Radiosurgical Treatment for Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

2014-07-23 21:11:56 | BioPortfolio


Up to 40% of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) patients do not respond to conventional treatments (medications or behavior therapy). For some of them, a neurosurgical treatment can be indicated. Among various surgical techniques, Gamma Knife radiosurgery has the advantage of not requiring the production of burr hole openings in the skull. However, there are no randomized controlled trials of radiosurgical procedures.

The investigators' aim is to investigate whether radiosurgery for the treatment of severe and refractory OCD is efficacious and safe, by a double-blind, randomized controlled trial. Forty-eight refractory OCD patients will be randomized into two different groups: the first one will receive standard radiosurgery; the second group will be submitted to a false radiosurgery ("sham operation"). Patients who had been previously submitted to sham surgery will be able to undergo real operations after one year of follow-up, when blinding is broken. For a minimum period of one year, patients will be periodically followed-up in terms of psychiatric changes (including OCD symptoms), global functioning, cognitive/personality changes and neuroimaging findings.


Various studies have demonstrated that good treatment responses in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are often obtained in 60 to 80 % of patients, whether employing serotonin reuptake inhibitors or behavior therapy. However, a subgroup of OCD patients are refractory to the classical therapeutic options, even after maximum dosage regimens and sufficiently long treatment follow-ups are devised. Severe psychosocial and occupational impairments are meanwhile observable. These subjects are often referred to stereotactic neurosurgeries. Among the various surgical techniques, a radiosurgical modality (double-shot ventral capsular/ventral striatal - VC/VS gamma capsulotomy, or simply double-shot gamma ventral capsulotomy) has been recently developed. On the other hand, there are no randomized controlled trials of Gamma Knife radiosurgeries in Psychiatry.

The aim of this study is to investigate whether double-shot VC/VS gamma capsulotomy is efficacious and to describe its adverse events/complications profiles, in a double-blind, randomized controlled trial of this radiosurgical technique for the treatment of refractory OCD.

Forty-eight refractory OCD patients will be randomized into two different groups: the first one will receive standard radiosurgery; the second group will be submitted to a false radiosurgical intervention ("sham operation"). All subjects will be previously assessed by a preliminary clinical/psychiatric interview, as well as by extensive specific instruments regarding psychiatric diagnosis, OCD evolution and severity, anxiety/depression symptoms, tics expression, psychosocial impairment, personality changes, etc. A neuropsychological tests battery will also be employed. All patients will be offered a periodical follow-up, during which assessment scales and neuroimaging exams (magnetic resonance imaging) will be repeated. Patients who had been previously submitted to placebo surgery will be able to undergo real operations after the one-year follow-up period, when blinding is broken. Scores results will be analyzed among the groups, as well as adverse events profiles, cognitive/personality changes, clinical global functioning and neuroimaging findings. Improvements in Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS) and Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scores will be taken as the primary treatment response criteria.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


ventral capsular/ventral striatal gamma capsulotomy


Department and Institute of Psychiatry, General Hospital, University of São Paulo Medical School
São Paulo




University of Sao Paulo General Hospital

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:11:56-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A large group of nuclei lying between the internal medullary lamina and the internal capsule. It includes the ventral anterior, ventral lateral, and ventral posterior nuclei.

The region of the telencephalon located rostral and ventral to the STRIATUM comprising AMYGDALA; SEPTAL NUCLEI; SUBSTANTIA INNOMINATA and ventral pallidum.

Region in the ventral TELENCEPHALON located anterior to the OPTIC CHIASM, posterior to the OLFACTORY PEDUNCLE, rostral to the PIRIFORM AREA and ventral to the NUCLEUS ACCUMBENS.

The front part of hindbrain that lies between MEDULLA OBLONGATA and the midbrain (MESENCEPHALON) ventral to the CEREBELLUM. It is composed of two parts, the dorsal and the ventral. Pons serves as a relay station for important neural pathways between the cerebellum to the CEREBRUM.

A region in the mesencephalon which is dorsomedial to the substantia nigra and ventral to the red nucleus. The mesocortical and mesolimbic dopaminergic systems originate here, including an important projection to the nucleus accumbens. Overactivity of the cells in this area has been suspected to contribute to the positive symptoms of schizophrenia.

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