Purpose: Between June 1988 and June 1994. 38 hemangioblastomas were treated with stereotactic radiosurgery (SR) at three SR centers to evaluate the efficacy and potential toxicity of this therapeutic modality as an adjuvant or alternative treatment to surgical resection.
Methods and materials: SR was performed using either a 201-cobalt source unit or a dedicated SR linear accelerator. Of the 18 primary tumors treated, 16 had no prior history of surgical resection and were treated definitively with SR and two primary lesions were subtotally resected and subsequently treated with SR. Twenty lesions were treated with SR after prior surgical failure (17 tumors) or failure after prior surgery and conventional radiotherapy (three tumors). Eight patients were treated with SR for multifocal disease (total, 24 known tumors). SR tumor volumes measured 0.05 to 12 cc (median: 0.97 cc). Minimum tumor doses ranged from 12 to 20 Gy (median: 15.5 Gy).
Results: Median follow-up from the time of SR was 24.5 months (range: 6-77 months). The 2-year actuarial over-all survival was 88 +/- 15% (95% confidence interval). Two-year actuarial freedom from progression was 86 +/- 12% (95% confidence interval). The median tumor volume of the lesions that failed to be controlled by SR was 7.85 cc (range: 3.20-10.53 cc) compared to 0.67 cc (range: 0.05-12 cc) for controlled lesions (p - 0.0023). The lesions that failed to be controlled by SR received a median minimum tumor dose of 14 Gy (range: 13-17 Gy) compared to 16 Gy (range: 12-20 Gy) for controlled lesions (p = 0.0239). Seventy-eight percent of the surviving patients remained neurologically stable or clinically improved. There were no significant permanent complications directly attributable to SR.
Conclusions: This report documents the largest experience in the literature of the use of SR in the treatment of hemangioblastoma. We conclude that SR: (a) controls the majority of primary and recurrent hemangioblastomas; (b) offers the ability to treat multiple lesions in a single treatment session, which is particularly important for patients with Von Hippel-Lindau Syndrome; and that (c) better control rates are associated with higher doses and smaller tumor volumes.