Stereotactic radiosurgery for Spetzler-Martin Grade III arteriovenous malformations: an international multicenter study

J Neurosurg. 2017 Mar;126(3):859-871. doi: 10.3171/2016.1.JNS152564. Epub 2016 Apr 15.


OBJECTIVE Because of the angioarchitectural diversity of Spetzler-Martin (SM) Grade III arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), the management of these lesions is incompletely defined. The aims of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study were to evaluate the outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for SM Grade III AVMs and to determine the factors predicting these outcomes. METHODS The authors analyzed and pooled data from patients with SM Grade III AVMs treated with SRS at 8 institutions participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Patients with these AVMs and a minimum follow-up length of 12 months were included in the study cohort. An optimal outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-SRS hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RICs). Data were analyzed by univariate and multivariate regression analyses. RESULTS The SM Grade III AVM cohort comprised 891 patients with a mean age of 34 years at the time of SRS. The mean nidus volume, radiosurgical margin dose, and follow-up length were 4.5 cm3, 20 Gy, and 89 months, respectively. The actuarial obliteration rates at 5 and 10 years were 63% and 78%, respectively. The annual postradiosurgery hemorrhage rate was 1.2%. Symptomatic and permanent RICs were observed in 11% and 4% of the patients, respectively. Optimal outcome was achieved in 56% of the patients and was significantly more frequent in cases of unruptured AVMs (OR 2.3, p < 0.001). The lack of a previous hemorrhage (p = 0.037), absence of previous AVM embolization (p = 0.002), smaller nidus volume (p = 0.014), absence of AVM-associated arterial aneurysms (p = 0.023), and higher margin dose (p < 0.001) were statistically significant independent predictors of optimal outcome in a multivariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS Stereotactic radiosurgery provided better outcomes for patients with small, unruptured SM Grade III AVMs than for large or ruptured SM Grade III nidi. A prospective trial or registry that facilitates a comparison of SRS with conservative AVM management might further clarify the authors' observations for these often high-risk AVMs.

Keywords: ARUBA = A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain AVMs; AVM = arteriovenous malformation; EBRT = external-beam radiation therapy; Gamma Knife; RBAS = radiosurgery-based AVM score; RIC = radiation-induced change; SAIVM = Scottish Audit of Intracranial Vascular Malformations; SM = Spetzler-Martin; SRS = stereotactic radiosurgery; Spetzler-Martin Grade III; VRAS = Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale; intracranial arteriovenous malformation; intracranial hemorrhages; radiosurgery; stereotactic radiosurgery; vascular disorders; vascular malformations.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / radiotherapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / diagnosis
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / radiotherapy*
  • Male
  • Radiosurgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rupture, Spontaneous / diagnosis
  • Rupture, Spontaneous / radiotherapy
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome