Despite various treatment strategies being available, recurrent high-grade gliomas (r-HGG) are difficult to manage. To obtain local control, radiosurgery (SRS) reirradiation has been considered as potential treatment. In the present study, a retrospective analysis was performed on r-HGG patients treated with salvage single- (s-SRS) or multi-fraction SRS (m-SRS). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of salvage SRS in terms of overall survival (OS); toxicity was analyzed as well. Between 2004 May and 2011 December, 128 r-HGG patients (161 lesions) treated with CyberKnife® SRS reirradiation were retrospectively analyzed. Toxicity was graded according to Radiation Therapy Oncology Group and by Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v.3 criteria. OS from the diagnosis date and OS from reirradiation were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Median follow-up was 9 months (range 15 days-82 months). All patients completed SRS without high-grade toxicity. Radiation necrosis was observed in seven patients (6 %) with large volume lesions. The median survival from initial diagnosis was 32 months. The 1-, 2-, and 3-years survival rates from diagnosis were 95, 62, and 45 % respectively. Median survival following SRS was 11.5 months. The 1-, 2-, and 3-years survival rate following SRS was 48, 20, and 17 % respectively. On multivariate analysis, age <40 years, salvage surgery before SRS, and other post-SRS therapies (second-line chemotherapy and/or surgery) were found to significantly improve survival (p = 0.03). SRS represents a safe and feasible option to treat r-HGG patients with low complication rates and potential survival benefit.
Getting through cancer treatment successfully is something to celebrate. To stay in good health, doctors say you need to watch for other symptoms, including vision changes, headaches and problems with balance.
What many cancer survivors don’t realize is that 25 percent of people who survive some common cancers go on to develop a brain tumor. These brain tumors don’t originate in the brain but are actually cancerous cells from the original tumor that travel to the brain through the bloodstream. When this happens, doctors call these tumors brain metastases.
“About one-third of patients with the most common cancers — lung, breast and kidney cancer and melanoma — are at risk of developing brain metastases,” says Cleveland Clinic neurosurgeon Gene Barnett, MD.
When this happens, the resulting growth needs early treatment. Dr. Barnett says early detection can help people get the right treatment at the right time to avoid serious complications. This is why you need to be vigilant and pay attention to your symptoms.
Watch for these 9 signs
If you’ve had cancer and experience these symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor:
- Vision changes (such as double vision or partial vision loss)
- Headaches (possibly with nausea)
- Numbness or tingling in part of the body
- Paralysis or difficulty moving any part of the body
- Inability to walk
- Difficulty with balance and an increased incidence of falls
- Difficulty speaking (including slurred words or incoherent speech)
- Problems with mental acuity (such as not being able to read or tell time)
- Seizure or convulsions
Metastatic brain tumors tend to develop gradually, although severe episodes can occur. No matter what, it’s important to tell your doctor immediately so he or she can evaluate you and treat you early as needed.
Treatable brain tumors
For years, doctors believed that brain metastases were uniformly fatal. Treatment could only to relieve symptoms. Today, they know that such tumors are treatable, thanks to technological and medical advances. The key is early detection.
To help in this fight, Cleveland Clinic teamed with the Northern Ohio American Cancer Society to establish the B-Aware Program. “Our goal is to educate at-risk cancer patients so that brain metastases are detected as early as possible, when they have the greatest number of treatment options,” says Dr. Barnett.
Many treatments available
We’ve come a long way from the days when the only treatment option available for brain metastases was whole brain radiation. This often failed to control the tumors. Today, aggressive and precisely delivered treatments produce better outcomes with fewer side effects.
Treatment options depend on the location, type and extent of the tumor, and include:
- Radiosurgery. Radiosurgery directs highly focused beams of radiation at the tumor with extreme precision. This will not destroy the tumor, but may succeed in stopping tumor growth. Surgeons deliver this radiation so precisely that they can spare the surrounding brain tissue. Gamma Knife surgery is a common form of radiosurgery.
- Minimal access surgery. This type of surgery allows doctors to remove the tumor in a faster, simpler way. Surgeons make a very small incision in the skull or hidden in a nearby structure. This reduces postoperative complications, minimizes pain and scarring, and shortens recovery time.
- Localized radiotherapy, or radiation therapy. Radiotherapy exposes the cancerous cells to ionizing radiation that injures or destroys them. Doctors often use radiotherapy before or in addition to radiosurgery.
- Medical therapies. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill tumor cells that are dividing most rapidly. Many drugs used successfully for tumors in the body cannot penetrate into the brain. However, in certain cases, chemotherapy or other medical treatments may secure control of certain brain metastases.
