of 65 months (range 2–265 months). The actuarial rates of total obliteration were 32% at 3 years, 55% at 4 years, 60% at 5 years, and 64% at 10 years. Higher rates of AVM obliteration were obtained in the 26 patients with intraventricular AVMs. Twenty-five patients (13%) sustained a hemorrhage during the initial latency interval after GKS, indicating an annual hemorrhage rate of 3.4% prior to AVM obliteration. No patient experienced a hemorrhage after AVM obliteration was confirmed by imaging. Permanent neurological deficits due to adverse radiation effects developed in 7 patients (4%).

Conclusions

Although patients in this study demonstrated an elevated hemorrhage risk that remained until complete obliteration, GKS still proved to be a generally safe and effective treatment for patients with these high-risk intraventricular and periventriclar AVMs.

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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, 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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Te Ming Lin, Huai Che Yang, Cheng Chia Lee, Hsiu Mei Wu, Yong Sin Hu, Chao Bao Luo, Wan Yuo Guo, Yi Hsuan Kao, Wen Yuh Chung and Chung Jung Lin

OBJECTIVE

Assessments of hemorrhage risk based on angioarchitecture have yielded inconsistent results, and quantitative hemodynamic studies have been limited to small numbers of patients. The authors examined whether cerebral hemodynamic analysis using quantitative digital subtraction angiography (QDSA) can outperform conventional DSA angioarchitecture analysis in evaluating the risk of hemorrhage associated with supratentorial arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

METHODS

A cross-sectional study was performed by retrospectively reviewing adult supratentorial AVM patients who had undergone both DSA and MRI studies between 2011 and 2017. Angioarchitecture characteristics, DSA parameters, age, sex, and nidus volume were analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression, and QDSA software analysis was performed on DSA images. Based on the QDSA analysis, a stasis index, defined as the inflow gradient divided by the absolute value of the outflow gradient, was determined. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to compare diagnostic performances of conventional DSA angioarchitecture analysis and analysis using hemodynamic parameters based on QDSA.

RESULTS

A total of 119 supratentorial AVM patients were included. After adjustment for age at diagnosis, sex, and nidus volume, the exclusive deep venous drainage (p < 0.01), observed through conventional angioarchitecture examination using DSA, and the stasis index of the most dominant drainage vein (p = 0.02), measured with QDSA hemodynamic analysis, were independent risk factors for hemorrhage. The areas under the ROC curves for the conventional DSA method (0.75) and QDSA hemodynamics analysis (0.73) were similar. A venous stasis index greater than 2.18 discriminated the hemorrhage group with a sensitivity of 52.6% and a specificity of 81.5%.

CONCLUSIONS

In QDSA, a higher stasis index of the most dominant drainage vein is an objective warning sign associated with supratentorial AVM rupture. Risk assessments of AVMs using QDSA and conventional DSA angioarchitecture were equivalent. Because QDSA is a complementary noninvasive approach without extra radiation or contrast media, comprehensive hemorrhagic risk assessment of cerebral AVMs should include both DSA angioarchitecture and QDSA analyses.

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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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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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Hideyuki Kano, Douglas Kondziolka, John C. Flickinger, Kyung-Jae Park, Aditya Iyer, Huai-che Yang, Xiaomin Liu, Edward A. Monaco III, Ajay Niranjan and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

In this paper the authors' goal was to define the long-term benefits and risks of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for patients with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) who underwent prior embolization.

Methods

Between 1987 and 2006, the authors performed Gamma Knife surgery in 996 patients with brain AVMs; 120 patients underwent embolization followed by SRS. In this series, 64 patients (53%) had at least one prior hemorrhage. The median number of embolizations varied from 1 to 5. The median target volume was 6.6 cm3 (range 0.2–26.3 cm3). The median margin dose was 18 Gy (range 13.5–25 Gy).

Results

After embolization, 25 patients (21%) developed symptomatic neurological deficits. The overall rates of total obliteration documented by either angiography or MRI were 35%, 53%, 55%, and 59% at 3, 4, 5, and 10 years, respectively. Factors associated with a higher rate of AVM obliteration were smaller target volume, smaller maximum diameter, higher margin dose, timing of embolization during the most recent 10-year period (1997–2006), and lower Pollock-Flickinger score. Nine patients (8%) had a hemorrhage during the latency period, and 7 patients died of hemorrhage. The actuarial rates of AVM hemorrhage after SRS were 0.8%, 3.5%, 5.4%, 7.7%, and 7.7% at 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10 years, respectively. The overall annual hemorrhage rate was 2.7%. Factors associated with a higher risk of hemorrhage after SRS were a larger target volume and a larger number of prior hemorrhages. Permanent neurological deficits due to adverse radiation effects (AREs) developed in 3 patients (2.5%) after SRS, and 1 patient had delayed cyst formation 210 months after SRS. No patient died of AREs. A larger 12-Gy volume was associated with higher risk of symptomatic AREs. Using a case-control matched approach, the authors found that patients who underwent embolization prior to SRS had a lower rate of total obliteration (p = 0.028) than patients who had not undergone embolization.

Conclusions

In this 20-year experience, the authors found that prior embolization reduced the rate of total obliteration after SRS, and that the risks of hemorrhage during the latency period were not affected by prior embolization. For patients who underwent embolization to volumes smaller than 8 cm3, success was significantly improved. A margin dose of 18 Gy or more also improved success. In the future, the role of embolization after SRS should be explored.

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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.