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Tamara Ius, Teresa Somma, Roberto Altieri, Filippo Flavio Angileri, Giuseppe Maria Barbagallo, Paolo Cappabianca, Francesco Certo, Fabio Cofano, Alessandro D’Elia, Giuseppe Maria Della Pepa, Vincenzo Esposito, Marco Maria Fontanella, Antonino Germanò, Diego Garbossa, Miriam Isola, Giuseppe La Rocca, Francesco Maiuri, Alessandro Olivi, Pier Paolo Panciani, Fabrizio Pignotti, Miran Skrap, Giannantonio Spena, and Giovanni Sabatino

OBJECTIVE

Approximately half of glioblastoma (GBM) cases develop in geriatric patients, and this trend is destined to increase with the aging of the population. The optimal strategy for management of GBM in elderly patients remains controversial. The aim of this study was to assess the role of surgery in the elderly (≥ 65 years old) based on clinical, molecular, and imaging data routinely available in neurosurgical departments and to assess a prognostic survival score that could be helpful in stratifying the prognosis for elderly GBM patients.

METHODS

Clinical, radiological, surgical, and molecular data were retrospectively analyzed in 322 patients with GBM from 9 neurosurgical centers. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify predictors of survival. A random forest approach (classification and regression tree [CART] analysis) was utilized to create the prognostic survival score.

RESULTS

Survival analysis showed that overall survival (OS) was influenced by age as a continuous variable (p = 0.018), MGMT (p = 0.012), extent of resection (EOR; p = 0.002), and preoperative tumor growth pattern (evaluated with the preoperative T1/T2 MRI index; p = 0.002). CART analysis was used to create the prognostic survival score, forming six different survival groups on the basis of tumor volumetric, surgical, and molecular features. Terminal nodes with similar hazard ratios were grouped together to form a final diagram composed of five classes with different OSs (p < 0.0001). EOR was the most robust influencing factor in the algorithm hierarchy, while age appeared at the third node of the CART algorithm. The ability of the prognostic survival score to predict death was determined by a Harrell’s c-index of 0.75 (95% CI 0.76–0.81).

CONCLUSIONS

The CART algorithm provided a promising, thorough, and new clinical prognostic survival score for elderly surgical patients with GBM. The prognostic survival score can be useful to stratify survival risk in elderly GBM patients with different surgical, radiological, and molecular profiles, thus assisting physicians in daily clinical management. The preliminary model, however, requires validation with future prospective investigations. Practical recommendations for clinicians/surgeons would strengthen the quality of the study; e.g., surgery can be considered as a first therapeutic option in the workflow of elderly patients with GBM, especially when the preoperative estimated EOR is greater than 80%.

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Pantaleo Romanelli, Alfredo Conti, Antonio Pontoriero, Giuseppe Kenneth Ricciardi, Francesco Tomasello, Costantino De Renzis, Gualtiero Innocenzi, Vincenzo Esposito, and Giampaolo Cantore

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a devastating malignant brain tumor characterized by resistance to available therapeutic approaches and relentless malignant progression that includes widespread intracranial invasion, destruction of normal brain tissue, progressive disability, and death. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (fSRT) are increasingly used in patients with recurrent GBM to complement traditional treatments such as resection, conventional external beam radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Both SRS and fSRT are powerful noninvasive therapeutic modalities well suited to treat focal neoplastic lesions through the delivery of precise, highdose radiation. Although no randomized clinical trials have been performed, a variety of retrospective studies have been focused on the use of SRS and fSRT for recurrent GBMs. In addition, state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques, such as MR spectroscopic imaging, diffusion tensor tractography, and nuclear medicine imaging, have enhanced treatment planning methods leading to potentially improved clinical outcomes. In this paper the authors reviewed the current applications and efficacy of SRS and fSRT in the treatment of GBM, highlighting the value of these therapies for recurrent focal disease.

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Sergio Paolini, Giuseppe Lanzino, Claudio Colonnese, Eugenio Venditti, Giampaolo Cantore, and Vincenzo Esposito

Dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) with pure leptomeningeal drainage may be cured by simple interruption of their venous side. This report illustrates the cases of 3 patients undergoing surgery for fistulas classified as Borden Type III, involving the posterior cranial fossa. Preoperatively, the surgical anatomy of these lesions was investigated with 3D reformatting of multislice CT angiography, in addition to conventional angiography. Reformatted images clarified the surgical anatomy of the malformation. Reconstructing both the osseous and the vascular structures and simulating the surgical orientation allowed localization of the dural takeoff point of the DAVF's drainage, showing its relationship with osseous landmarks. Precise localization of the DAVF's drainage may help in choosing the most direct and effective approach to treat the malformation. The reported cases could be treated with a standard retrosigmoid exposure, avoiding the need for more complex cranial base approaches.

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Sergio Paolini, Claudio Colonnese, Vittorio Galasso, Roberta Morace, Serena Tola, Vincenzo Esposito, and Giampaolo Cantore

✓ Spinal extradural arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) are rare lesions that may be associated with neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1). In these patients, the shunt typically occurs between the V2 segment of the vertebral artery and the epidural venous plexus. Previously, reported cases have been treated either by using endovascular embolization or, sporadically, by open surgery. In surgical reports, proximal deafferentation or manipulation of the venous portion of the shunt—including suture, resection, or open embolization of the epidural ectasia—was attempted with variable results. The authors report on a case of a young patient with NF1 who underwent emergency surgical disconnection of a cervical extradural AVF after previously unsuccessful endovascular and surgical therapy. The lesion drained into a giant intrathecal varix, causing severe myelopathy. After surgery, the patient recovered almost completely. This experience clarified the surgical anatomy of these malformations and showed that, when surgery is necessary, the optimal treatment providing complete and permanent cure of this condition is direct closure of the epidural shunt pedicle.