“We want to help patients ‘be aware’ of all management options, so they don’t blindly agree to a proposed treatment which may not be in their best interest,” says Dr. Barnett. “They always have the right to seek a second opinion.”
The authors sought to better define the clinical response of patients who underwent stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for brain metastases located in the region of the motor cortex.
A retrospective analysis was performed in 2026 patients with brain metastasis who underwent SRS with the Gamma Knife between 2002 and 2012, and multiple factors that affect motor function before and after SRS were evaluated. Ninety-four patients with tumors ≥ 1.5 cm in diameter located in or adjacent to the motor strip were identified, including 2 patients with bilateral motor strip metastases.
Motor function improved after SRS in 30 (31%) of 96 cases, remained stable in 48 (50%), and worsened over time in 18 (19%) instances. Forty-seven patients had no motor weakness prior to radiosurgery; 10 (22%) developed new Grade 3/5–4/5 weakness. Thirty (68%) of 44 patients with ≥ 3/5 pre-SRS weakness improved, 6 (14%) remained stable, and 8 (18%) worsened. Three of 5 patients with < 3/5 pre-SRS motor function improved. Motor deficits prior to SRS did not correlate with a worse outcome; however, worse outcomes were associated with larger tumor volumes. The median tumor volume in patients whose function improved or remained stable was 5.3 cm3, but it was 9.2 cm3 in patients who worsened (p < 0.05). Tumor volumes > 9 cm3 were associated with a higher risk of worsening motor function. Adverse radiation effects occurred in 5 patients.
Most intact patients with brain metastases in or adjacent to motor cortex maintained neurological function after SRS, and most patients with symptomatic motor weakness remained stable or improved. Larger tumor volumes were associated with less satisfactory outcomes.
Increasingly, meningiomas are detected incidentally, prior to symptom development. While these lesions are traditionally managed conservatively until symptoms develop or lesion growth occurs, it is conceivable that patients at high risk for symptom development may benefit from earlier intervention prior to the appearance of symptoms. However, little research has been performed to determine whether Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) can alter the rate of symptom development in such patients.
A retrospective case study was performed by screening the University of Virginia GKS database for patients treated for asymptomatic meningiomas. From the patient’s medical records, pertinent demographic and treatment information was obtained. Yearly follow-up MRI had been performed to assess tumor control and detect signs of radiation-induced injury. Clinical follow-up via neurological examination had been performed to assess symptom development.
Forty-two patients, 33 females (78.6%) and 9 males (21.4%), with 42 asymptomatic meningiomas were included in the analysis. The median age at GKS was 53 years. The most common lesion location was the cerebral convexities (10 lesions [23.8%]), and the median lesion size was 4.0 ml. The median duration of imaging and clinical follow-ups was 59 and 76 months, respectively. During the follow-up period, 1 tumor (2.4%) increased in size, 2 patients (4.8%) demonstrated symptoms, and 1 patient (2.4%) exhibited possible signs of radiation-induced injury. Thus, actuarial tumor control rates were 100%, 95.7%, and 95.7% for 2, 5, and 10 years, respectively. Actuarial symptom control at 5 and 10 years was 97% and 93.1%, respectively. Overall progression-free survival was 91.1% and 77.8% at 5 and 10 years, respectively.
Compared with published rates of symptom development in patients with untreated meningiomas, results in this study indicated that patients with asymptomatic lesions may benefit from prophylactic radiosurgery prior to the appearance of symptoms. Additionally, GKS is a treatment option that offers low morbidity.
Source: : journal of neurosurgery
Purpose To describe outcomes of prospective trials of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Patients and Methods Two trials of SBRT for patients with active HCC unsuitable for standard locoregional therapies were conducted from 2004 to 2010. All patients had Child-Turcotte-Pugh class A disease, with at least 700 mL of non-HCC liver. The SBRT dose range was 24 to 54 Gy in six fractions. Primary end points were toxicity and local control at 1 year (LC1y), defined as no progressive disease (PD) of irradiated HCC by RECIST (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors).
