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Marc Levivier, Jose Lorenzoni, Nicolas Massager, Salvador Ruiz, Daniel Devriendt and Jacques Brotchi

Object

The authors report their experience using the Leksell gamma knife C (GK-C) for the treatment of meningioma and vestibular schwannoma (VS).

Methods

In December 1999, the first commercially available clinical GK-C was installed at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Erasme Hospital, Brussels, Belgium). In January 2000, the system was upgraded and equipped with the automatic positioning system (APS). Between February 2000 and February 2003, the APS-equipped GK-C was used to perform 532 radiosurgical treatments, including those in 97 meningiomas and 101 VSs.

Meningioma and VS represent 18 and 19%, respectively, of lesions in patients treated with GK-C at the authors' center. The mean number of isocenters per lesion was 9.5 (range 1–36): 18.1 (range 1–36) for meningioma and 12.8 (range 1–27) for VS. In 77.6% of the cases, the authors used a single helmet of collimators (55.5% in meningioma and 74.3% in VS). The most frequently used collimator size was 4 mm (46.7%). Whereas it was 4 mm in cases of VS (64.3%), it was 8 mm in cases of meningioma (41.6%). The APS could be used in 86% of the cases, either alone (79%) or in combination with trunnions (7%). There was a difference in the APS-based treatment success rate in meningiomas (85%) and VSs (94%). A significant difference was also noted in the conformity of the radiosurgical treatments between the two lesions.

Conclusions

The APS-equipped GK-C represents an evolutionary step in radiosurgery. It requires adjustments by the treating team for its specific limitations, which vary among indications, as exemplified by the differences inherent between meningioma and VS in this series.

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Nicolas Massager, José Lorenzoni, Daniel Devriendt, Françoise Desmedt, Jacques Brotchi and Marc Levivier

Object. Gamma knife surgery (GKS) has emerged as a suitable treatment of pharmacologically resistant idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia. The optimal radiation dose and target for this therapy, however, remain to be defined. The authors analyzed the results of GKS in which a high dose of radiation and a distal target was used, to determine the best parameters for this treatment.

Methods. The authors evaluated results in 47 patients who were treated with this approach. All patients underwent clinical and magnetic resonance imaging examinations at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year post-GKS. Fifteen potential prognostic factors associated with favorable pain control were studied.

The mean follow-up period was 16 months (range 6–42 months). The initial pain relief was excellent (100% pain control) in 32 patients, good (90–99% pain control) in seven patients, fair (50–89% pain control) in three patients, and poor (< 50% pain control) in five patients. The actuarial curve of pain relief displayed a 59% rate of excellent pain control and a 71% excellent or good pain control at 42 months after radiosurgery. Radiosurgery-induced facial numbness was bothersome for two patients and mild for 18 patients. Three prognostic factors were found to be statistically significant factors for successful pain relief: a shorter distance between the target and the brainstem, a higher radiation dose delivered to the brainstem, and the development of a facial sensory disturbance after radiosurgery.

Conclusions. To optimize pain control and minimize complications of this therapy, we recommend that the nerve be targeted at a distance of 5 to 8 mm from the brainstem.

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Nicolas Massager, Jean Régis, Douglas Kondziolka, Théodore Njee and Marc Levivier

Object. This study was undertaken to assess the efficacy and safety of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) for the treatment of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) located within the brainstem.

Methods. The results of GKS performed in 87 patients with brainstem AVMs at two centers with experienced physicians are reviewed. The mean patient age was 37 years and the population included 19 children. The male/female ratio was 56:31. The malformation was located in the upper brainstem in 52 patients. Seventy-four percent of the patients had suffered a hemorrhage before GKS. For 70% of the patients no other treatment had been proposed before GKS. The mean AVM volume was 1.3 cm3. The lesions were treated with one to eight isocenters, with a margin dose ranging between 11.5 Gy and 30 Gy. The mean clinical follow-up period was 3.2 years. Ninety-five percent of the patients improved or remained neurologically stable. Rebleeding occurred in three patients at 3, 6, and 16 months, respectively, after GKS. Two patients in whom rebleeding occured recovered, and one died. The AVM obliteration rate was 63% at 2 years and 73% at 3 years after GKS. A second GKS was performed in six patients in whom only partial obliteration was demonstrated on angiography 3 years after the first procedure.

