Treatment for insular (paralimbic) gliomas is controversial. In this report the authors summarize their experience with microsurgical resection of insular tumors.
The authors analyzed complications, functional outcomes, and survival in a series of 101 operations performed in 94 patients between 1995 and 2005.
A > 90% resection was achieved in 42%, and 70–90% tumor removal was accomplished in 51% of cases. Functional outcomes varied considerably between patient subgroups. For example, in neurologically intact patients ≤ 40 years of age with WHO Grade I–III tumors, good outcomes (Karnofsky Performance Scale Score 80–100) were seen in 91% of cases. Predictors of an unfavorable functional outcome included histological features of glioblastoma, advanced age, and a low preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale score. One year after surgery, 76% of patients who had presented with epilepsy were seizure free or experienced only isolated, nondebilitating seizures. Surprisingly good survival rates were seen after surgery for anaplastic gliomas. The median survival for patients with anaplastic astrocytomas (WHO Grade III) was 5 years, and the 5-year survival rate for those with anaplastic oligodendroglial tumors was 80%. Independent predictors of survival included younger age, favorable histological features (WHO Grade I and oligodendroglial tumors), Yaşargil Type 5A/B tumors with frontal extensions, and more extensive resections.
Insular tumor surgery carries substantial complication rates. However, surprisingly similar figures have been reported in large unselected craniotomy series and also after alternative treatment regimens. In view of the oncological benefits of resective surgery, our data would therefore argue for microsurgery as the primary treatment for most patients with a presumed WHO Grade I–III tumor. Patients with glioblastomas and/or age > 60 years require a more cautious approach.