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Uzma Samadani, Sameer Farooq, Robert Ritlop, Floyd Warren, Marleen Reyes, Elizabeth Lamm, Anastasia Alex, Elena Nehrbass, Radek Kolecki, Michael Jureller, Julia Schneider, Agnes Chen, Chen Shi, Neil Mendhiratta, Jason H. Huang, Meng Qian, Roy Kwak, Artem Mikheev, Henry Rusinek, Ajax George, Robert Fergus, Douglas Kondziolka, Paul P. Huang, and R. Theodore Smith

OBJECT

Automated eye movement tracking may provide clues to nervous system function at many levels. Spatial calibration of the eye tracking device requires the subject to have relatively intact ocular motility that implies function of cranial nerves (CNs) III (oculomotor), IV (trochlear), and VI (abducent) and their associated nuclei, along with the multiple regions of the brain imparting cognition and volition. The authors have developed a technique for eye tracking that uses temporal rather than spatial calibration, enabling detection of impaired ability to move the pupil relative to normal (neurologically healthy) control volunteers. This work was performed to demonstrate that this technique may detect CN palsies related to brain compression and to provide insight into how the technique may be of value for evaluating neuropathological conditions associated with CN palsy, such as hydrocephalus or acute mass effect.

METHODS

The authors recorded subjects' eye movements by using an Eyelink 1000 eye tracker sampling at 500 Hz over 200 seconds while the subject viewed a music video playing inside an aperture on a computer monitor. The aperture moved in a rectangular pattern over a fixed time period. This technique was used to assess ocular motility in 157 neurologically healthy control subjects and 12 patients with either clinical CN III or VI palsy confirmed by neuro-ophthalmological examination, or surgically treatable pathological conditions potentially impacting these nerves. The authors compared the ratio of vertical to horizontal eye movement (height/width defined as aspect ratio) in normal and test subjects.

RESULTS

In 157 normal controls, the aspect ratio (height/width) for the left eye had a mean value ± SD of 1.0117 ± 0.0706. For the right eye, the aspect ratio had a mean of 1.0077 ± 0.0679 in these 157 subjects. There was no difference between sexes or ages. A patient with known CN VI palsy had a significantly increased aspect ratio (1.39), whereas 2 patients with known CN III palsy had significantly decreased ratios of 0.19 and 0.06, respectively. Three patients with surgically treatable pathological conditions impacting CN VI, such as infratentorial mass effect or hydrocephalus, had significantly increased ratios (1.84, 1.44, and 1.34, respectively) relative to normal controls, and 6 patients with supratentorial mass effect had significantly decreased ratios (0.27, 0.53, 0.62, 0.45, 0.49, and 0.41, respectively). These alterations in eye tracking all reverted to normal ranges after surgical treatment of underlying pathological conditions in these 9 neurosurgical cases.

CONCLUSIONS

This proof of concept series of cases suggests that the use of eye tracking to detect CN palsy while the patient watches television or its equivalent represents a new capacity for this technology. It may provide a new tool for the assessment of multiple CNS functions that can potentially be useful in the assessment of awake patients with elevated intracranial pressure from hydrocephalus or trauma.

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Omar Tanweer, Taylor A. Wilson, Stephen P. Kalhorn, John G. Golfinos, Paul P. Huang, and Douglas Kondziolka

OBJECT

Physicians are often solicited by patients or colleagues for clinical recommendations they would make for themselves if faced by a clinical situation. The act of making a recommendation can alter the clinical course being taken. The authors sought to understand this dynamic across different neurosurgical scenarios by examining how neurosurgeons value the procedures that they offer.

METHODS

The authors conducted an online survey using the Congress of Neurological Surgeons listserv in May 2013. Respondents were randomized to answer either as the surgeon or as the patient. Questions encompassed an array of distinct neurosurgical scenarios. Data on practice parameters and experience levels were also collected.

