Role of Gamma Knife Surgery in the Management of Pineal Region Tumors



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OBJECT: Increasingly, radiosurgery is used to treat pineal region tumors, either as a primary treatment or as an adjunct to conventional radiation therapy. The authors report their experience with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for the treatment of pineal region tumors. METHODS: The authors retrospectively reviewed the charts of all patients undergoing GKS at their institution between 1997 and 2005. Seventeen patients underwent GKS for nonmetastatic tumors of the pineal region. All patients were treated using Leksell Gamma Plan treatment planning software (versions 4.12::5.34). The mean treatment volume was 7.42 cm(3) (range 1.2-32.5 cm(3)). Prescribed doses ranged from 12 to 18 Gy. All doses were prescribed to the 50% isodose line. Independent neuroradiologists reviewed all follow-up imaging studies for evidence of progression of disease. RESULTS: One patient (Case 10) died 6 days after GKS. Mean clinical and imaging follow-up in the remaining 16 cases was 31 months. Local control was established during a mean neuroimaging follow-up period of 31 months (range 1-95) in 16 patients (100%). In 2 of these 16 patients (one with an anaplastic astrocytoma, the other with a primitive neuroectodermal tumor), leptomeningeal and spinal spread of tumor developed despite control of the pineal lesions. There were no new neurological deficits attributable to GKS. Three patients died (including the one who died 6 days after GKS) during the follow-up period. Conclusions Excellent control of pineal region brain tumors can be obtained with GKS when it is used in conjunction with surgery, conventional radiation therapy, or both. Patient survival and quality of life can be optimized through the use of multimodal treatment, including surgery, conventional radiation therapy and/or radiosurgery, and chemotherapy, when applicable.

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