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Stephen C. Rush, Mark J. Kupersmith, Irving Lerch, Paul Cooper, Joseph Ransohoff and Joseph Newall

✓ Between 1972 and 1988, 25 patients were treated by radiation therapy (RT) alone for pituitary macroadenomas causing visual impairment. Twenty-three patients were evaluated by a neuro-ophthalmologist before treatment and at the time of follow-up review. Radiation treatment consisted of 4000 to 5000 cGy over 4 to 5 weeks. The median follow-up period was 36 months (range 2 to 192 months). Eighteen patients (78%) experienced visual field improvement. Deterioration occurred in four patients due to tumor recurrence, tumor hemorrhage, possible optic nerve necrosis, and optic chiasm herniation. Visual field improvement occurred predominantly in patients whose pretreatment visual field defects were less than a dense hemianopsia, who did not have diffuse optic atrophy, and who were younger than the median age of 69 years (p < 0.001). Visual acuity improvement occurred in patients without diffuse optic atrophy, with only mild impairment of the visual acuity, and with only mild visual field loss prior to RT (p < 0.002). It is concluded that there is a subset of patients with pituitary macroadenomas and visual impairment for whom primary RT is a treatment option.

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Stephen Rush, Robert E. Elliott, Amr Morsi, Nisha Mehta, Jeri Spriet, Ashwatha Narayana, Bernadine Donahue, Erik C. Parker and John G. Golfinos

Object

In this paper, the authors' goal was to analyze the incidence, timing, and treatment of new metastases following initial treatment with 20-Gy Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) alone in patients with limited brain metastases without whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT).

Methods

A retrospective analysis of 114 consecutive adults (75 women and 34 men; median age 61 years) with KPS scores of 60 or higher who received GKS for 1–3 brain metastases ≤ 2 cm was performed (median lesion volume 0.35 cm3). Five patients lacking follow-up data were excluded from analysis. After treatment, patients underwent MR imaging at 6 weeks and every 3 months thereafter. New metastases were preferentially treated with additional GKS. Indications for WBRT included development of numerous metastases, leptomeningeal disease, or diffuse surgical-site recurrence.

Results

The median overall survival from GKS was 13.8 months. Excluding the 3 patients who died before follow-up imaging, 12 patients (11.3%) experienced local failure at a median of 7.4 months. Fifty-three patients (50%) developed new metastases at a median of 5 months. Six (7%) of 86 instances of new lesions were symptomatic. Most patients (67%) with distant failures were successfully treated using salvage GKS alone. Whole-brain radiotherapy was indicated in 20 patients (18.3%). Thirteen patients (11.9%) died of neurological disease.

Conclusions

For patients with limited brain metastases and functional independence, 20-Gy GKS provides excellent disease control and high-functioning survival with minimal morbidity. New metastases developed in almost 50% of patients, but additional GKS was extremely effective in controlling disease. Using our algorithm, fewer than 20% of patients required WBRT, and only 12% died of progressive intracranial disease.

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James H. Stephen, Angela J. Sievert, Peter J. Madsen, Alexander R. Judkins, Adam C. Resnick, Phillip B. Storm, Elisabeth J. Rushing and Mariarita Santi

Object

Primary spinal cord ependymomas (EPNs) are rare in children, comprising classical WHO Grade II and III tumors and Grade I myxopapillary ependymomas (MEPNs). Despite their benign histology, recurrences and neural-axis dissemination have been reported in up to 33% MEPNs in the pediatric population. Treatment options beyond resection are limited, and little is known about their tumorigenesis. The purpose of this study was to explore the tumor biology and outcomes in a consecutive series of pediatric patients treated at a single institution.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective clinicopathological review of 19 patients at a tertiary referral children's hospital for resection of a spinal cord ependymoma. The population included 8 patients with a pathological diagnosis of MEPN and 11 patients with a pathological diagnosis of spinal EPN (10 cases were Grade II and 1 case was Grade III). The upregulation of the following genes HOXB13, NEFL, PDGFRα, EGFR, EPHB3, AQP1, and JAGGED 1 was studied by immunohistochemistry from archived paraffin-embedded tumor samples of the entire cohort to compare the expression in MEPN versus EPN.