RESULTS

Of the 534 survey responses, 279 responded as the “neurosurgeon” and 255 as the “patient.” For both vestibular schwannoma and arteriovenous malformation management, more respondents chose resection for their patient but radiosurgery for themselves (p = 0.002 and p = 0.001, respectively). Aneurysm coiling was chosen more often than clipping, but those whose practice was ≥ 30% open cerebrovascular neurosurgery were less likely to choose coiling. Overall, neurosurgeons who focus predominantly on tumors were more aggressive in managing the glioma, vestibular schwannoma, arteriovenous malformation, and trauma. Neurosurgeons more than 10 years out of residency were less likely to recommend surgery for management of spinal pain, aneurysm, arteriovenous malformation, and trauma scenarios.

CONCLUSIONS

In the majority of cases, altering the role of the surgeon did not change the decision to pursue treatment. In certain clinical scenarios, however, neurosurgeons chose treatment options for themselves that were different from what they would have chosen for (or recommended to) their patients. For the management of vestibular schwannomas, arteriovenous malformations, intracranial aneurysms, and hypertensive hemorrhages, responses favored less invasive interventions when the surgeon was the patient. These findings are likely a result of cognitive biases, previous training, experience, areas of expertise, and personal values.

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Aditya Iyer, Gillian Harrison, Hideyuki Kano, Gregory M. Weiner, Neal Luther, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger, L. Dade Lunsford, and Douglas Kondziolka

Object

The aim of this study was to evaluate the imaging response of brain metastases after radiosurgery and to correlate the response with tumor type and patient survival.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of patients who had undergone Gamma Knife radiosurgery for brain metastases from non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), breast cancer, or melanoma. The imaging volumetric response by tumor type was plotted at 3-month intervals and classified as a sustained decrease in tumor volume (Type A), a transient decrease followed by a delayed increase in tumor volume (Type B), or a sustained increase in tumor volume (Type C). These imaging responses were then compared with patient survival and tumor type.

Results

Two hundred thirty-three patients with metastases from NSCLC (96 patients), breast cancer (98 patients), and melanoma (39 patients) were eligible for inclusion in this study. The patients with NSCLC were most likely to exhibit a Type A response; those with breast cancer, a Type B response; and those with melanoma, a Type C response. Among patients with NSCLC, the median overall survival was 11.2 months for those with a Type A response (76 patients), 8.6 months for those with a Type B response (6 patients), and 10.5 months for those with a Type C response (14 patients). Among patients with breast cancer, the median overall survival was 16.6 months in those with a Type A response (65 patients), 18.1 months in those with a Type B response (20 patients), and 7.5 months in those with a Type C response (13 patients). For patients with melanoma, the median overall survival was 5.2 months in those with a Type A response (26 patients) and 6.7 months in those with a Type C response (13 patients). None of the patients with melanoma had a Type B response. The imaging response was significantly associated with survival only in patients with breast cancer.

Conclusions

The various types of imaging responses of metastatic brain tumors after stereotactic radiosurgery depend in part on tumor type. However, the type of response only correlates with survival in patients with breast cancer.

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Jason P. Sheehan, Robert M. Starke, Hideyuki Kano, Anthony M. Kaufmann, David Mathieu, Fred A. Zeiler, Michael West, Samuel T. Chao, Gandhi Varma, Veronica L. S. Chiang, James B. Yu, Heyoung L. McBride, Peter Nakaji, Emad Youssef, Norissa Honea, Stephen Rush, Douglas Kondziolka, John Y. K. Lee, Robert L. Bailey, Sandeep Kunwar, Paula Petti, and L. Dade Lunsford

Object

Parasellar and sellar meningiomas are challenging tumors owing in part to their proximity to important neurovascular and endocrine structures. Complete resection can be associated with significant morbidity, and incomplete resections are common. In this study, the authors evaluated the outcomes of parasellar and sellar meningiomas managed with Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) both as an adjunct to microsurgical removal or conventional radiation therapy and as a primary treatment modality.

Methods

A multicenter study of patients with benign sellar and parasellar meningiomas was conducted through the North American Gamma Knife Consortium. For the period spanning 1988 to 2011 at 10 centers, the authors identified all patients with sellar and/or parasellar meningiomas treated with GKRS. Patients were also required to have a minimum of 6 months of imaging and clinical follow-up after GKRS. Factors predictive of new neurological deficits following GKRS were assessed via univariate and multivariate analyses. Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox multivariate regression analysis were used to assess factors predictive of tumor progression.

