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Letter to the Editor. AtlasGPT and beyond: optimizing neurosurgical chatbots through data sources and transfer learning

Ali A. Mohamed, Phillip Mitchell Johansen, and Brandon Lucke-Wold

Open access

Characteristics of radiation-induced brain tumors: case series and systematic review

Shumpei Onishi, Fumiyuki Yamasaki, Yasuyuki Kinoshita, Vishwa Jeet Amatya, Ushio Yonezawa, Akira Taguchi, Iori Ozono, Yugo Maeda, Novita Ikbar Khairunnisa, Yukari Go, Yukio Takeshima, and Nobutaka Horie

OBJECTIVE

Radiation therapy (RT) improves the outcome of patients with cancer but introduces the risk of radiation-induced neoplasms in cancer survivors. The most common radiation-induced brain tumors (RIBTs) are gliomas (RIGs), meningiomas (RIMs), and sarcomas (RISs). To investigate the characteristics of these RIBTs, the authors conducted a comprehensive review and analysis of their case series and relevant cases from the literature.

METHODS

Sixteen patients in the case series and 941 patients from the literature who previously underwent cranial irradiation were included in this study. The age at irradiation for primary disease was recorded, and the latency period from irradiation to the development of RIBT and the median overall survival (OS) of patients with RIBTs were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method. Patients were stratified by age at the time of irradiation (pediatric vs nonpediatric) and the irradiation dose (higher vs lower dose), and latency and OS were compared using the log-rank test.

RESULTS

Among patients with RIBTs, 23.4% underwent radiation at < 5 years of age, and 46.6% underwent RT in the 1st decade of life. The median ages at cranial irradiation were 8.4 (IQR 4.1–16) years in patients with RIMs, 9 (IQR 5–23) years in patients with RIGs, and 27.7 (IQR 13.8–40) years in patients with RISs. The median latency period from irradiation to the development of RIM was significantly longer than that to the development of RIG and RIS (RIM: 20 years, RIG: 9 years, RIS: 10 years; p < 0.0001). The latency period was shorter in the nonpediatric patient group with RIMs (p = 0.047). The OS was significantly longer in patients with RIMs than in those with RIGs and RISs (RIM: not reached, RIG: 11 months, RIS: 11 months; p < 0.0001). The OS of patients with RIMs and RIGs was significantly shorter in patients who received higher radiation doses (p = 0.0095 and p = 0.0026, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

The prognosis was poor and worse for patients with RIGs and RISs than for those with RIMs, and patients with RIBTs who underwent higher-dose irradiation for primary disease had poor prognoses. Because RIBTs develop more than a decade after cranial irradiation, long-term follow-up is crucial.

Open access

Surgical treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations in patients with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia: a single-center experience

Joseph Frantzias, Jacob H. Bagley, and Gary K. Steinberg

OBJECTIVE

Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is an autosomal-dominant disorder characterized by multiple vascular malformations. Brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs) are a significant manifestation of HHT. The surgical management of these lesions in patients with HHT remains debated, with limited literature on postoperative outcomes. The goal of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of surgical treatment for bAVMs in patients with HHT and propose a treatment rationale based on a single-center experience.

METHODS

This retrospective review included 20 patients diagnosed with HHT who underwent resection of 23 bAVMs at the Stanford University Medical Center between January 2007 and September 2023. Data were also collected on bAVMs treated conservatively, with embolization, or with radiosurgery at the authors’ institution, for comparison.

RESULTS

There were 16 Spetzler-Martin (SM) grade I, 6 SM grade II, and 1 SM grade IV bAVM. Six of the bAVMs presented with neurological symptoms (3 with hemorrhage and 3 with focal neurological deficits), while the rest were detected on routine screening. Complete excision was angiographically confirmed in all patients, with a mean overall hospital stay of 2.1 days and a mean follow-up of 36 months. Postoperative complications were limited to transient mild weakness in 2 patients, 1 of whom also had transient speech deficits, and visual field deficits in 3 patients, 2 of whom improved on long-term follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

In this most extensive surgical series published to date, resection of bAVMs in patients with HHT showed favorable outcomes with a low complication rate, suggesting that the benefits of surgery outweigh the risks, especially considering the potential cumulative lifetime risk of hemorrhage. MR arterial spin labeling was found to be the most sensitive noninvasive measure of detecting bAVMs in patients with HHT.

