✓ Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) is a rare condition in which patients present with intractable deep throat pain. Similar to trigeminal neuralgia (TN), treatment with microvascular decompression (MVD) has been successful in both. Because gamma knife surgery (GKS) has also been shown to be effective in treating TN, it seemed reasonable to apply it to GPN. The authors present the first report of GKS-treated GPN in a patient who presented with severe, poorly controlled GPN and who refused MVD.
Volker W. Stieber, J. Daniel Bourland, and Thomas L. Ellis
William J. Triffo, J. Daniel Bourland, Daniel E. Couture, Kevin P. McMullen, Stephen B. Tatter, and Padraig P. Morris
Vein of Galen aneurysmal malformations (VGAMs) are uncommon congenital malformations arising from fistulous communication with the median vein of the prosencephalon, a primitive precursor of midline cerebral venous structures. Angiographic embolization is the primary modality for treatment given historically poor microsurgical outcomes. Only a few reports of treatment by Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) exist in the literature, and the results are variable. The authors present 2 cases of VGAM in which GKRS provided definitive treatment with good outcome: one case involving antenatal presentation of a high-output, mural-type VGAM with complex clinical course refractory to multiple embolic procedures, and the other a choroidal-type VGAM presenting with hemorrhage in an adult and without a feasible embolic approach. With discussion of these cases and review of the literature, the authors advocate inclusion of GKRS as a therapeutic option for treatment of these complex lesions.
D. Clay Cochran, Michael D. Chan, Mebea Aklilu, James F. Lovato, Natalie K. Alphonse, J. Daniel Bourland, James J. Urbanic, Kevin P. McMullen, Edward G. Shaw, Stephen B. Tatter, and Thomas L. Ellis
Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) has been reported as an effective modality for treating brain metastases from renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The authors aimed to determine if targeted agents such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors, mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors, and bevacizumab affect the patterns of failure of RCC after GKS.
Between 1999 and 2010, 61 patients with brain metastases from RCC were treated with GKS. A median dose of 20 Gy (range 13–24 Gy) was prescribed to the margin of each metastasis. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to determine local control, distant failure, and overall survival rates. Cox proportional hazard regression was performed to determine the association between disease-related factors and survival.
Overall survival at 1, 2, and 3 years was 38%, 17%, and 9%, respectively. Freedom from local failure at 1, 2, and 3 years was 74%, 61%, and 40%, respectively. The distant failure rate at 1, 2, and 3 years was 51%, 79%, and 89%, respectively. Twenty-seven percent of patients died of neurological disease. The median survival for patients receiving targeted agents (n = 24) was 16.6 months compared with 7.2 months (n = 37) for those not receiving targeted therapy (p = 0.04). Freedom from local failure at 1 year was 93% versus 60% for patients receiving and those not receiving targeted agents, respectively (p = 0.01). Multivariate analysis showed that the use of targeted agents (hazard ratio 3.02, p = 0.003) was the only factor that predicted for improved survival. Two patients experienced post-GKS hemorrhage within the treated volume.
Targeted agents appear to improve local control and overall survival in patients treated with GKS for metastastic RCC.
Elizabeth N. Kuhn, Glen B. Taksler, Orrin Dayton, Amritraj G. Loganathan, Tamara Z. Vern-Gross, J. Daniel Bourland, Adrian W. Laxton, Michael D. Chan, and Stephen B. Tatter
The purpose of this study was to evaluate patterns of failure after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for meningiomas and factors that may influence these outcomes.
Based on a retrospective chart review, 279 patients were treated with SRS for meningiomas between January 1999 and March 2011 at Wake Forest Baptist Health. Disease progression was determined using serial imaging, with a minimum follow-up of 6 months (median 34.2 months).
The median margin dose was 12.0 Gy (range 8.8–20 Gy). Local control rates for WHO Grade I tumors were 96.6%, 84.4%, and 75.7% at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively. WHO Grade II and III tumors had local control rates of 72.3%, 57.7%, and 52.9% at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively. Tumors without pathological grading had local control rates of 98.7%, 97.6%, and 94.2% at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively. Of the local recurrences, 63.1% were classified as marginal (within 2 cm of treatment field). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year rates of distant failure were 6.5%, 10.3%, and 16.6%, respectively, for Grade I tumors and 11.4%, 17.2%, and 22.4%, respectively, for Grade II/III tumors. Tumors without pathological grading had distant failure rates of 0.7%, 3.2%, and 6.5% at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively. Wilcoxon analysis revealed that multifocal disease (p < 0.001) and high-grade histology (WHO Grade II or III; p < 0.001) were significant predictors of local recurrence. Additionally, male sex was a significant predictor of distant recurrence (p = 0.04). Multivariate analysis also showed that doses greater than or equal to 12 Gy were associated with improved local control (p = 0.015).
In this patient series, 12 Gy was the minimum sufficient margin dose for the treatment of meningiomas. Male sex is a risk factor for distant failure, whereas high-grade histology and multifocal disease are risk factors for local failure.