Results

Gross-total resection was achieved in 75% of patients presenting with MEPNs and in 100% of those with EPNs. The average follow-up period was 79 months for the MEPN subset and 53 months for Grade II/III EPNs. Overall survival for both subsets was 100%. However, event-free survival was only 50% for patients with MEPNs. Of note, in all cases involving MEPNs that recurred, the patients had undergone gross-total resection on initial surgery. In contrast, there were no tumor recurrences in patients with EPNs. Immunohistochemistry revealed no significant differences in protein expression between the two tumor types with the exception of EPHB3, which demonstrates a tendency to be positive in MEPNs (6 reactive tumors of 9) rather than in EPN (2 reactive tumors of 10).

Conclusions

The authors' experience shows that, following a gross-total resection, MEPNs are more likely to recur than their higher-grade counterpart, EPNs. This supports the recommendation for close long-term radiological follow-up of pediatric patients with MEPNs to monitor for recurrence, despite the tumor's low-grade histological feature. No significant difference in the protein expression of HOXB13, NEFL, PDGFRα, EGFR, EPHB3, AQP1, and JAGGED 1 was present in this selected cohort of pediatric patients.

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Robert E. Elliott, Stephen Rush, Amr Morsi, Nisha Mehta, Jeri Spriet, Ashwatha Narayana, Bernadine Donahue, Erik C. Parker and John G. Golfinos

Object

Reports on resection of tumors in or near eloquent cortices have noted neurological complications in up to 30% of patients. This paper contains an analysis of symptom resolution and neurological morbidity following 20-Gy Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for supratentorial brain metastases ≤ 2 cm in greatest diameter.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 98 consecutively treated adults (33 men and 65 women with a median age of 61.4 years at the time of GKS) with Karnofsky Performance Scale score ≥ 60, who underwent GKS for supratentorial brain metastases ≤ 2 cm in diameter. Lesion location was classified as noneloquent (Grade I), near eloquent (Grade II), or eloquent (Grade III), in accordance with the grading system developed by the group at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Following treatment, the patients underwent MR imaging and clinical examinations at 6 weeks and every 3 months thereafter.

Results

Ninety-eight patients underwent 20-Gy GKS for 131 metastases at initial presentation and 31 patients underwent salvage 20-Gy GKS for 76 new lesions, for a total of 207 lesions (mean lesion volume 0.44 cm3). Lesions were classified as follows: Grade I, 96 (46.4%); Grade II, 51 (24.6%); and Grade III, 60 (29%). Fifteen patients (2 with Grade II and 13 with Grade III lesions) presented with deficits referable to their lesions, yielding pre-GKS deficit rates of 7.2% per lesion and 15.3% per patient. The pre-GKS deficits improved or resolved in 10 patients (66.7%) at a median time of 2.8 months and remained stable in 3 patients (20%). Two patients (13.3%) experienced worsened neurological deficits. One patient who was neurologically intact prior to treatment developed a new hemiparesis (1 of 83 patients [1.2%]). The rates of permanent neurological deterioration following GKS for Grades I, II, and III lesions were 0% (0 of 96 tumors), 2% (1 of 51), and 3.3% (2 of 60), respectively. The pre-GKS neurological deficits and larger lesions were the most significant risk factors for post-GKS neurological deterioration.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife surgery performed using a 20-Gy dose provides amelioration of neurological deficits from brain metastases that are ≤ 2 cm in diameter and located in or near eloquent cortices in nearly two-thirds of patients with a low incidence of morbidity. Consistent with the surgical literature, higher rates of neurological complications were observed as proximity to eloquent regions and lesion size increased. There was no neurological deterioration in patients harboring metastases in noneloquent areas.

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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, Robert M. Starke, Hideyuki Kano, Anthony M. Kaufmann, David Mathieu, Fred A. Zeiler, Michael West, Samuel T. Chao, Gandhi Varma, Veronica L. S. Chiang, James B. Yu, Heyoung L. McBride, Peter Nakaji, Emad Youssef, Norissa Honea, Stephen Rush, Douglas Kondziolka, John Y. K. Lee, Robert L. Bailey, Sandeep Kunwar, Paula Petti and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

Parasellar and sellar meningiomas are challenging tumors owing in part to their proximity to important neurovascular and endocrine structures. Complete resection can be associated with significant morbidity, and incomplete resections are common. In this study, the authors evaluated the outcomes of parasellar and sellar meningiomas managed with Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) both as an adjunct to microsurgical removal or conventional radiation therapy and as a primary treatment modality.

