OBJECTIVE: To determine the limiting dose to the optic apparatus in single-fraction irradiation in patients with craniopharyngioma treated with gamma knife radiosurgery (GKRS).
METHODS: One hundred patients with 109 craniopharyngiomas treated with GKRS were evaluated with a median follow-up period of 68 months. Tumor volume varied from 0.1 to 36.0 (median, 3.3) cm3. Marginal doses varied from 10 to 18 (median, 11.4) Gy. Maximum dose to any part of the optic apparatus varied from 2 to 18 (median, 10) Gy.
RESULTS: The actuarial 5- and 10-year overall rates of survival of tumor progression after GKRS were 93% and 88%, respectively. Similarly, the actuarial 5- and 10-year progressionfree survival rates were 62% and 52%, respectively. Among 94 patients in whom visual function was evaluable after GKRS, only 3 patients developed radiation-induced optic neuropathy, indicating an overall Kaplan-Meier radiation-induced optic neuropathy rate of 5%. Of these patients, 2 received 15 Gy or greater to the optic apparatus. Another patient who received 8 Gy or less had undergone previous fractionated radiation therapy with a biologically effective dose of 60 Gy.
CONCLUSION: The optic apparatus seems to be more tolerant of irradiation than previously thought. Careful dose planning is essential, particularly in patients who underwent prior external beam radiation therapy.