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Sergio Paolini, Roberta Morace, Giancarlo Di Gennaro, Angelo Picardi, Liliana G. Grammaldo, Giulio Nicolò Meldolesi, Pier Paolo Quarato, Antonino Raco, and Vincenzo Esposito

Object

Supratentorial cavernous angiomas may be associated with drug-resistant focal epilepsy. Surgical removal of the malformation may result in seizure control in a number of patients, although in most studies a long history and high frequency of attacks have been recognized as indicators of unfavorable seizure outcome. In the literature, there are no clear indications regarding the optimal diagnostic presurgical workup and the surgical strategy for this particular subgroup of patients with symptomatic epilepsy. In this paper the authors focus on the preoperative workup and the surgical management of the disease in eight consecutive patients undergoing surgery for drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) due to cavernous malformations (CMs), and the relevant literature on this issue is also reviewed.

Methods

Preoperatively, all patients were assessed using a noninvasive protocol aimed at localizing the epileptogenic zone on the basis of anatomical, electrical, and clinical criteria. The presurgical assessment yielded an indication for lesionectomy in two cases, lesionectomy plus anteromesial temporal lobectomy in four cases, and lesionectomy plus extended temporal lobectomy in two cases. At follow-up examinations, seizure, neuropsychological, and psychiatric outcomes were all evaluated. Seven patients were categorized in Engel Class IA (seizure free), and one was categorized in Engel Class IB (occasional auras only). No adverse effects on neuropsychological or psychosocial functioning were observed.

Conclusions

Epilepsy surgery can be performed with excellent results in patients with intractable TLE caused by CMs. Noninvasive presurgical evaluation of these patients may enable a tailored approach, providing complete seizure relief in most cases.

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Vincenzo Esposito, Sergio Paolini, and Roberta Morace

✓The management of cavernous malformations of the brain is markedly influenced by the location of the lesions themselves. In the last decade, resection of cavernomas arising in the dominant insular lobe has been deemed safe only with the guidance of neuronavigation. Most navigation equipment, however, shares some minor drawbacks, including costs, longer operating time, and a variable loss of accuracy due to intraoperative brain shift. In this paper the authors present the case of a left dominant insular cavernoma that was successfully removed using a novel form of navigation that they call magnetic resonance imaging–based corticotopography. This technique, which is unaffected by the brain shift phenomenon, provided a simple and inexpensive alternative to standard neuronavigation. Selected cases of subcortical brain lesions could be conveniently approached using the same technique.

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Roberto Tarantino, Vincenzo Esposito, Paolo Missori, and Giampaolo Cantore

✓ The authors describe the case of a 12-year-old girl in whom a pseudomalignant osseous tumor of the soft tissue was diagnosed. The lesion was resected, and at 3-year postresection follow-up examination, neuroradiological studies demonstrated no recurrence of the tumor.

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Bernardo Fraioli, Vincenzo Esposito, Antonio Santoro, Giorgio Iannetti, Renato Giuffrè, and Gianpaolo Cantore

✓ A transmaxillosphenoidal approach was used to remove sellar tumors invading the cavernous sinus. This procedure, a widening of the standard transsphenoidal approach to the sella turcica, uses the sublabial or transnasal route in which the medial wall of the maxillary sinus is laterally dislocated. This method provides good exposure of the prominences of bone above the carotid artery which lies on the posterolateral wall of the sphenoid sinus. This bone area is the key to opening the cavernous sinus inferomedially and removing lesions within its medial compartment.

The inferomedial approach takes an entirely extracerebral route so that tumors invading the cavernous sinus through its medial wall are approached inferomedially following the direction of tumor growth. It also allows direct visualization of the intracavernous carotid artery during tumor removal, thus sparing the cranial nerves, which run on the opposite side. Adequate surgical exposure of a pituitary adenoma is achieved with a custom-made sphenoidal retractor with asymmetric blades, the shorter blade holding aside the thin medial wall of the maxillary sinus.

Between October, 1989, and July, 1993, 11 patients with tumors invading the cavernous sinus underwent surgery via this approach; 10 had pituitary adenomas and one had a craniopharyngioma. Eight tumors were treated by primary operation: four tumors were totally and four subtotally (> 80%) removed; one tumor already operated on elsewhere was totally removed; and of two tumors already operated on and irradiated, one was subtotally removed and the other only partially (approximately 40%) removed owing to marked postirradiation scarring. None of the patients suffered permanent cranial nerve deficit and all but one showed marked clinical improvement.

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Nicola Di Lorenzo, Vincenzo Esposito, Pierpaolo Lunardi, Roberto Delfini, Aldo Fortuna, and Giampaolo Cantore

✓ Forty-one patients with brain lesions underwent brain biopsy using either a computerized tomography (CT)-guided stereotactic approach or an ultrasound-guided technique. The cases were selected according to location and size of the mass lesion. Lesions 15 mm or less in diameter and those in the posterior fossa were biopsied by a CT-guided stereotactic technique (18 patients). Supratentorial lesions with a diameter larger than 15 mm were approached using ultrasound guidance (23 patients). These criteria for procedure selection provided a diagnostic yield of 94% for the CT-guided procedures and 91% for those guided by ultrasound. Safety for the two procedures was similar. The ultrasound procedure was more rapid, simpler, and less costly to perform. It is concluded that, with the protocol described, CT-guided stereotactic procedures could be reserved for cases in which absolute accuracy is mandatory.