Existence of a Dose-Length Effect in Spinal Nerves Receiving Single-Session Stereotactic Ablative Radiation Therapy

Brian Hrycushko, Albert J. van der Kogel, Lauren Phillips, Michael Folkert, James W. Sayre, Steven Vernino, Nima Hassan-Rezaeian, Ryan D. Foster, Yoshiya Yamada, Robert Timmerman, Paul M. Medin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: The spinal nerves have been observed to have a similar single-session dose tolerance to that of the spinal cord in pigs. Small-animal studies have shown that spinal cord dose tolerance depends on the length irradiated. This work aims to determine whether a dose-length effect exists for spinal nerves. Methods and Materials: Twenty-seven Yucatan minipigs underwent computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging for treatment planning, followed by single-session stereotactic ablative radiation therapy. A 0.5 cm length of the left-sided C6, C7, and C8 spinal nerves was targeted. The pigs were distributed into 6 groups with prescription doses of 16 Gy (n = 5), 18 Gy (n = 5), 20 Gy (n = 5), 22 Gy (n = 5), 24 Gy (n = 5), or 36 Gy (n = 2) and corresponding maximum doses of 16.7, 19.1, 21.3, 23.1, 25.5, and 38.6 Gy, respectively. Neurologic status was assessed with a serial electrodiagnostic examination and daily observation of gait for approximately 52 weeks. A histopathologic examination of paraffin-embedded sections with Luxol fast blue/periodic acid-Schiff's staining was also performed. Results: Marked gait change was observed in 8 of 27 irradiated pigs. The latency for responding pigs was 11 to 16 weeks after irradiation. The affected animals presented with a limp in the left front limb, and 62.5% of these pigs had electrodiagnostic evidence of denervation in the C6 and C7 innervated muscles. A probit analysis showed the dose associated with a 50% incidence of gait change is 23.9 Gy (95% confidence interval, 22.5-25.8 Gy), which is 20% higher than that reported in a companion study where a 1.5 cm length was irradiated. All symptomatic pigs had demyelination and fibrosis in the irradiated nerves, but the contralateral nerves and spinal cord were normal. Conclusions: A dose-length effect was observed for single-session irradiation of the spinal nerves in a Yucatan minipig model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1010-1016
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Existence of a Dose-Length Effect in Spinal Nerves Receiving Single-Session Stereotactic Ablative Radiation Therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this