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L. Dade Lunsford, Veronica Chiang, John R. Adler, Jason Sheehan, William Friedman and Douglas Kondziolka

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Jason P. Sheehan, Inga Grills, Veronica L. Chiang, Huamei Dong, Arthur Berg, Ronald E. Warnick, Douglas Kondziolka and Brian Kavanagh

OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is increasingly used for the treatment of brain metastasis. To date, most studies have focused on survival, radiological response, or surrogate quality endpoints such as Karnofsky Performance Scale status or neurocognitive indices. The current study prospectively evaluated pre-procedural factors impacting quality of life in brain metastasis patients undergoing SRS.

METHODS

Using a national, cloud-based platform, patients undergoing SRS for brain metastasis were accrued to the registry. Quality of life prior to SRS was assessed using the 5-level EQ-5D (EQ5D-L) validated tool; additionally, patient and treatment attributes were collected. Patient quality of life was assessed as part of routine follow-up after SRS. Factors predicting a difference in the aggregate EQ5D-L score or the subscores were evaluated. Pre-SRS covariates impacting changes in EQ5D-L were statistically evaluated. Statistical analyses were conducted using multivariate linear regression models.

RESULTS

EQ5D-L results were available for 116 patients. EQ5D-L improvement (average of 0.387) was noted in patients treated with earlier SRS (p = 0.000175). Worsening overall EQ5D-L (average of 0.052 per lesion) was associated with an increased number of brain metastases at the time of initial presentation (p = 0.0399). Male sex predicted a risk of worsening (average of 0.347) of the pain and discomfort subscore at last follow-up (p = 0.004205). Baseline subscores of pain/discomfort were not correlated with pain/discomfort subscores at follow-up (p = 0.604), whereas baseline subscores of anxiety/depression were strongly positively correlated with the anxiety/depression follow-up subscores (p = 0.0039).

CONCLUSIONS

After SRS, quality of life was likely to improve in patients treated early with SRS and worsen in those with a greater number of brain metastases. Sex differences appear to exist regarding pain and discomfort worsening after SRS. Those with high levels of anxiety and depression at SRS may benefit from medical treatment as this particular quality of life factor generally remains unchanged after SRS.

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Chien-Yi Chiang, Meei-Ling Sheu, Fu-Chou Cheng, Chun-Jung Chen, Hong-Lin Su, Jason Sheehan and Hung-Chuan Pan

Object

Neuropathic pain is debilitating, and when chronic, it significantly affects the patient physically, psychologically, and socially. The neurobehavior of animals used as a model for chronic constriction injury seems analogous to the neurobehavior of humans with neuropathic pain. However, no data depicting the severity of histomorphological alterations of the nervous system associated with graded changes in neurobehavior are available. To determine the severity of histomorphological alteration related to neurobehavior, the authors created a model of chronic constrictive injury of varying intensity in rats and used the CatWalk XT system to evaluate neurobehavior.

Methods

A total of 60 Sprague-Dawley rats, weighing 250–300 g each, were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 groups that would receive sham surgery or 1, 2, 3, or 4 ligatures of 3-0 chromic gut loosely ligated around the left sciatic nerve. Neurobehavior was assessed by CatWalk XT, thermal hyperalgesia, and mechanic allodynia before injury and periodically after injury. The nerve tissue from skin to dorsal spinal cord was obtained for histomorphological analysis 1 week after injury, and brain evoked potentials were analyzed 4 weeks after injury.

Results.

Significant differences in expression of nerve growth factor existed in skin, and the differences were associated with the intensity of nerve injury. After injury, expression of cluster of differentiation 68 and tumor necrosis factor–α was increased, and expression of S100 protein in the middle of the injured nerve was decreased. Increased expression of synaptophysin in the dorsal root ganglion and dorsal spinal cord correlated with the intensity of injury. The amplitude of sensory evoked potential increased with greater severity of nerve damage. Mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia did not differ significantly among treatment groups at various time points. CatWalk XT gait analysis indicated significant differences for print areas, maximum contact maximum intensity, stand phase, swing phase, single stance, and regular index, with sham and/or intragroup comparisons.

Conclusions.

Histomorphological and electrophysiological alterations were associated with severity of nerve damage. Subtle neurobehavioral differences were detected by the CatWalk XT system but not by mechanical allodynia or thermal hyperalgesia. Thus, the CatWalk XT system should be a useful tool for monitoring changes in neuropathic pain, especially subtle alterations.