Results A total of 102 patients were evaluable (Trial 1, 2004 to 2007: n = 50; Trial 2, 2007 to 2010: n = 52). Underlying liver disease was hepatitis B in 38% of patients, hepatitis C in 38%, alcohol related in 25%, other in 14%, and none in 7%. Fifty-two percent received prior therapies (no prior sorafenib). TNM stage was III in 66%, and 61% had multiple lesions. Median gross tumor volume was 117.0 mL (range, 1.3 to 1,913.4 mL). Tumor vascular thrombosis (TVT) was present in 55%, and extrahepatic disease was present in 12%. LC1y was 87% (95% CI, 78% to 93%). SBRT dose (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.96; P = .02) and being in Trial 2 (HR = 0.38; P = .03) were associated with LC1y on univariate analysis. Toxicity ≥ grade 3 was seen in 30% of patients. In seven patients (two with TVT PD), death was possibly related to treatment (1.1 to 7.7 months after SBRT). Median overall survival was 17.0 months (95% CI, 10.4 to 21.3 months), for which only TVT (HR = 2.47; P = .01) and being in Trial 2 (HR = 0.49; P = .01) were significant on multivariate analysis.
Conclusion These results provide strong rationale for studying SBRT for HCC in a randomized trial.
Despite the widespread use of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for trigeminal neuralgia (TN), controversy remains regarding the optimal treatment dose and target site. Among the published studies, only a few have focused on long-term outcomes (beyond 2 years) using 90 Gy, which is in the higher range of treatment doses used (70–90 Gy).
The authors followed up on 315 consecutive patients treated with the Leksell Gamma Knife unit using a 4-mm isocenter without blocks. The isocenter was placed on the trigeminal nerve with the 20% isodose line tangential to the pontine surface (18 Gy). At follow-up, 33 patients were deceased; 282 were mailed an extensive questionnaire regarding their outcomes, but 32 could not be reached. The authors report their analysis of the remaining 250 cases. The patients’ mean age at the time of survey response and the mean duration of follow-up were 70.8 ± 13.1 years and 68.9 ± 41.8 months, respectively.
One hundred eighty-five patients (85.6%) had decreased pain intensity after GKS. Modified Marseille Scale (MMS) pain classifications after GKS at follow-up were: Class I (pain free without medication[s]) in 104 (43.7%), Class II (pain free with medication[s]) in 66 (27.7%), Class III (> 90% decrease in pain intensity) in 23 (9.7%), Class IV (50%–90% decrease in pain intensity) in 20 (8.4%), Class V (< 50% decrease in pain intensity) in 11 (4.6%), and Class VI (pain becoming worse) in 14 (5.9%). Therefore, 170 patients (71.4%) were pain free (Classes I and II) and 213 (89.5%) had at least 50% pain relief. All patients had pain that was refractory to medical management prior to GKS, but only 111 (44.4%) were being treated with medication at follow-up (p < 0.0001). Eighty patients (32.9%) developed numbness after GKS, and 74.5% of patients with numbness had complete pain relief. Quality of life and patient satisfaction on a 10-point scale were reported at mean values (± SD) of 7.8 ± 3.1 and 7.7 ± 3.4, respectively. Most of the patients (87.7%) would recommend GKS to another patient. Patients with prior surgical treatments had increased latency to pain relief and were more likely to continue medicines (p < 0.05). Moreover, presence of altered facial sensations prior to radiosurgery was associated with higher pain intensity, longer pain episodes, more frequent pain attacks, worse MMS pain classification, and more medication use after GKS (p < 0.05). Conversely, increase in numbness intensity after GKS was associated with a decrease in pain intensity and pain length (p < 0.05).
Gamma Knife surgery using a maximum dose of 90 Gy to the trigeminal nerve provides satisfactory long-term pain control, reduces the use of medication, and improves quality of life. Physicians must be aware that higher doses may be associated with an increase in bothersome sensory complications. The benefits and risks of higher dose selection must be carefully discussed with patients, since facial numbness, even if bothersome, may be an acceptable trade-off for patients with severe pain.
An increasing number of patients with vestibular schwannomas (VSs) are being treated with radiosurgery. Treatment failure or secondary regrowth after radiosurgery, however, has been observed in 2%–9% of patients. In large tumors that compress the brainstem and in patients who experience rapid neurological deterioration, surgical removal is the only reasonable management option.
The authors evaluated the relevance of previous radiosurgery for the outcome of surgery in a series of 28 patients with VS. The cohort was further subdivided into Group A (radiosurgery prior to surgery) and Group B (partial tumor removal followed by radiosurgery prior to current surgery). The functional and general outcomes in these 2 groups were compared with those in a control group (no previous treatment, matched characteristics).
