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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2001 Dec 1;51(5):1313-9.

Dose conformity of gamma knife radiosurgery and risk factors for complications.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0226, USA.



To quantitatively evaluate dose conformity achieved using Gamma Knife radiosurgery, compare results with those reported in the literature, and evaluate risk factors for complications.


All lesions treated at our institution with Gamma Knife radiosurgery from May 1993 (when volume criteria were routinely recorded) through December 1998 were reviewed. Lesions were excluded from analysis for reasons listed below. Conformity index (the ratio of prescription volume to target volume) was calculated for all evaluable lesions and for lesions comparable to those reported in the literature on conformity of linac radiosurgery. Univariate Cox regression models were used to test for associations between treatment parameters and toxicity.


Of 1612 targets treated in 874 patients, 274 were excluded, most commonly for unavailability of individual prescription volume data because two or more lesions were included within the same dose matrix (176 lesions), intentional partial coverage for staged treatment of large arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) (33 lesions), and missing target volume data (26 lesions). The median conformity indices were 1.67 for all 1338 evaluable lesions and 1.40-1.43 for lesions comparable to two linac radiosurgery series that reported conformity indices of 1.8 and 2.7, respectively. Among all 651 patients evaluable for complications, there were one Grade 5, eight Grade 4, and 27 Grade 3 complications. Increased risk of toxicity was associated with larger target volume, maximum lesion diameter, prescription volume, or volume of nontarget tissue within the prescription volume.


Gamma Knife radiosurgery achieves much more conformal dose distributions than those reported for conventional linac radiosurgery and somewhat more conformal dose distributions than sophisticated linac radiosurgery techniques. Larger target, nontarget, or prescription volumes are associated with increased risk of toxicity.

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