A quantitative analysis of adverse radiation effects following Gamma Knife radiosurgery for arteriovenous malformations

J Neurosurg. 2015 Oct;123(4):945-53. doi: 10.3171/2014.10.JNS142264. Epub 2015 Apr 24.


Object: The authors review outcomes following Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and their correlation to postradiosurgery adverse radiation effects (AREs).

Methods: From a prospective institutional review board-approved database, the authors identified patients with a minimum of 2 years of follow-up and thin-slice T2-weighted MRI sequences for volumetric analysis. A total of 105 AVM patients were included. The authors analyzed the incidence and quantitative changes in AREs as a function of time after GKRS. Statistical analysis was performed to identify factors related to ARE development and changes in the ARE index.

Results: The median clinical follow-up was 53.8 months (range 24-212.4 months), and the median MRI follow-up was 36.8 months (range 24-212.4 months). 47.6% of patients had an AVM with a Spetzler-Martin grade ≥ III. The median administered margin and maximum doses were 22 and 40 Gy, respectively. The overall obliteration rate was 70.5%. Of patients who showed complete obliteration, 74.4% developed AREs within 4-6 months after GKRS. Late-onset AREs (i.e., > 12 months) correlated to a failure to obliterate the nidus. 58.1% of patients who developed appreciable AREs (defined as ARE index > 8) proceeded to have a complete nidus obliteration. Appreciable AREs were found to be influenced by AVM nidus volume > 3 ml, lobar location, number of draining veins and feeding arteries, prior embolization, and higher margin dose. On the other hand, a minimum ARE index > 8 predicted obliteration (p = 0.043).

Conclusions: ARE development after radiosurgery follows a temporal pattern peaking at 7-12 months after stereotactic radiosurgery. The ARE index serves as an important adjunct tool in patient follow-up and outcome prediction.

Keywords: ARE = adverse radiation effect; AVM = arteriovenous malformation; GKRS = Gamma Knife radiosurgery; Gamma Knife; SRS = stereotactic radiosurgery; T2 changes; VRAS = Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale; arteriovenous malformation; complication; outcome; radiosurgery; stereotactic radiosurgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiosurgery / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult