Image-guided hypo-fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery to spinal lesions

S I Ryu, S D Chang, D H Kim, M J Murphy, Q T Le, D P Martin, J R Adler
Neurosurgery 2001, 49 (4): 838-46

OBJECTIVE: This article demonstrates the technical feasibility of noninvasive treatment of unresectable spinal vascular malformations and primary and metastatic spinal tumors by use of image-guided frameless stereotactic radiosurgery.

METHODS: Stereotactic radiosurgery delivers a high dose of radiation to a tumor volume or vascular malformation in a limited number of fractions and minimizes the dose to adjacent normal structures. Frameless image-guided radiosurgery was developed by coupling an orthogonal pair of x-ray cameras to a dynamically manipulated robot-mounted linear accelerator that guides the therapy beam to treatment sites within the spine or spinal cord, in an outpatient setting, and without the use of frame-based fixation. The system relies on skeletal landmarks or implanted fiducial markers to locate treatment targets. Sixteen patients with spinal lesions (hemangioblastomas, vascular malformations, metastatic carcinomas, schwannomas, a meningioma, and a chordoma) were treated with total treatment doses of 1100 to 2500 cGy in one to five fractions by use of image-guided frameless radiosurgery with the CyberKnife system (Accuray, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA). Thirteen radiosurgery plans were analyzed for compliance with conventional radiation therapy.

RESULTS: Tests demonstrated alignment of the treatment dose with the target volume within +/-1 mm by use of spine fiducials and the CyberKnife treatment planning system. Tumor patients with at least 6 months of follow-up have demonstrated no progression of disease. Radiographic follow-up is pending for the remaining patients. To date, no patients have experienced complications as a result of the procedure.

CONCLUSION: This experience demonstrates the feasibility of image-guided robotic radiosurgery for previously untreatable spinal lesions.

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