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Meei-Ling Sheu, Fu-Chou Cheng, Hong-Lin Su, Ying-Ju Chen, Chun-Jung Chen, Chih-Ming Chiang, Wen-Ta Chiu, Jason Sheehan and Hung-Chuan Pan

Object

Increased integration of CD34+ cells in injured nerve significantly promotes nerve regeneration, but this effect can be counteracted by limited migration and short survival of CD34+ cells. SDF-1α and its receptor mediate the recruitment of CD34+ cells involved in the repair mechanism of several neurological diseases. In this study, the authors investigate the potentiation of CD34+ cell recruitment triggered by SDF-1α and the involvement of CD34+ cells in peripheral nerve regeneration.

Methods

Peripheral nerve injury was induced in 147 Sprague-Dawley rats by crushing the left sciatic nerve with a vessel clamp. The animals were allocated to 3 groups: Group 1, crush injury (controls); Group 2, crush injury and local application of SDF-1α recombinant proteins; and Group 3, crush injury and local application of SDF-1α antibody. Electrophysiological studies and assessment of regeneration markers were conducted at 4 weeks after injury; neurobehavioral studies were conducted at 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks after injury. The expression of SDF-1α, accumulation of CD34+ cells, immune cells, and angiogenesis factors in injured nerves were evaluated at 1, 3, 7, 10, 14, 21, and 28 days after injury.

Results

Application of SDF-1α increased the migration of CD34+ cells in vitro, and this effect was dose dependent. Crush injury induced the expression of SDF-1α, with a peak of 10–14 days postinjury, and this increased expression of SDF-1α paralleled the deposition of CD34+ cells, expression of VEGF, and expression of neurofilament. These effects were further enhanced by the administration of SDF-1α recombinant protein and abolished by administration of SDF-1α antibody. Furthermore, these effects were consistent with improvement in measures of neurological function such as sciatic function index, electrophysiological parameters, muscle weight, and myelination of regenerative nerve.

Conclusions

Expression of SDF-1α facilitates recruitment of CD34+ cells in peripheral nerve injury. The increased deposition of CD34+ cells paralleled significant expression of angiogenesis factors and was consistent with improvement of neurological function. Utilization of SDF-1α for enhancing the recruitment of CD34+ cells involved in peripheral nerve regeneration may be considered as an alternative treatment strategy in peripheral nerve disorders.

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Benjamin H. Kann, James B. Yu, John M. Stahl, James E. Bond, Christopher Loiselle, Veronica L. Chiang, Ranjit S. Bindra, Jason L. Gerrard and David J. Carlson

OBJECTIVE

Functional Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) procedures have been increasingly used for treating patients with tremor, trigeminal neuralgia (TN), and refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although its rates of toxicity are low, GKRS has been associated with some, if low, risks for serious sequelae, including hemiparesis and even death. Anecdotal reports have suggested that even with a standardized prescription dose, rates of functional GKRS toxicity increase after replacement of an old cobalt-60 source with a new source. Dose rate changes over the course of the useful lifespan of cobalt-60 are not routinely considered in the study of patients treated with functional GKRS, but these changes may be associated with significant variation in the biologically effective dose (BED) delivered to neural tissue.

METHODS

The authors constructed a linear-quadratic model of BED in functional GKRS with a dose-protraction factor to correct for intrafraction DNA-damage repair and used standard single-fraction doses for trigeminal nerve ablation for TN (85 Gy), thalamotomy for tremor (130 Gy), and capsulotomy for obsessive-compulsive disorder (180 Gy). Dose rate and treatment time for functional GKRS involving 4-mm collimators were derived from calibrations in the authors' department and from the cobalt-60 decay rate. Biologically plausible values for the ratio for radiosensitivity to fraction size (α/β) and double-strand break (DSB) DNA repair halftimes (τ) were estimated from published experimental data. The biphasic characteristics of DSB repair in normal tissue were accounted for in deriving an effective τ1 halftime (fast repair) and τ2 halftime (slow repair). A sensitivity analysis was performed with a range of plausible parameter values.

