Background and purpose - Radiosurgery is an increasingly popular treatment option especially for deep eloquent intracerebral cavernomas that are often too risky for surgical removal, but their re-bleed carries significant risk for persisting neurological deficit. Gamma-radiation based radiosurgery has been being available since 2007 in Hungary in Debrecen. Our aim is to summarize our experience accumulated during the first five years of treatment and to compare it to the international experience. Patient selection and methods - We retrospectively analyzed 51 cavernomas in 45 patients treated between 2008 and 2012 in terms of localization, natural history, and the effect of radiosurgery on re-bleed risk and epilepsy, and its side effects. Results - We treated 26.5% deep eloquent (brainstem, thalamic/basal ganglia) and 72.5% superficial hemispheric cavernomas. The median presentation age was 25 years (13-60) for deep, and 45 years (6-67) for superficial cavernomas. They were treated median of 1 year after presentation. 64.5% of deep cavernomas bled before treatment, the annual risk of first hemorrhage was 2%/lesion, re-bleed risk 21.7%, with 44% persisting morbidity. 13.5% of superficial cavernomas bled prior to treatment, the risk of first bleed was 0.3%, there was no re-bleed, and 35% caused epilepsy. We used GammaART-6000™ rotating gamma system for treatment, marginal dose was 14 Gy (10-16), and treatment volume 1.38-1.53 cm3. Re-bleed risk of deep eloquent lesions fell to 4% during the first two years after treatment and to 0% thereafter, and no hemorrhage occurred from superficial lesions after treatment. Persisting morbidity in deep lesions came from adverse radiation effect in 7% and from re-bleed in 7%, and there was no persisting side effect in superficial cavernomas. 87.5% of cases of epilepsy resistant to medical therapy improved. Radiological regression was found in 37.5% and progression in 2% after treatment. Conclusions - Radiosurgery of cavernomas is safe and effective. Early preventive treatment for deep cavernomas carrying high surgical risk is justified. Moreover, for superficial lesions that are surgically easily accessible radiosurgery also appears to be an attractive alternative.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology