Subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) are WHO grade 1 tumors associated with tuberous sclerosis that classically arise from the ventricular wall near the caudate groove and foramen of Monro. Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a minimally invasive surgical technique, which works by heating a stereotactically placed laser fiber to ablative temperatures under MRI thermometry monitoring. In this paper, the authors present LITT as a surgical alternative to open resection of SEGAs.
Twelve patients with SEGAs who underwent 16 procedures between 2007 and 2022 at a single institution were retrospectively reviewed. These patients underwent either open resection or LITT. Clinical data, imaging, recurrence rate, further treatments, and related complications were analyzed.
Among the 16 procedures, 9 were open resection and 7 were LITT. An external ventricular drain was placed in 66% (6/9) of open procedures and 57.1% (4/7) of LITT cases. A septostomy was performed in 56% (5/9) of open procedures and 29% (2/7) of LITT cases. Complication rates were higher in open cases than in LITT procedures (44% vs 0%, p < 0.05). Complications included hydrocephalus, transient venous ischemia, wound infection, and bone flap migration. The median length of hospital stay was 4 days (IQR 3.3–5.5 days) for open cases and 4 days (IQR 3.0–7.0 days) for LITT procedures. Recurrence or progression occurred after 3 open cases and 2 LITT cases (33% vs 33%, p = 0.803). For the recurrences, 2 open cases underwent stereotactic radiosurgery, 1 open case underwent LITT, and 1 LITT case underwent repeat LITT. Among the LITT cases, only the patients with no decrease in tumor size by 6 months experienced tumor progression afterward. The 2 LITT cases with progression were the only ones with calcification present on preoperative imaging. The median follow-up times for cases assessed for progression were 8.4 years (IQR 3.8–14.4 years) for open resection and 3.9 years (IQR 3.4–5.1 years) for LITT.
The small size of this case series limits generalizability or adequate comparison of safety. However, this series adds to the literature supporting LITT as a less invasive surgical alternative to open resection of SEGAs and demonstrates that LITT has similar recurrence and/or progression rates to open resection. Additional studies with more data are necessary for comprehensive comparisons between open resection and LITT for treating SEGA.