Conclusions. Gamma knife radiosurgery may be a valuable first-choice therapy for the treatment of AVMs located within the brainstem.

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Benoit Pirotte, Nicolay Gabrovsky, Nicolas Massager, Marc Levivier, Philippe David and Jacques Brotchi

Object

The authors conducted a study to determine the surgery-related results and outcomes in patients with synovial cysts of the lumbar spine. They emphasize several specific characteristics useful in clinical management.

Methods

Forty-six consecutive patients with 54 lumbar synovial cysts underwent surgery between 1990 and 2001. A retrospective analysis of the clinical presentation and follow-up data, radiological findings, and surgical techniques was performed. Clinical presentation was dominated by acute or subacute sciatic pain. No specific symptom allowed differentiation of synovial cyst from a lumbar disc herniation. Computerized tomography scanning aided in establishing the correct diagnosis in 19 of 30 cases and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging did so in all cases. Three of the 46 patients presented with bilateral lumbar synovial cysts. The L4–5 level was affected in 61%, and radiological signs of disc degeneration/spondylosis were observed in 54% of the patients. Immediate symptom relief without local recurrence was obtained by complete microsurgical excision in which bipolar coagulation was used to remove the synovial membrane and in which the interapophysial joint was preserved. During the 1st postoperative year, a newly formed symptomatic synovial cyst developed on the contralateral side or at a superior vertebral level in five patients. They underwent surgery; results were good and there was no recurrence.

Conclusions

The findings in this series suggest that synovial cysts can occur at multiple lumbar sites within a short period of time and could be predisposed to developing in certain individuals, predominantly in women older than 40 years of age. Postoperative follow up is recommended and MR imaging mandatory in cases of recurrent sciatica.

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György T. Szeifert, Nicolas Massager, Jacques Brotchi and Marc Levivier

Object. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate positron emission tomography (PET), histological, and immunohistochemical data supporting the notion of morphological redifferentiation in a malignant astrocytic tumor after gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS).

Methods. The 11C- methionine-PET activity, Ki-67 labeling index (LI), and p53 protein expression were examined using immunohistochemical methods to assess tumor proliferative capacity. Tissue samples were obtained before and after radiosurgery in a patient with a malignant (Grade III) cerebellar astrocytoma.

Positron emission tomography scans obtained 5.5 months following radiosurgery were suggestive of decreased tumor proliferative capacity and radionecrosis. Histological examination of tumor tissue removed 42 months before GKS was characteristic of a diffuse Grade III astrocytoma in every part of the resected tumor. Similar material removed 6 months after GKS was consistent with a Grade II astrocytoma in the great majority of the resected tumor.

Conclusions. Histopathological examination showed positive phenotypic modification (redifferentiation) consistent with a Grade II astrocytoma in the majority of tumor specimens after radiosurgery. After GKS both the Ki-67 LI and p53 reaction decreased considerably as did 11C methionine uptake. Because p53 is one of the essential genes involved in the radiation response, mutations induced by the ionizing effect of gamma rays might promote partial repair of this gene's tumor suppressor function.

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Benoit Pirotte, Philippe Voordecker, Freddy Joffroy, Nicolas Massager, David Wikler, Danielle Baleriaux, Marc Levivier and Jacques Brotchi

Object

Twelve patients (seven female, and five male, mean age 55.6 years) suffering from refractory central (ischemic/traumatic [eight cases]) and neuropathic pain (trigeminal neuropathy [four cases]) underwent surgery for the implantation of an epidural motor cortex stimulation (MCS) device in which the authors used a frameless neuronavigation system, the Zeiss-MKM microscope.

