OBJECTIVE: Stereotactic radiosurgery has been used for nearly 2 decades to treat hemangioblastomas, particularly those that are in surgically inaccessible locations or that are multiple, as is common in von Hippel-Lindau disease. There is a paucity of long-term published radiosurgical treatment outcomes, particularly for spinal lesions, in a large patient population. The purpose of this study was to provide a long-term retrospective evaluation of radiosurgical hemangioblastoma treatment effectiveness, with a special emphasis on the relatively recent use of frameless, image-guided radiosurgery in the treatment of spinal lesions.
METHODS: From 1991 to 2007, 92 hemangioblastomas in 31 patients, 26 with von Hippel-Lindau disease, were treated with radiosurgery (27 tumors treated with frame-based linear accelerator radiosurgery, and 67 tumors were treated with CyberKnife radiosurgery). The mean patient age was 41 years (range, 18–81 years). The radiation dose to the tumor periphery averaged 23.4 Gy (range, 12–40 Gy). The mean tumor volume was 1.8 cm3 (range, 0.058–65.4 cm3). Tumor response was evaluated in serial, contrast-enhanced, computed tomographic, and magnetic resonance imaging scans.
RESULTS: Clinical and radiographic follow-up data were available for 82 hemangioblastoma tumors. Only 13 (16%) of the treated hemangioblastomas progressed, whereas 18 tumors (22%) showed radiographic regression, and 51 tumors (62%) remained unchanged in size. With median follow-up of 69 months (range, 5–164 months), the actuarial local control rates at 36 and 60 months were 85% and 82%, respectively. Radiosurgery improved lesion-associated symptoms in 36 of 41 tumors. During the follow-up period, 9 patients died of causes unrelated to the progression of their treated hemangioblastomas, and 5 patients developed radiation necrosis.
CONCLUSION: Stereotactic radiosurgery is safe and effective in the treatment of hemangioblastomas and is an attractive alternative to surgery for patients, including those with von Hippel-Lindau disease.