RESULTS

After replacement of the cobalt-60 source, the functional GKRS dose rate rose from 1.48 to 2.99 Gy/min, treatment time fell, and estimated BED increased. Assuming the most biologically plausible parameters, source replacement resulted in an immediate relative BED increase of 11.7% for GKRS-based TN management with 85 Gy, 15.6% for thalamotomy with 130 Gy, and 18.6% for capsulotomy with 180 Gy. Over the course of the 63-month lifespan of the cobalt-60 source, BED decreased annually by 2.2% for TN management, 3.0% for thalamotomy, and 3.5% for capsulotomy.

CONCLUSIONS

Use of a new cobalt-60 source after replacement of an old source substantially increases the predicted BED for functional GKRS treatments for the same physical dose prescription. Source age, dose rate, and treatment time should be considered in the study of outcomes after high-dose functional GKRS treatments. Animal and clinical studies are needed to determine how this potential change in BED contributes to GKRS toxicity and whether technical adjustments should be made to reduce dose rates or prescription doses with newer cobalt-60 sources.

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Jason P. Sheehan, Robert M. Starke, Hideyuki Kano, Gene H. Barnett, David Mathieu, Veronica Chiang, James B. Yu, Judith Hess, Heyoung L. McBride, Norissa Honea, Peter Nakaji, John Y. K. Lee, Gazanfar Rahmathulla, Wendi A. Evanoff, Michelle Alonso-Basanta and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECT

Posterior fossa meningiomas represent a common yet challenging clinical entity. They are often associated with neurovascular structures and adjacent to the brainstem. Resection can be undertaken for posterior fossa meningiomas, but residual or recurrent tumor is frequent. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has been used to treat meningiomas, and this study evaluates the outcome of this approach for those located in the posterior fossa.

METHODS

At 7 medical centers participating in the North American Gamma Knife Consortium, 675 patients undergoing SRS for a posterior fossa meningioma were identified, and clinical and radiological data were obtained for these cases. Females outnumbered males at a ratio of 3.8 to 1, and the median patient age was 57.6 years (range 12–89 years). Prior resection was performed in 43.3% of the patient sample. The mean tumor volume was 6.5 cm3, and a median margin dose of 13.6 Gy (range 8–40 Gy) was delivered to the tumor.

RESULTS

At a mean follow-up of 60.1 months, tumor control was achieved in 91.2% of cases. Actuarial tumor control was 95%, 92%, and 81% at 3, 5, and 10 years after radiosurgery. Factors predictive of tumor progression included age greater than 65 years (hazard ratio [HR] 2.36, 95% CI 1.30–4.29, p = 0.005), prior history of radiotherapy (HR 5.19, 95% CI 1.69–15.94, p = 0.004), and increasing tumor volume (HR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01–1.08, p = 0.005). Clinical stability or improvement was achieved in 92.3% of patients. Increasing tumor volume (odds ratio [OR] 1.06, 95% CI 1.01–1.10, p = 0.009) and clival, petrous, or cerebellopontine angle location as compared with petroclival, tentorial, and foramen magnum location (OR 1.95, 95% CI 1.05–3.65, p = 0.036) were predictive of neurological decline after radiosurgery. After radiosurgery, ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement, resection, and radiation therapy were performed in 1.6%, 3.6%, and 1.5%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Stereotactic radiosurgery affords a high rate of tumor control and neurological preservation for patients with posterior fossa meningiomas. Those with a smaller tumor volume and no prior radiation therapy were more likely to have a favorable response after radiosurgery. Rarely, additional procedures may be required for hydrocephalus or tumor progression.

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David S. Hersh, Rahul Kumar, Kenneth A. Moore, Luke G. F. Smith, Christopher L. Tinkle, Jason Chiang, Zoltan Patay, Amar Gajjar, Asim F. Choudhri, Jorge A. Lee-Diaz, Brandy Vaughn and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Biopsies of brainstem lesions are performed to establish a diagnosis in the setting of an atypical clinical or radiological presentation, or to facilitate molecular studies. A better understanding of the safety and diagnostic yield of brainstem biopsies would help guide appropriate patient selection.

METHODS

All patients who underwent biopsy of a brainstem lesion during the period from January 2011 to June 2019 were reviewed. Demographic, radiological, surgical, and outcome data were collected.

