The International Gamma Knife Research Foundation consists of academic and clinical centers of excellence where brain Stereotactic Radiosurgery is performed using the Leksell Gamma Knife. All participating centers have a track record of outcomes research and participation in clinical trials.
The primary goal of the IGKRF is to facilitate retrospective and prospective clinical trials and outcomes analysis that evaluate the role of Gamma Knife radiosurgery in a wide spectrum of clinical indications.
Because individual centers may evaluate only a small number of patients with rare conditions, pooling of information is critical to evaluate and to improve outcomes. Each center has a professional team consisting of one or more neurological surgeons, radiation oncologists, and medical physicists. Participation is by invitation of the Board of Directors. The IGKRF is a non-profit scientific, educational, and research entity incorporated in the state of Pennyslvania.
Ding et al. evaluated and pooled AVM radiosurgery data from 8 institutions participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Patients with unruptured AVMs and ≥12 mo of follow-up were included in the study cohort. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no postradiosurgical hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes.
The unruptured AVM cohort comprised 938 patients with a median age of 35 yr. The median nidus volume was 2.4 cm 3 , 71% of AVMs were located in eloquent brain areas, and the Spetzler-Martin grade was III or higher in 57%. The median radiosurgical margin dose was 21 Gy and follow-up was 71 mo. AVM obliteration was achieved in 65%. The annual postradiosurgery hemorrhage rate was 1.4%. Symptomatic and permanent radiation-induced changes occurred in 9% and 3%, respectively. Favorable outcome was achieved in 61%. In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, smaller AVM maximum diameter ( P = .001), the absence of AVM-associated arterial aneurysms ( P = .001), and higher margin dose ( P = .002) were found to be independent predictors of a favorable outcome. A margin dose ≥ 20 Gy yielded a significantly higher rate of favorable outcome (70% vs 36%; P < .001).
Radiosurgery affords an acceptable risk to benefit profile for patients harboring unruptured AVMs. These findings justify further prospective studies comparing radiosurgical intervention to conservative management for unruptured AVMs 1).
Data from a cohort of 2236 patients undergoing GKRS for cerebral AVMs were compiled from the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration and no posttreatment hemorrhage or permanent symptomatic radiation-induced complications. Patient and AVM characteristics were assessed to determine predictors of outcome, and commonly used grading scales were assessed.
The mean maximum AVM diameter was 2.3 cm, with a mean volume of 4.3 cm3. A mean margin dose of 20.5 Gy was delivered. Mean follow-up was 7 years (range 1-20 years). Overall obliteration was 64.7%. Post-GRKS hemorrhage occurred in 165 patients (annual risk 1.1%). Radiation-induced imaging changes occurred in 29.2%; 9.7% were symptomatic, and 2.7% had permanent deficits. Favorable outcome was achieved in 60.3% of patients. Patients with prior nidal embolization (OR 2.1, p < 0.001), prior AVM hemorrhage (OR 1.3, p = 0.007), eloquent location (OR 1.3, p = 0.029), higher volume (OR 1.01, p < 0.001), lower margin dose (OR 0.9, p < 0.001), and more isocenters (OR 1.1, p = 0.011) were more likely to have unfavorable outcomes in multivariate analysis. The Spetzler-Martin grade and radiosurgery-based AVM score predicted outcome, but the Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale provided the best assessment.
GKRS for cerebral AVMs achieves obliteration and avoids permanent complications in the majority of patients. Patient, AVM, and treatment parameters can be used to predict long-term outcomes following radiosurgery 2).