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Tracy E. Alpert, Chung T. Chung, Lisa T. Mitchell, Charles J. Hodge, Craig T. Montgomery, Jeffrey A. Bogart, Daniel Y-J. Kim, Danel A. Bassano, and Seung S. Hahn

Object. The authors sought to evaluate the initial response of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) to gamma knife surgery (GKS) based on the number of shots delivered and radiation dose.

Methods. Between September 1998 and September 2003, some 63 patients with TN refractory to medical or surgical management underwent GKS at Upstate Medical University. Ten patients had multiple sclerosis and 25 patients had undergone prior invasive treatment. Gamma knife surgery was delivered to the trigeminal nerve root entry zone in one shot in 27 patients or two shots in 36 patients. The radiation dose was escalated to less than or equal to 80 Gy in 20 patients, 85 Gy in 21 patients, and greater than or equal to 90 Gy in 22 patients. Pain before and after GKS was assessed using the Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Scale and the improvement score was analyzed as a function of dose grouping and number of shots.

Sixty patients were available for evaluation, with an initial overall and complete response rate of 90% and 27%, respectively. There was a greater improvement score for patients who were treated with two shots compared with one shot, mean 2.83 compared with 1.72 (p < 0.001). There was an increased improvement in score at each dose escalation level: less than or equal to 80 Gy (p = 0.017), 85 Gy (p < 0.001), and greater than or equal to 90 Gy (p < 0.001). Linear regression analysis also indicated that there was a greater response with an increased dose (p = 0.021). Patients treated with two shots were more likely to receive a higher dose (p < 0.001). There were no severe complications. Five patients developed mild facial numbness.

Conclusions. Gamma knife surgery is an effective therapy for TN. Initial response rates appear to correlate with the number of shots and dose.

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John W. Powell, Chung T. Chung, Hemangini R. Shah, Gregory W. Canute, Charles J. Hodge, Daniel A. Bassano, Lizhong Liu, Lisa Mitchell, and Seung S. Hahn


The purpose of this study was to examine the results of using Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for brain metastases from classically radioresistant malignancies.


The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 76 patients with melanoma (50 patients), renal cell carcinoma (RCC; 23 patients), or sarcoma (3 patients) who underwent GKS between August 1998 and July 2007. Overall patient survival, intracranial progression, and local progression of individual lesions were analyzed.


The median age of the patients was 57 years (range 18–85 years) and median Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score was 80 (range 20–100). Sixty-two patients (81.6%) had uncontrolled extracranial disease. A total of 303 intracranial lesions (average 3.97 per patient, range 1–27 lesions) were treated using GKS. More than 3 lesions were treated in 30 patients (39.5%). Median GKS tumor margin dose was 18 Gy (range 8–30 Gy). Thirty-seven patients (48.7%) underwent whole brain radiation therapy. The actuarial 12-month rate for freedom from local progression for individual lesions was 77.7% and was significantly higher for RCC compared with melanoma (93.6 vs 63.0%; p = 0.001). The percentage of coverage of the prescribed dose to target volume was the only treatment–related variable associated with local control: 12-month actuarial rate of freedom from local progression was 71.4% for lesions receiving ≥ 90% coverage versus 0.0% for lesions receiving < 90% (p = 0.00048). Median overall survival was 5.1 months after GKS and 8.4 months after the discovery of brain metastases. Univariate analysis revealed that KPS score (p = 0.000004), recursive partitioning analysis class (p = 0.00043), and single metastases (p = 0.028), but not more than 3 metastases, to be prognostic factors of overall survival. The KPS score remained significant after multivariate analysis. Overall survival for patients with a KPS score ≥ 70 was 7.1 months compared with 1.3 months for a KPS score ≤ 60 (p = 0.013).


Gamma Knife surgery is an effective treatment option for patients with radioresistant brain metastases. In this setting, KPS score appeared to be a more important factor in predicting survival than having > 3 metastases. Higher rates of local tumor control were achieved for RCC in comparison with melanoma, and this may have an effect on survival in some patients. Although outcomes generally remained poor in this study population, these results suggest that GKS can be considered as a treatment option for many patients with radioresistant brain metastases, even if these patients have multiple lesions.