Outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery for pilocytic astrocytoma: An international multiinstitutional study

Erin S. Murphy, Shireen Parsai, Hideyuki Kano, Jason P. Sheehan, Roberto Martinez-Alvarez, Nuria Martinez-Moreno, Douglas Kondziolka, Gabriela Simonova, Roman Liscak, David Mathieu, Cheng Chia Lee, Huai Che Yang, John Y. Lee, Brendan J. McShane, Fang Fang, Daniel M. Trifiletti, Mayur Sharma, Gene H. Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE The current standard initial therapy for pilocytic astrocytoma is maximal safe resection. Radiation therapy is considered for residual, recurrent, or unresectable pilocytic astrocytomas. However, the optimal radiation strategy has not yet been established. Here, the authors describe the outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for pilocytic astrocytoma in a large multiinstitutional cohort. METHODS An institutional review board–approved multiinstitutional database of patients treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) between 1990 and 2016 was queried. Data were gathered from 9 participating International Radiosurgery Research Foundation (IRRF) centers. Patients with a histological diagnosis of pilocytic astrocytoma treated using a single session of GKRS and with at least 6 months of follow-up were included in the analysis. RESULTS A total of 141 patients were analyzed in the study. The median patient age was 14 years (range 2–84 years) at the time of GKRS. The median follow-up was 67.3 months. Thirty-nine percent of patients underwent SRS as the initial therapy, whereas 61% underwent SRS as salvage treatment. The median tumor volume was 3.45 cm3. The tumor location was the brainstem in 30% of cases, with a nonbrainstem location in the remainder. Five- and 10-year overall survival rates at the last follow-up were 95.7% and 92.5%, respectively. Five- and 10-year progression-free survival (PFS) rates were 74.0% and 69.7%, respectively. On univariate analysis, an age < 18 years, tumor volumes < 4.5 cm3, and no prior radiotherapy or chemotherapy were identified as positive prognostic factors for improved PFS. On multivariate analysis, only prior radiotherapy was significant for worse PFS. CONCLUSIONS This represents the largest study of single-session GKRS for pilocytic astrocytoma to date. Favorable long-term PFS and overall survival were observed with GKRS. Further prospective studies should be performed to evaluate appropriate radiosurgery dosing, timing, and sequencing of treatment along with their impact on toxicity and the quality of life of patients with pilocytic astrocytoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Gamma Knife
  • Oncology
  • Pilocytic astrocytoma
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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