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Neurosurg Clin N Am. 1992 Jan;3(1):99-139.

Charged-particle radiosurgery for intracranial vascular malformations.

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Division of Research Medicine and Radiation Biophysics, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley.


Heavy charged-particle radiation has unique physical characteristics that offer several advantages over photons and protons for stereotactic radiosurgery of intracranial AVMs. These include improved dose distributions with depth in tissue, small angle of lateral scattering, and sharp distal fall-off of dose in the Bragg ionization peak. Under multi-institutionally approved clinical trials, we have used stereotactic helium-ion Bragg peak radiosurgery to treat approximately 400 patients with symptomatic, surgically inaccessible vascular malformations at the UCB-LBL 184-in synchrocyclotron and bevatron. Treatment planning for stereotactic heavy charged-particle radiosurgery for intracranial vascular disorders integrates anatomic and physical information from the stereotactic cerebral angiogram and stereotactic CT and MR imaging scans for each patient, using computerized treatment-planning calculations for optimal isodose contour distribution. The shape of an intracranial AVM is associated strongly with its treatability and potential clinical outcome. In this respect, heavy charged-particle radiosurgery has distinct advantages over other radiosurgical methods; the unique physical properties allow the shaping of individual beams to encompass the contours of large and complexly shaped AVMs, while sparing important adjacent neural structures. We have had a long-term dose-searching clinical protocol in collaboration with SUMC and UCSF and have followed up over 300 patients for more than 2 years. Initially, treatment doses ranged from 45 GyE to 35 GyE. Currently, total doses up to 25 GyE are delivered to treatment volumes ranging from 0.1 cm3 to 70 cm3. This represents a relatively homogeneous dose distribution, with the 90% isodose surface contoured to the periphery of the lesion; there is considerable protection of normal adjacent brain tissues, and most of the brain receives no radiation exposure. Dose selection depends on the volume, shape, and location of the AVM and several other factors, including the volume of normal brain that must be traversed by the plateau portion of the charged-particle beam. The first 230 patients have been evaluated clinically to the end of 1989. Using the clinical grading of Drake, about 90% of the patients had an excellent or good neurologic grade, about 5% had a poor grade, and about 5% had progression of disease and died, or died as a result of unrelated intercurrent illness. Neuroradiologic follow-up to the end of 1989 indicated the following rates of complete angiographic obliteration 3 years after treatment: 90% to 95% for AVM treatment volumes less than 4 cm3, 90% to 95% for volumes 4 to 14 cm3, and 60% to 70% for volumes greater than 14 cm3.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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