Brachytherapy of recurrent tumors of the skull base and spine with iodine-125 sources
Thirteen patients with recurrent, previously irradiated tumors of the skull base or spine were reirradiated with 125I sources implanted interstitially using microsurgical or stereotactic techniques. Patients harbored difficult, end-stage recurrences of chordoma, meningioma, malignant meningioma, fibrosarcoma, invasive pituitary adenoma, and malignant schwannoma. In two other patients with malignant meningioma, the dose of external radiation was augmented by implanting 125I sources during the initial operation for excision of the lesion or at a separate surgical procedure after conventional teletherapy. Microsurgical implantation of 125I sources into basal tumors was limited by the difficulties inherent in operating in this region; it is not possible to visualize the entire tumor that requires implantation. Three of five chordomas stabilized or regressed; these patients probably benefited from the procedure. Two patients with recurrent malignant meningiomas had long term remission after interstitial brachytherapy. Interstitial 125I brachytherapy for recurrent tumors at the base of skull or adjacent to the spine can be more successful only if more aggressive surgical exposures of these regions are attempted. Implantation of sources for a "boost" dose, either microsurgically during the initial surgical resection of the lesion before conventional teletherapy or stereotactically after conventional teletherapy, may be a valuable adjunct to external irradiation for the control of potentially devastating tumors (such as chordomas and malignant meningiomas) before they recur with the severe consequences seen in the patients reported here.