Methods

The authors assessed the spatial accuracy of the neuronavigation system and its potential contribution to improve the quality of targeting pain. In these patients, the positions of the central sulcus, defined by stereotactic magnetic resonance MR imaging, intraoperative somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) and subdural visual verification, were correlated into the stereotactic neuronavigation planning procedure. The mean spatial accuracy of distance between (MR) imaging–defined and actual central sulcus was 2.4 mm (range 5–10 mm). The intraoperative SSEP-defined central sulcus was close to that defined by MR imaging (mean distance 6.4 mm). Although very precise, intra-operative SSEP recordings were impaired by artifacts and wave attenuation in six of the 12 patients. Stereotactic correlations between anatomical and functional data in the navigation system corrected final targeting in 10 of 12 cases. Pain relief was obtained in eight patients. Indeed, inappropriate targeting probably explains the reported variable success rate of MCS and certainly underestimates the actual efficacy.

Conclusions

Since intraoperative SSEP monitoring has, for many years, been considered the standard procedure to approach motor target, the development of an accurate stereotactic image guidance system could help to increase the efficacy of MCS on the alleviation of pain. The excellent spatial accuracy provided by the Zeiss-MKM navigation system allows precise data correlations that represent a remarkable means to validate functional MR imaging as an alternative to SSEP. The authors believe that developing stereotactic image guidance with such a navigation system could improve the success rate of MCS.

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Benoit J. M. Pirotte, Alphonse Lubansu, Nicolas Massager, David Wikler, Serge Goldman and Marc Levivier

Object

Most intrinsic infiltrative brainstem lesions diagnosed in children are gliomas, and these carry a very bad prognosis. Although the utility and risk of stereotactically guided biopsy procedures in intrinsic infiltrative brainstem lesions have been widely questioned, the neuroimaging diagnosis may be inaccurate in approximately 25% of cases, and the consequences of empirical therapy should not be underestimated. Stereotactic biopsy sampling is still performed in many centers, but the reported diagnostic yield ranges from 83 to 96%. The authors integrated positron emission tomography (PET) images into the planning for stereotactic biopsy procedures to direct the biopsy needle's trajectory to hypermetabolic foci of intrinsic infiltrative brainstem lesions. Their aim was to assess the benefit of the technique in terms of target selection and diagnostic yield.

Methods

Twenty children with newly diagnosed intrinsic infiltrative brainstem lesions underwent a PET-guided stereotactic biopsy procedure. The PET tracer was18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) in six cases, 11C-methionine in eight, and both agents were used in six. A single biopsy target was selected in the area of highest PET tracer uptake in all cases. The PET data were compared with diagnoses and outcome.

Results

Use of PET guidance improved target selection and provided tumor diagnosis in all trajectories and in all children (high-grade glioma was diagnosed in 10, low-grade glioma in five, and nonglial tumor in five). The PET-guided trajectories provided a higher diagnostic yield than those guided by magnetic resonance imaging alone, which allowed the sampling to be reduced to a single trajectory. The PET data might also carry a prognostic value that could be useful for oncological management.

Conclusions

These data support the suggestion that PET guidance improves the diagnostic yield of stereotactic biopsy sampling, allows the practitioner to reduce the number of sampling procedures, and might lead to a reassessment of the utility of and indications for stereotactic biopsy in children with intrinsic infiltrative brainstem lesions.

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Nicolas Massager, Ouzi Nissim, Carine Delbrouck, Isabelle Delpierre, Daniel Devriendt, Françoise Desmedt, David Wikler, Jacques Brotchi and Marc Levivier

Object

The purpose of this study was to measure the dose of radiation delivered to the cochlea during a Gamma knife surgery (GKS) procedure for treatment of patients with vestibular schwannomas (VSs), and to analyze the relationship between cochlear irradiation and the hearing outcome of these patients.

Methods

Eighty-two patients with VSs were treated with GKS using a marginal dose of 12 Gy. No patient had neurofibromatosis Type 2 disease, and all had a Gardner–Robertson hearing class of I to IV before treatment, and a radiological and audiological follow-up of at least 1-year after GKS. The dosimetric data of the volume of the cochlea were retrospectively analyzed and were correlated with the auditory outcome of patients.