There were 15 patients in Group A, 13 in Group B, and 30 in the control group. The indications for surgery were sustained tumor enlargement and progression of neurological symptoms in 12 patients, sustained tumor enlargement in 15 patients, and worsening of neurological symptoms without evidence of tumor growth in 1 patient. Total tumor removal was achieved in all patients in Groups A and B and in 96.7% of those in the control group. There were no deaths in any group. Although no significant differences in the neurological morbidity or complication rates after surgery were noted, the risk of new cranial nerve deficits and CSF leakage was highest in patients in Group B. Patients who underwent previous radiosurgical treatment (Groups A and B) tended to be at higher risk of developing postoperative hematomas in the tumor bed or cerebellum. The rate of facial nerve anatomical preservation was highest in those patients who were not treated previously (93.3%) and decreased to 86.7% in the patients in Group A and to 61.5% in those in Group B. Facial nerve function at follow-up was found to correlate to the previous treatment; excellent or good function was seen in 87% of the patients from the control group, 78% of those in Group A, and 68% of those in Group B.
Complete microsurgical removal of VSs after failed radiosurgery is possible with an acceptable morbidity rate. The functional outcome, however, tends to be worse than in nontreated patients. Surgery after previous partial tumor removal and radiosurgery is most challenging and related to worse outcome.
Source: Journal of Neurosurgery
Vertebrobasilar ectasia (VBE) is an unusual cause of trigeminal neuralgia (TN). The surgical options for patients with medically refractory pain include percutaneous or microsurgical rhizotomy and microvascular decompression (MVD). All such procedures can be technically challenging. This report evaluates the response to a minimally invasive procedure, Gamma Knife surgery (GKS), in patients with TN associated with severe vascular compression caused by VBE.
Twenty patients underwent GKS for medically refractory TN associated with VBE. The median patient age was 74 years (range 48–95 years). Prior surgical procedures had failed in 11 patients (55%). In 9 patients (45%), GKS was the first procedure they had undergone. The median target dose for GKS was 80 Gy (range 75–85 Gy). The median follow-up was 29 months (range 8–123 months) after GKS. The treatment outcomes were compared with 80 case-matched controls who underwent GKS for TN not associated with VBE.
Intraoperative MR imaging or CT scanning revealed VBE that deformed the brainstem in 50% of patients. The trigeminal nerve was displaced in cephalad or lateral planes in 60%. In 4 patients (20%), the authors could identify only the distal cisternal component of the trigeminal nerve as it entered into the Meckel cave.
After GKS, 15 patients (75%) achieved initial pain relief that was adequate or better, with or without medication (Barrow Neurological Institute [BNI] pain scale, Grades I–IIIb). The median time until pain relief was 5 weeks (range 1 day–6 months). Twelve patients (60%) with initial pain relief reported recurrent pain between 3 and 43 months after GKS (median 12 months). Pain relief was maintained in 53% at 1 year, 38% at 2 years, and 10% at 5 years. Some degree of facial sensory dysfunction occurred in 10% of patients. Eventually, 14 (70%) of the 20 patients underwent an additional surgical procedure including repeat GKS, percutaneous procedure, or MVD at a median of 14 months (range 5–50 months) after the initial GKS. At the last follow-up, 15 patients (75%) had satisfactory pain control (BNI Grades I–IIIb), but 5 patients (25%) continued to have unsatisfactory pain control (BNI Grade IV or V). Compared with patients without VBE, patients with VBE were much less likely to have initial (p = 0.025) or lasting (p = 0.006) pain relief.
Pain control rates of GKS in patients with TN associated with VBE were inferior to those of patients without VBE. Multimodality surgical or medical management strategies were required in most patients with VBE.
Source: Journal of Neurosurgery
Vestibular schwannomas are slow-growing tumors of the myelin-forming cells that cover cranial nerve VIII. The treatment options for patients with vestibular schwannoma include active observation, surgical management, and radiotherapy. However, the optimal treatment choice remains controversial.
We have reviewed the available data and summarized the radiotherapeutic options, including single-session stereotactic radiosurgery, fractionated conventional radiotherapy, fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy, and proton beam therapy.
The comparisons of the various radiotherapy modalities have been based on single-institution experiences, which have shown excellent tumor control rates of 91–100%. Both stereotactic radiosurgery and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy have successfully improved cranial nerve V and VII preservation to >95%. The mixed data regarding the ideal hearing preservation therapy, inherent biases in patient selection, and differences in outcome analysis have made the comparison across radiotherapeutic modalities difficult. Early experience using proton therapy for vestibular schwannoma treatment demonstrated local control rates of 84–100% but disappointing hearing preservation rates of 33–42%. Efforts to improve radiotherapy delivery will focus on refined dosimetry with the goal of reducing the dose to the critical structures.
As future randomized trials are unlikely, we suggest regimented pre- and post-treatment assessments, including validated evaluations of cranial nerves V, VII, and VIII, and quality of life assessments with long-term prospective follow-up. The results from such trials will enhance the understanding of therapy outcomes and improve our ability to inform patients.