Open access

Superior cerebellar peduncle deep brain stimulation for cerebral palsy

Suzhen Lin, Ningfei Li, Yimei Shu, Tao Wang, Peng Huang, Yixin Pan, Bomin Sun, Chencheng Zhang, Dianyou Li, and Yiwen Wu

OBJECTIVE

Patients with coexisting spastic cerebral palsy (CP) and dystonia have limited treatment options. In this study, the authors aimed to evaluate the efficacy of deep brain stimulation (DBS) targeting the superior cerebellar peduncles (SCPs) in adults with CP.

METHODS

Five patients with CP and medically refractory dystonia and spasticity underwent SCP DBS. Assessments included the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale (BFMDRS), modified Ashworth scale (mAS), and tests of cognition, mental status, and quality of life preoperatively and at 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively (in both DBS ON and OFF states, double blinded). Active contacts and fiber bundles were examined.

RESULTS

Four patients completed follow-up. The BFMDRS motor score decreased from 74 to 52 at 12 months postoperatively (30%, p = 0.008). The mean mAS score indicated significant spasticity reduction (from 2.9 ± 0.9 to 1.9 ± 0.6 after 12 months, p = 0.0454). Quality of life improved (p < 0.01), while cognition remained unaffected. Active contacts were found within the dentato-rubro-thalamic tract, with variable efficiency in decussating and nondecussating portions.

CONCLUSIONS

In this pilot trial, SCP DBS showed promise as a well-tolerated treatment for CP, improving dystonic symptoms, spasticity, quality of life, and functional capacities. However, caution is needed when interpreting the results given the small sample size and heterogeneous motor outcomes.

Open access

Early GFAP and UCH-L1 point-of-care biomarker measurements for the prediction of traumatic brain injury and progression in patients with polytrauma and hemorrhagic shock

Jason L. Sperry, James F. Luther, David O. Okonkwo, Laura E. Vincent, Vikas Agarwal, Bryan A. Cotton, Jeremy W. Cannon, Martin A. Schreiber, Ernest E. Moore, Nicholas Namias, Joseph P. Minei, Kelly L. Urbanek, Mark H. Yazer, Ava M. Puccio, Erin E. Fox, Joshua B. Brown, Matthew D. Neal, Frank X. Guyette, and Stephen R. Wisniewski

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and hemorrhage are responsible for the largest proportion of all trauma-related deaths. In polytrauma patients at risk of hemorrhage and TBI, the diagnosis, prognosis, and management of TBI remain poorly characterized. The authors sought to characterize the predictive capabilities of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) measurements in patients with hemorrhagic shock with and without concomitant TBI.

METHODS

The authors performed a secondary analysis on serial blood samples derived from a prospective observational cohort study that focused on comparing early whole-blood and component resuscitation. A convenience sample of patients was used in which samples were collected at three time points and the presence of TBI or no TBI via CT imaging was documented. GFAP and UCH-L1 measurements were performed on plasma samples using the i-STAT Alinity point-of-care platform. Using classification tree recursive partitioning, the authors determined the measurement cut points for each biomarker to maximize the abilities for predicting the diagnosis of TBI, Rotterdam CT imaging scores, and 6-month Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended (GOSE) scores.

RESULTS

Biomarker comparisons demonstrated that GFAP and UCH-L1 measurements were associated with the presence of TBI at all time points. Classification tree analyses demonstrated that a GFAP level > 286 pg/ml for the sample taken upon the patient’s arrival had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.77 for predicting the presence of TBI. The classification tree results demonstrated that a cut point of 3094 pg/ml for the arrival GFAP measurement was the most predictive for an elevated Rotterdam score on the initial and second CT scans and for TBI progression between scans. No significant associations between any of the most predictive cut points for UCH-L1 and Rotterdam CT scores or TBI progression were found. The predictive capabilities of UCH-L1 were limited by the range allowed by the point-of-care platform. Arrival GFAP cut points remained strong independent predictors after controlling for all potential polytrauma confounders, including injury characteristics, shock severity, and resuscitation.

CONCLUSIONS

Early measurements of GFAP and UCH-L1 on a point-of-care device are significantly associated with CT-diagnosed TBI in patients with polytrauma and shock. Early elevated GFAP measurements are associated with worse head CT scan Rotterdam scores, TBI progression, and worse GOSE scores, and these associations are independent of other injury attributes, shock severity, and early resuscitation characteristics.