Methods

A multicenter study of patients with benign sellar and parasellar meningiomas was conducted through the North American Gamma Knife Consortium. For the period spanning 1988 to 2011 at 10 centers, the authors identified all patients with sellar and/or parasellar meningiomas treated with GKRS. Patients were also required to have a minimum of 6 months of imaging and clinical follow-up after GKRS. Factors predictive of new neurological deficits following GKRS were assessed via univariate and multivariate analyses. Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox multivariate regression analysis were used to assess factors predictive of tumor progression.

Results

The authors identified 763 patients with sellar and/or parasellar meningiomas treated with GKRS. Patients were assessed clinically and with neuroimaging at routine intervals following GKRS. There were 567 females (74.3%) and 196 males (25.7%) with a median age of 56 years (range 8–90 years). Three hundred fifty-five patients (50.7%) had undergone at least one resection before GKRS, and 3.8% had undergone prior radiation therapy. The median follow-up after GKRS was 66.7 months (range 6–216 months). At the last follow-up, tumor volumes remained stable or decreased in 90.2% of patients. Actuarial progression-free survival rates at 3, 5, 8, and 10 years were 98%, 95%, 88%, and 82%, respectively. More than one prior surgery, prior radiation therapy, or a tumor margin dose < 13 Gy significantly increased the likelihood of tumor progression after GKRS.

At the last clinical follow-up, 86.2% of patients demonstrated no change or improvement in their neurological condition, whereas 13.8% of patients experienced symptom progression. New or worsening cranial nerve deficits were seen in 9.6% of patients, with cranial nerve (CN) V being the most adversely affected nerve. Functional improvements in CNs, especially in CNs V and VI, were observed in 34% of patients with preexisting deficits. New or worsened endocrinopathies were demonstrated in 1.6% of patients; hypothyroidism was the most frequent deficiency. Unfavorable outcome with tumor growth and accompanying neurological decline was statistically more likely in patients with larger tumor volumes (p = 0.022) and more than 1 prior surgery (p = 0.021).

Conclusions

Gamma Knife radiosurgery provides a high rate of tumor control for patients with parasellar or sellar meningiomas, and tumor control is accompanied by neurological preservation or improvement in most patients.

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Douglas Kondziolka, Phillip V. Parry, L. Dade Lunsford, Hideyuki Kano, John C. Flickinger, Susan Rakfal, Yoshio Arai, Jay S. Loeffler, Stephen Rush, Jonathan P. S. Knisely, Jason Sheehan, William Friedman, Ahmad A. Tarhini, Lanie Francis, Frank Lieberman, Manmeet S. Ahluwalia, Mark E. Linskey, Michael McDermott, Paul Sperduto and Roger Stupp

Object

Estimating survival time in cancer patients is crucial for clinicians, patients, families, and payers. To provide appropriate and cost-effective care, various data sources are used to provide rational, reliable, and reproducible estimates. The accuracy of such estimates is unknown.

Methods

The authors prospectively estimated survival in 150 consecutive cancer patients (median age 62 years) with brain metastases undergoing radiosurgery. They recorded cancer type, number of brain metastases, neurological presentation, extracranial disease status, Karnofsky Performance Scale score, Recursive Partitioning Analysis class, prior whole-brain radiotherapy, and synchronous or metachronous presentation. Finally, the authors asked 18 medical, radiation, or surgical oncologists to predict survival from the time of treatment.

Results

The actual median patient survival was 10.3 months (95% CI 6.4–14). The median physician-predicted survival was 9.7 months (neurosurgeons = 11.8 months, radiation oncologists = 11.0 months, and medical oncologist = 7.2 months). For patients who died before 10 months, both neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists generally predicted survivals that were more optimistic and medical oncologists that were less so, although no group could accurately predict survivors alive at 14 months. All physicians had individual patient survival predictions that were incorrect by as much as 12–18 months, and 14 of 18 physicians had individual predictions that were in error by more than 18 months. Of the 2700 predictions, 1226 (45%) were off by more than 6 months and 488 (18%) were off by more than 12 months.

Conclusions

Although crucial, predicting the survival of cancer patients is difficult. In this study all physicians were unable to accurately predict longer-term survivors. Despite valuable clinical data and predictive scoring techniques, brain and systemic management often led to patient survivals well beyond estimated survivals.