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J Neurosurg. 2001 Sep;95(3):507-12.

Fulminant radiation-induced necrosis after stereotactic radiation therapy to the posterior fossa. Case report and review of the literature.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, USA.


The problem of radiation-induced necrosis of normal brain surrounding the target area has been a major catalyst for the development of stereotactically focused radiation therapy. According to current opinion, the effects of stereotactic irradiation are confined to the region targeted. The authors present a case in which the administration of a conventional dose of stereotactically focused irradiation for treatment of a pilocytic astrocytoma produced fulminant necrosis that necessitated a combination of intensive surgical and medical management, after which the patient improved over the course of 1 year. Concomitant with his improvement, the initially remarkable findings on magnetic resonance imaging gradually resolved. In this presentation the authors emphasize the need to evaluate alternatives carefully before a decision is made to administer therapeutic irradiation. Furthermore, they explore the roles that target, host, and dosage factors play in hypersensitivity to radiation injury, the detection of these factors before treatment, and the administration of radioprotective agents. With the growing use of stereotactically focused irradiation as a primary treatment modality for a variety of neurosurgical conditions, it is important to be cognizant of its uncommon but potentially lethal side effects. A cooperative multicenter database in which the outcomes and morbidity following stereotactic irradiation are recorded is essential to the detection of relatively uncommon but severe complications such as those observed in this case.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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