Corbin A. Helis, Ryan T. Hughes, Michael T. Munley, J. Daniel Bourland, Travis Jacobson, John T. Lucas Jr., Christina K. Cramer, Stephen B. Tatter, Adrian W. Laxton, and Michael D. Chan
Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is a commonly used procedure for medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN), with repeat GKRS routinely done in cases of pain relapse. The results of a third GKRS in cases of further pain relapse have not been well described. In this study, the authors report the largest series of patients treated with a third GKRS for TN to date.
Retrospective review of institutional electronic medical records and a GKRS database was performed to identify patients who had been treated with a third GKRS at the authors’ institution in the period from 2010 to 2018. Telephone interviews were used to collect long-term follow-up data. Pain outcomes were measured using the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity scale, with a score ≤ IIIb indicating successful treatment.
Twenty-two nerves in 21 patients had sufficient follow-up to determine BNI pain score outcomes. Eighteen of 22 cases had a successful third GKRS, with a median durability of pain relief of 3.88 years. There was no significant difference in the durability of pain relief after a third GKRS compared with those of institutional historical controls of prior series of first and second GKRS procedures. Ten cases had new or worsening facial numbness, with 1 case being bothersome. Four cases of toxicity other than facial numbness were reported, including 1 case of corneal abrasions and possible neurotrophic keratopathy. No cases of anesthesia dolorosa were reported. No factors predicting treatment success or the durability of pain relief were identified. Nonnumbness toxicity was more common in those with a proximally placed shot at the third GKRS.
A third GKRS is an effective treatment option for TN patients who have pain relapse after repeat GKRS. Pain outcomes of a third GKRS are similar to those following a first or second GKRS. Toxicity is tolerable in patients with a distally placed shot at the third GKRS.
Corbin A. Helis, Emory McTyre, Michael T. Munley, J. Daniel Bourland, John T. Lucas Jr., Christina K. Cramer, Stephen B. Tatter, Adrian W. Laxton, and Michael D. Chan
A small subset of patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) will experience bilateral symptoms. Treatment in these patients is controversial because the population is heterogeneous and patients may have nonvascular etiologies of their pain. This study reports treatment outcomes in the largest cohort of patients with bilateral TN who have undergone Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) to date.
A retrospective chart review identified 51 individual nerves in 34 patients with bilateral TN who were treated with GKRS at the authors’ institution between 2001 and 2015, with 12 nerves in 11 patients undergoing repeat GKRS for recurrent or persistent symptoms. Long-term follow-up was obtained by telephone interview. Pain outcomes were measured using the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain scale, with BNI IIIb or better considered a successful treatment.
There was sufficient follow-up to determine treatment outcomes for 48 individual nerves in 33 patients. Of these nerves, 42 (88%) achieved at least BNI IIIb pain relief. The median duration of pain relief was 1.9 years, and 1-, 3-, and 5-year pain relief rates were 64%, 44%, and 44%, respectively. No patients experienced bothersome facial numbness, and 1 case of anesthesia dolorosa and 2 cases of corneal dryness were reported. Patients with a history of definite or possible multiple sclerosis were significantly more likely to experience BNI IV–V relapse. There was no statistically significant difference in treatment outcomes between patients in this series versus a large cohort of patients with unilateral TN treated at the authors’ institution. There was sufficient follow-up to determine treatment outcomes for 11 individual nerves in 10 patients treated with repeat GKRS. Ten nerves (91%) improved to at least BNI IIIb after treatment. The median duration of pain relief was 2.8 years, with 1-, 3-, and 5-year rates of pain relief of 79%, 53%, and 53%, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference in outcomes between initial and repeat GKRS. One case of bothersome facial numbness and 1 case of corneal dryness were reported, with no patients developing anesthesia dolorosa with retreatment.
GKRS is a safe, well-tolerated treatment for patients with medically refractory bilateral TN. Efficacy of treatment appears similar to that in patients with unilateral TN. GKRS can be safely repeated in this population if necessary.
Christopher J. Balamucki, Volker W. Stieber, Thomas L. Ellis, Stephen B. Tatter, Allan F. DeGuzman, Kevin P. McMullen, James Lovato, Edward G. Shaw, Kenneth E. Ekstrand, J. Daniel Bourland, Michael T. Munley, Michael Robbins, and Charles Branch
Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) is a treatment option for patients with refractory typical trigeminal neuralgia (TN), TN with atypical features, and atypical types of facial pain. The Gamma Knife’s 201 60Co sources decay with a half-life of 5.26 years. The authors examined whether the decrease in dose rate over 4.6 years between Co source replacements affected the control rates of facial pain in patients undergoing GKS.
The authors collected complete follow-up data on 239 of 326 GKS procedures performed in patients with facial pain. Patients were classified by their type of pain. The isocenter of a 4-mm collimator helmet was targeted at the proximal trigeminal nerve root, and the dose (80–90 Gy) was prescribed at the 100% isodose line. Patients reported the amount of pain control following radiosurgery by answering a standardized questionnaire.