Results

The mean radiation dose delivered to the cochlear volume ranged from 1.30 to 10.00 Gy (median 4.15 Gy). The cochlea received significantly higher radiation doses in patients with worsening of hearing after GKS. A highly significant association between the cochlear and the intracanalicular dose of radiation delivered during GKS was found.

Conclusions

During GKS for VSs, relatively high doses of radiation can be delivered to the cochlea. Worsening of hearing after GKS can be the consequence of either radiation injury to the cochlea or the irradiation dose delivered into the auditory canal, or both.

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Marc Levivier, David Wikler Jr., Nicolas Massager, Philippe David, Daniel Devriendt, Jose Lorenzoni, Benoit Pirotte, Françoise Desmedt, Stephane Simon Jr., Serge Goldman, Paul Van Houtte and Jacques Brotchi

Object. The authors review their experience with the clinical development and routine use of positron emission tomography (PET) during stereotactic procedures, including the use of PET-guided gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS).

Methods. Techniques have been developed for the routine use of stereotactic PET, and accumulated experience using PET-guided stereotactic procedures over the past 10 years includes more than 150 stereotactic biopsies, 43 neuronavigation procedures, and 34 cases treated with GKS. Positron emission tomography—guided GKS was performed in 24 patients with primary brain tumors (four pilocytic astrocytomas, five low-grade astrocytomas or oligodendrogliomas, seven anaplastic astrocytomas or ependymomas, five glioblastomas, and three neurocytomas), five patients with metastases (single or multiple lesions), and five patients with pituitary adenomas.

Conclusions. Data obtained with PET scanning can be integrated with GKS treatment planning, enabling access to metabolic information with high spatial accuracy. Positron emission tomography data can be successfully combined with magnetic resonance imaging data to provide specific information for defining the target volume for the radiosurgical treatment in patients with recurrent brain tumors, such as glioma, metastasis, and pituitary adenoma. This approach is particularly useful for optimizing target selection for infiltrating or ill-defined brain lesions. The use of PET scanning contributed data in 31 cases (93%) and information that was specifically utilized to adapt the target volume in 25 cases (74%). It would seem that the integration of PET data into GKS treatment planning may represent an important step toward further developments in radiosurgery: this approach provides additional information that may open new perspectives for the optimization of the treatment of brain tumors.

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Benoit J. M. Pirotte, Alphonse Lubansu, Nicolas Massager, David Wikler, Patrick Van Bogaert, Marc Levivier, Jacques Brotchi and Serge Goldman

Object

In this paper, the authors' goal was to evaluate the impact of PET information on brain tumor surgery in children.

Methods

Between 1995 and 2007, 442 children were referred to the authors' institution for a newly diagnosed brain lesion. Of these, 85 were studied with FDG-PET and/or L-(methyl-11C)-methionine –PET in cases in which MR images were unable to assist in selecting accurate biopsy targets (35 patients) or to delineate tumors for maximal resection (50 patients). In surgical cases, PET and MR images were combined in image fusion planning for stereotactic biopsies or navigation-based resections. The preoperative planning images were compared postoperatively with MR imaging and PET findings and histological data for evaluating the clinical impact on the diagnostic yield and tumor resection.

Results

The PET data influenced surgical decisions or procedures in all cases. The use of PET helped to better differentiate indolent from active components in complex lesions (in 12 patients); improved target selection and diagnostic yield of stereotactic biopsies without increasing the sampling; provided additional prognostic information; reduced the amount of tissue needed for biopsy sampling in brainstem lesions (in 20 cases); better delineated lesions that were poorly delineated on MR imaging and that infiltrated functional cortex (in 50 cases); significantly increased the amount of tumor tissue removed in cases in which total resection influenced survival (in 20 cases); guided resection in hypermetabolic areas (in 15 cases); improved early postoperative detection of residual tumor (in 20 cases); avoided unnecessary reoperation (in 5 cases); and supported the decision to undertake early second-look resection (in 8 cases).

Conclusions

The authors found that PET has a significant impact on the surgical decisions and procedures for managing pediatric brain tumors. Further studies may demonstrate whether PET improves outcomes in children.