Results

The authors identified 763 patients with sellar and/or parasellar meningiomas treated with GKRS. Patients were assessed clinically and with neuroimaging at routine intervals following GKRS. There were 567 females (74.3%) and 196 males (25.7%) with a median age of 56 years (range 8–90 years). Three hundred fifty-five patients (50.7%) had undergone at least one resection before GKRS, and 3.8% had undergone prior radiation therapy. The median follow-up after GKRS was 66.7 months (range 6–216 months). At the last follow-up, tumor volumes remained stable or decreased in 90.2% of patients. Actuarial progression-free survival rates at 3, 5, 8, and 10 years were 98%, 95%, 88%, and 82%, respectively. More than one prior surgery, prior radiation therapy, or a tumor margin dose < 13 Gy significantly increased the likelihood of tumor progression after GKRS.

At the last clinical follow-up, 86.2% of patients demonstrated no change or improvement in their neurological condition, whereas 13.8% of patients experienced symptom progression. New or worsening cranial nerve deficits were seen in 9.6% of patients, with cranial nerve (CN) V being the most adversely affected nerve. Functional improvements in CNs, especially in CNs V and VI, were observed in 34% of patients with preexisting deficits. New or worsened endocrinopathies were demonstrated in 1.6% of patients; hypothyroidism was the most frequent deficiency. Unfavorable outcome with tumor growth and accompanying neurological decline was statistically more likely in patients with larger tumor volumes (p = 0.022) and more than 1 prior surgery (p = 0.021).

Conclusions

Gamma Knife radiosurgery provides a high rate of tumor control for patients with parasellar or sellar meningiomas, and tumor control is accompanied by neurological preservation or improvement in most patients.

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John H. Sampson, Shivanand P. Lad, James E. Herndon II, Robert M. Starke, and Douglas Kondziolka

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Douglas Kondziolka, Phillip V. Parry, L. Dade Lunsford, Hideyuki Kano, John C. Flickinger, Susan Rakfal, Yoshio Arai, Jay S. Loeffler, Stephen Rush, Jonathan P. S. Knisely, Jason Sheehan, William Friedman, Ahmad A. Tarhini, Lanie Francis, Frank Lieberman, Manmeet S. Ahluwalia, Mark E. Linskey, Michael McDermott, Paul Sperduto, and Roger Stupp

Object

Estimating survival time in cancer patients is crucial for clinicians, patients, families, and payers. To provide appropriate and cost-effective care, various data sources are used to provide rational, reliable, and reproducible estimates. The accuracy of such estimates is unknown.

Methods

The authors prospectively estimated survival in 150 consecutive cancer patients (median age 62 years) with brain metastases undergoing radiosurgery. They recorded cancer type, number of brain metastases, neurological presentation, extracranial disease status, Karnofsky Performance Scale score, Recursive Partitioning Analysis class, prior whole-brain radiotherapy, and synchronous or metachronous presentation. Finally, the authors asked 18 medical, radiation, or surgical oncologists to predict survival from the time of treatment.

Results

The actual median patient survival was 10.3 months (95% CI 6.4–14). The median physician-predicted survival was 9.7 months (neurosurgeons = 11.8 months, radiation oncologists = 11.0 months, and medical oncologist = 7.2 months). For patients who died before 10 months, both neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists generally predicted survivals that were more optimistic and medical oncologists that were less so, although no group could accurately predict survivors alive at 14 months. All physicians had individual patient survival predictions that were incorrect by as much as 12–18 months, and 14 of 18 physicians had individual predictions that were in error by more than 18 months. Of the 2700 predictions, 1226 (45%) were off by more than 6 months and 488 (18%) were off by more than 12 months.

Conclusions

Although crucial, predicting the survival of cancer patients is difficult. In this study all physicians were unable to accurately predict longer-term survivors. Despite valuable clinical data and predictive scoring techniques, brain and systemic management often led to patient survivals well beyond estimated survivals.

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Douglas Kondziolka

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Beatriz E. Amendola and Aizik L. Wolf

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Douglas Kondziolka