Open access

Microscope-integrated optical coherence tomography for in vivo human brain tumor detection with artificial intelligence

Patrick Kuppler, Paul Strenge, Birgit Lange, Sonja Spahr-Hess, Wolfgang Draxinger, Christian Hagel, Dirk Theisen-Kunde, Ralf Brinkmann, Robert Huber, Volker Tronnier, and Matteo Mario Bonsanto

OBJECTIVE

It has been shown that optical coherence tomography (OCT) can identify brain tumor tissue and potentially be used for intraoperative margin diagnostics. However, there is limited evidence on its use in human in vivo settings, particularly in terms of its applicability and accuracy of residual brain tumor detection (RTD). For this reason, a microscope-integrated OCT system was examined to determine in vivo feasibility of RTD after resection with automated scan analysis.

METHODS

Healthy and diseased brain was 3D scanned at the resection edge in 18 brain tumor patients and investigated for its informative value in regard to intraoperative tissue classification. Biopsies were taken at these locations and labeled by a neuropathologist for further analysis as ground truth. Optical OCT properties were obtained, compared, and used for separation with machine learning. In addition, two artificial intelligence–assisted methods were utilized for scan classification, and all approaches were examined for RTD accuracy and compared to standard techniques.

RESULTS

In vivo OCT tissue scanning was feasible and easily integrable into the surgical workflow. Measured backscattered light signal intensity, signal attenuation, and signal homogeneity were significantly distinctive in the comparison of scanned white matter to increasing levels of scanned tumor infiltration (p < 0.001) and achieved high values of accuracy (85%) for the detection of diseased brain in the tumor margin with support vector machine separation. A neuronal network approach achieved 82% accuracy and an autoencoder approach 85% accuracy in the detection of diseased brain in the tumor margin. Differentiating cortical gray matter from tumor tissue was not technically feasible in vivo.

CONCLUSIONS

In vivo OCT scanning of the human brain has been shown to contain significant value for intraoperative RTD, supporting what has previously been discussed for ex vivo OCT brain tumor scanning, with the perspective of complementing current intraoperative methods for this purpose, especially when deciding to withdraw from further resection toward the end of the surgery.

Open access

Generation and applications of synthetic computed tomography images for neurosurgical planning

Yiheng Tan, Ruchit V. Patel, Zongming Wang, Yu Luo, Jinping Chen, Jie Luo, Wenli Chen, Zhigang Mao, Raymond Y. Huang, Haijun Wang, Wenya Linda Bi, and Shun Yao

OBJECTIVE

CT and MRI are synergistic in the information provided for neurosurgical planning. While obtaining both types of images lends unique data from each, doing so adds to cost and exposes patients to additional ionizing radiation after MRI has been performed. Cross-modal synthesis of high-resolution CT images from MRI sequences offers an appealing solution. The authors therefore sought to develop a deep learning conditional generative adversarial network (cGAN) which performs this synthesis.

METHODS

Preoperative paired CT and contrast-enhanced MR images were collected for patients with meningioma, pituitary tumor, vestibular schwannoma, and cerebrovascular disease. CT and MR images were denoised, field corrected, and coregistered. MR images were fed to a cGAN that exported a "synthetic" CT scan. The accuracy of synthetic CT images was assessed objectively using the quantitative similarity metrics as well as by clinical features such as sella and internal auditory canal (IAC) dimensions and mastoid/clinoid/sphenoid aeration.

RESULTS

A total of 92,981 paired CT/MR images obtained in 80 patients were used for training/testing, and 10,068 paired images from 10 patients were used for external validation. Synthetic CT images reconstructed the bony skull base and convexity with relatively high accuracy. Measurements of the sella and IAC showed a median relative error between synthetic CT scans and ground truth images of 6%, with greater variability in IAC reconstruction compared with the sella. Aerations in the mastoid, clinoid, and sphenoid regions were generally captured, although there was heterogeneity in finer air cell septations. Performance varied based on pathology studied, with the highest limitation observed in evaluating meningiomas with intratumoral calcifications or calvarial invasion.

CONCLUSIONS

The generation of high-resolution CT scans from MR images through cGAN offers promise for a wide range of applications in cranial and spinal neurosurgery, especially as an adjunct for preoperative evaluation. Optimizing cGAN performance on specific anatomical regions may increase its clinical viability.

Open access

Association of frequent NF2 mutations with spinal location predominance and worse outcomes in psammomatous meningiomas

Leihao Ren, Qing Xie, Jiaojiao Deng, Jiawei Chen, Jinxiu Yu, Daijun Wang, Hiroaki Wakimoto, Ye Gong, and Lingyang Hua

OBJECTIVE

Psammomatous meningiomas (PMs) are a rare histological subtype of meningioma but are rather frequent in spinal meningiomas. The authors aimed to analyze the incidence, clinical features, molecular alterations, long-term outcomes, and prognostic factors of PMs.