RESULTS

A total of 58 patients underwent 65 brainstem biopsies during the study period. Overall, the median age was 7.6 years (IQR 3.9–14.2 years). Twenty-two of the 65 biopsies (34%) were open, 42 (65%) were stereotactic, and 1 was endoscopic. In 3 cases (5%), a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was placed, and in 9 cases (14%), a posterior fossa decompression was performed during the same operative session as the biopsy. An intraoperative MRI (iMRI) was performed in 28 cases (43%). In 3 of these cases (11%), the biopsy was off target and additional samples were obtained during the same procedure. New neurological deficits were noted in 5 cases (8%), including sensory deficits, ophthalmoparesis/nystagmus, facial weakness, and hearing loss; these deficits persisted in 2 cases and were transient in 3 cases. A pseudomeningocele occurred in 1 patient; no patients developed a CSF leak or infection. In 8 cases (13%) an additional procedure was needed to obtain a diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS

Brainstem biopsies are safe and effective. Target selection and approach should be a collaborative effort. iMRI can be used to assess biopsy accuracy in real time, thereby allowing any adjustment if necessary.

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Jason P. Sheehan, Robert M. Starke, David Mathieu, Byron Young, Penny K. Sneed, Veronica L. Chiang, John Y. K. Lee, Hideyuki Kano, Kyung-Jae Park, Ajay Niranjan, Douglas Kondziolka, Gene H. Barnett, Stephen Rush, John G. Golfinos and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

Pituitary adenomas are fairly common intracranial neoplasms, and nonfunctioning ones constitute a large subgroup of these adenomas. Complete resection is often difficult and may pose undue risk to neurological and endocrine function. Stereotactic radiosurgery has come to play an important role in the management of patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas. This study examines the outcomes after radiosurgery in a large, multicenter patient population.

Methods

Under the auspices of the North American Gamma Knife Consortium, 9 Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) centers retrospectively combined their outcome data obtained in 512 patients with nonfunctional pituitary adenomas. Prior resection was performed in 479 patients (93.6%) and prior fractionated external-beam radiotherapy was performed in 34 patients (6.6%). The median age at the time of radiosurgery was 53 years. Fifty-eight percent of patients had some degree of hypopituitarism prior to radiosurgery. Patients received a median dose of 16 Gy to the tumor margin. The median follow-up was 36 months (range 1–223 months).

Results

Overall tumor control was achieved in 93.4% of patients at last follow-up; actuarial tumor control was 98%, 95%, 91%, and 85% at 3, 5, 8, and 10 years postradiosurgery, respectively. Smaller adenoma volume (OR 1.08 [95% CI 1.02–1.13], p = 0.006) and absence of suprasellar extension (OR 2.10 [95% CI 0.96–4.61], p = 0.064) were associated with progression-free tumor survival. New or worsened hypopituitarism after radiosurgery was noted in 21% of patients, with thyroid and cortisol deficiencies reported as the most common postradiosurgery endocrinopathies. History of prior radiation therapy and greater tumor margin doses were predictive of new or worsening endocrinopathy after GKS. New or progressive cranial nerve deficits were noted in 9% of patients; 6.6% had worsening or new onset optic nerve dysfunction. In multivariate analysis, decreasing age, increasing volume, history of prior radiation therapy, and history of prior pituitary axis deficiency were predictive of new or worsening cranial nerve dysfunction. No patient died as a result of tumor progression. Favorable outcomes of tumor control and neurological preservation were reflected in a 4-point radiosurgical pituitary score.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife surgery is an effective and well-tolerated management strategy for the vast majority of patients with recurrent or residual nonfunctional pituitary adenomas. Delayed hypopituitarism is the most common complication after radiosurgery. Neurological and cranial nerve function were preserved in more than 90% of patients after radiosurgery. The radiosurgical pituitary score may predict outcomes for future patients who undergo GKS for a nonfunctioning adenoma.

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Jason P. Sheehan, Hideyuki Kano, Zhiyuan Xu, Veronica Chiang, David Mathieu, Samuel Chao, Berkcan Akpinar, John Y.K. Lee, James B. Yu, Judith Hess, Hsiu-Mei Wu, Wen-Yuh Chung, John Pierce, Symeon Missios, Douglas Kondziolka, Michelle Alonso-Basanta, Gene H. Barnett and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECT

Facial nerve schwannomas (FNSs) are rare intracranial tumors, and the optimal management of these tumors remains unclear. Resection can be undertaken, but the tumor’s intimate association with the facial nerve makes resection with neurological preservation quite challenging. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has been used to treat FNSs, and this study evaluates the outcome of this approach.