Eighty percent of patients experienced greater than 50% pain relief, and 56% of patients experienced complete pain relief after GKS. Neither dose rate nor treatment time was significantly associated with either the control rate or degree of pain relief. A significant association between the type of facial pain and the pain control rate after GKS was observed (p < 0.001; Pearson chi-square test).
In their statistical analysis, the authors accounted for changes in prescription dose over time to prevent the dose rate from being a confounding variable. There was no observable effect of the dose rate or of the treatment duration within the typical period to source replacement.
Patients with facial pain appear to receive consistent treatment with GKS at any time during the first half-life of the Co sources.
Courtney A. Jensen, Michael D. Chan, Thomas P. McCoy, J. Daniel Bourland, Allan F. deGuzman, Thomas L. Ellis, Kenneth E. Ekstrand, Kevin P. McMullen, Michael T. Munley, Edward G. Shaw, James J. Urbanic, and Stephen B. Tatter
As a strategy to delay or avoid whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) after resection of a brain metastasis, the authors used high-resolution MR imaging and cavity-directed radiosurgery for the detection and treatment of further metastases.
Between April 2001 and October 2009, 112 resection cavities in 106 patients with no prior WBRT were treated using radiosurgery directed to the tumor cavity and for any synchronous brain metastases detected on high-resolution MR imaging at the time of radiosurgical planning. A median dose of 17 Gy to the 50% isodose line was prescribed to the gross tumor volume, defined as the rim of enhancement around the resection cavity. Patients were followed up via serial imaging, and new brain metastases were generally treated using additional radiosurgery, with salvage WBRT typically reserved for local treatment failure at a resection cavity, numerous failures, or failures occurring at short time intervals. Local and distant treatment failures were determined based on imaging results. Kaplan-Meier curves were generated to estimate local and distant treatment failure rates, overall survival, neurological cause–specific survival, and time delay to salvage WBRT.
Radiosurgery was delivered to the resection cavity alone in 57.5% of patients, whereas 24.5% of patients also received treatment for 1 synchronous metastasis, 11.3% also received treatment for 2 synchronous metastases, and 6.6% also received treatment for 3–10 additional lesions. The median overall survival was 10.9 months. Overall survival at 1 year was 46.8%. The local tumor control rate at 1 year was 80.3%. The disease control rate in distant regions of the brain at 1 year was 35.4%, with a median time of 6.9 months to distant failure. Thirty-nine of 106 patients eventually received salvage WBRT, and the median time to salvage WBRT was 12.6 months. Kaplan-Meier estimates showed that the rate of requisite WBRT at 1 year was 45.9%. Neurological cause–specific survival at 1 year was 50.1%. Leptomeningeal failure occurred in 8 patients. One patient had treatment failure within the resection tract. Seven patients required reoperation: 2 for resection cavity recurrence, 3 for radiation necrosis, 1 for hydrocephalus, and 1 for a CSF cutaneous fistula. On multivariate analysis, a preoperative tumor diameter > 3 cm was predictive of local treatment failure.
Cavity-directed radiosurgery combined with high-resolution MR imaging detection and radiosurgical treatment of synchronous brain metastases is an effective strategy for delaying and even foregoing WBRT in most patients. This technique provides acceptable local disease control, although distant treatment failure remains significant.
Paul K. Kim, Thomas L. Ellis, Volker W. Stieber, Kevin P. McMullen, Edward G. Shaw, Thomas P. McCoy, Ralph B. D'Agostino, J. Daniel Bourland, Allan F. deGuzman, Kenneth E. Ekstrand, Michael R. Raber, and Stephen B. Tatter
Salvage treatment of large, symptomatic brain metastases after failure of whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) remains challenging. When these lesions require resection, there are few options to lower expected rates of local recurrence at the resection cavity margin. The authors describe their experience in using Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) to target the resection cavity in patients whose tumors had progressed after WBRT.
The authors retrospectively identified 143 patients in whom GKS had been used to target a brain metastasis resection cavity between 2000 and 2005. Seventy-nine of these patients had undergone WBRT prior to resection and GKS. The median patient age was 53 years, and the median prescribed dose was 18 Gy (range 8–24 Gy), with resection cavities of relatively larger volume (> 15 cm3). The GKS dose was prescribed at the 40 to 95% isodose contour (mode 50%).
Local recurrence within 1 cm of the treatment volume occurred in four (5.1%) of 79 cases. The median duration of time to local recurrence was 6.1 months (range 2–13 months). The median duration of time to occurrence of distant metastases following GKS of the resection cavity was 10.8 months (range 2–86 months). Carcinomatous meningitis developed in four (5.1%) of 79 cases. Symptomatic radionecrosis requiring surgical treatment occurred in three (3.8%) of 79 cases. The median duration of survival following GKS of the resection cavity was 69.6 weeks. The median 2- and 5-year survival rates were 20.2 and 6.3%, respectively.
When metastases progress after WBRT and require resection, GKS targeting the resection cavity is a viable strategy. In 75 (94.9%) of 79 cases, GKS of the resection cavity in patients in whom WBRT had failed appears to have achieved its goal of local disease control.