Stereotactic radiosurgery: a review and comparison of methods

J Clin Oncol. 1994 May;12(5):1085-99. doi: 10.1200/JCO.1994.12.5.1085.


Purpose: Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is an evolving modality for treating well-circumscribed intracranial lesions. Different physical methods have been developed to deliver highly localized dose distributions accurately. We review the different methods and the documented clinical results to present a coherent view of radiosurgery, and to aid physicians and physicists in the appropriate use of this modality.

Design: A review of the medical physics and clinical literature was conducted. The physical aspects of the different methods and their impact on treatment were summarized. Results were compiled from those individual clinical series with adequate follow-up data to compare the various modalities with respect to treatment outcome for benign tumors, metastases, and vascular malformations.

Results: The physical accuracy was comparable between radiosurgical methods. Differences between gamma radiation and linear accelerator methods had little effect on the dose distribution for single isocenter treatments. Charged particle methods could produce better dose localization for large lesions (> 25 cm3) than was possible with photon methods. Clinical results indicate similar lesion control rates between all radiosurgical methods. There was a progressive increase in the median size of treated lesions for gamma radiation, linear accelerator, and charged particle methods.

Conclusion: For small lesions (< 5 cm3), physical dose distributions are similar for the photon methods, but linear accelerator methods offer more flexibility for the treatment of intermediate-sized (5 to 25 cm3) lesions in applying future technical developments. More clinical results are needed before firm conclusions can be drawn on the type of lesions to be treated, and the dose-volume parameters to be used.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Gamma Rays
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriovenous Malformations / surgery
  • Particle Accelerators
  • Pituitary Gland / surgery
  • Radiosurgery / instrumentation
  • Radiosurgery / methods*