METHODS

In total, 151 patients with PMs were included in this study. Clinical characteristics, molecular alterations, and progression-free survival (PFS) were analyzed in PMs. Clinical characteristics were compared between PMs and other WHO grade 1 meningiomas. Targeted sequencing of meningioma-relevant genes was performed to determine the molecular alterations in PMs.

RESULTS

PMs accounted for 1.34% of all meningiomas. Clinically, spinal location (p < 0.001) and female predominance (p < 0.001) were statistically significant in PMs when compared with the other grade 1 subtypes. Radiologically, calcification was frequently found in PMs (88.24%). Genetically, NF2 was the most frequently mutated gene in PMs (59.7%), followed by TRAF7 and AKT1. Ten patients experienced recurrence during the long-term follow-up. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that age (p = 0.009), extent of resection (p < 0.001), Ki-67 index (p = 0.007), and NF2 status (p < 0.001) were independent prognostic factors in the cohort of PMs. Interestingly, NF2 mutation was detected in all (48/48) spinal PMs (SPMs) but in only 38.46% (35/91) of cranial PMs (CPMs), revealing a significant difference (p < 0.001). The mean Ki-67 index (p = 0.044) and proportion of PMs with PR-positive expression (p = 0.048) were significantly higher in SPMs than in CPMs. The frequent NF2 mutations are associated with spinal location predominance and worse PFS in PMs.

CONCLUSIONS

Female sex and spinal location predominance were statistically significant in PMs. NF2 mutation was an independent predictor for worse PFS of PMs. Of note, NF2 mutation was detected in all SPMs but in only 38.46% of CPMs, revealing a significant difference.

Free access

Erratum. Grade 3 meningioma survival and recurrence outcomes in an international multicenter cohort

Serge Makarenko

Open access

Molecularly targeted protease-activated probes for visualization of glioblastoma: a comparison with 5-ALA

Dora Konečná, Petr Výmola, Nikola Ternerová, Barbora Výmolová, Elena Garcia-Borja, Rosana Mateu, Filip Šroubek, Jan Pankrác, John C. Widen, Matthew Bogyo, David Netuka, Petr Bušek, and Aleksi Šedo

OBJECTIVE

The highly infiltrative growth of glioblastoma (GBM) makes distinction between the tumor and normal brain tissue challenging. Therefore, fluorescence-guided surgery is often used to improve visual identification of radiological tumor margins. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of recently developed molecularly targeted near-infrared (NIR) protease-activated probes to visualize GBM tissue and to compare the most promising candidate with the gold standard, 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA).

METHODS

Single-substrate probes 6QC-ICG and 6QC-Cy5 (cysteine cathepsin cleavable), double-substrate probes AG2-FNIR and AG2-Cy5 (cysteine cathepsin and caspase 3 cleavable), and 5-ALA were administered intravenously to mice with orthotopic tumors. Activation of the probes was also evaluated in cell cultures in vitro and in biopsy material from patients with GBM ex vivo. The tumor to normal brain tissue fluorescence ratio (TNR) was quantified in brain sections using preclinical and clinical visualization platforms, and in tissue homogenates and cell suspensions using spectrofluorimetry. Subcellular localization of the fluorophores was visualized by confocal microscopy.

RESULTS

In vitro, the single-substrate probe 6QC-ICG was cleaved in glioma cells and macrophages, and the resulting fluorophore accumulated intracellularly. In experimental GBMs, both single- and double-substrate probes visualized tumor tissue, while in healthy brain tissue the signal was minimal. TNR was highest for 6QC-ICG and AG2-FNIR, but the signal intensity was higher for 6QC-ICG. Using xenograft and syngeneic mouse models, as well as human GBM biopsy material ex vivo, the authors confirmed the ability of 6QC-ICG to specifically visualize the glioma tissue using preclinical and clinical visualization platforms. Finally, a comparison with 5-ALA in animals coadministered with both compounds revealed a higher TNR for 6QC-ICG in experimental GBMs.

CONCLUSIONS

The cysteine cathepsin–cleavable probe 6QC-ICG is activated by glioma cells and tumor-associated macrophages, leading to a high contrast between tumor and nontumorous brain tissue that is superior to that of the current standard, 5-ALA. In addition to a well-defined mechanism of action, protease-activated probes that use NIR fluorophores (e.g., indocyanine green) have the advantage of low absorption and scattering of the NIR light and lower tissue autofluorescence. These results suggest that 6QC-ICG has the potential to become the targeted agent in intraoperative detection of GBM tissue using fluorescence imaging.