METHODS

At 8 medical centers participating in the North American Gamma Knife Consortium (NAGKC), 42 patients undergoing SRS for an FNS were identified, and clinical and radiographic data were obtained for these cases. Males outnumbered females at a ratio of 1.2:1, and the patients’ median age was 48 years (range 11–76 years). Prior resection was performed in 36% of cases. The mean tumor volume was 1.8 cm3, and a mean margin dose of 12.5 Gy (range 11–15 Gy) was delivered to the tumor.

RESULTS

At a median follow-up of 28 months, tumor control was achieved in 36 (90%) of the 40 patients with reliable radiographic follow-up. Actuarial tumor control was 97%, 97%, 97%, and 90% at 1, 2, 3, and 5 years postradiosurgery. Preoperative facial nerve function was preserved in 38 of 42 patients, with 60% of evaluable patients having House-Brackmann scores of 1 or 2 at last follow-up. Treated patients with a House-Brackmann score of 1 to 3 were more likely to demonstrate this level of facial nerve function at last evaluation (OR 6.09, 95% CI 1.7–22.0, p = 0.006). Avoidance of temporary or permanent neurological symptoms was more likely to be achieved in patients who received a tumor margin dose of 12.5 Gy or less (log-rank test, p = 0.024) delivered to a tumor of ≤ 1 cm3 in volume (log-rank test, p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Stereotactic radiosurgery resulted in tumor control and neurological preservation in most FNS patients. When the tumor is smaller and the patient exhibits favorable normal facial nerve function, SRS portends a better result. The authors believe that early, upfront SRS may be the treatment of choice for small FNSs, but it is an effective salvage treatment for residual/recurrent tumor that remain or progress after resection.

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Robert M. Starke, David J. McCarthy, Ching-Jen Chen, Hideyuki Kano, Brendan J. McShane, John Lee, Mohana Rao Patibandla, David Mathieu, Lucas T. Vasas, Anthony M. Kaufmann, Wei Gang Wang, Inga S. Grills, Christopher P. Cifarelli, Gabriella Paisan, John Vargo, Tomas Chytka, Ladislava Janouskova, Caleb E. Feliciano, Nanthiya Sujijantarat, Charles Matouk, Veronica Chiang, Judith Hess, Rafael Rodriguez-Mercado, Daniel A. Tonetti, L. Dade Lunsford and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

The authors performed a study to evaluate the hemorrhagic rates of cerebral dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) and the risk factors of hemorrhage following Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS).

METHODS

Data from a cohort of patients undergoing GKRS for cerebral dAVFs were compiled from the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation. The annual posttreatment hemorrhage rate was calculated as the number of hemorrhages divided by the patient-years at risk. Risk factors for dAVF hemorrhage prior to GKRS and during the latency period after radiosurgery were evaluated in a multivariate analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 147 patients with dAVFs were treated with GKRS. Thirty-six patients (24.5%) presented with hemorrhage. dAVFs that had any cortical venous drainage (CVD) (OR = 3.8, p = 0.003) or convexity or torcula location (OR = 3.3, p = 0.017) were more likely to present with hemorrhage in multivariate analysis. Half of the patients had prior treatment (49.7%). Post-GRKS hemorrhage occurred in 4 patients, with an overall annual risk of 0.84% during the latency period. The annual risks of post-GKRS hemorrhage for Borden type 2–3 dAVFs and Borden type 2–3 hemorrhagic dAVFs were 1.45% and 0.93%, respectively. No hemorrhage occurred after radiological confirmation of obliteration. Independent predictors of hemorrhage following GKRS included nonhemorrhagic neural deficit presentation (HR = 21.6, p = 0.027) and increasing number of past endovascular treatments (HR = 1.81, p = 0.036).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients have similar rates of hemorrhage before and after radiosurgery until obliteration is achieved. dAVFs that have any CVD or are located in the convexity or torcula were more likely to present with hemorrhage. Patients presenting with nonhemorrhagic neural deficits and a history of endovascular treatments had higher risks of post-GKRS hemorrhage.