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Matthew Z. Sun, Taemin Oh, Michael E. Ivan, Aaron J. Clark, Michael Safaee, Eli T. Sayegh, Gurvinder Kaur, Andrew T. Parsa and Orin Bloch

OBJECT

There are few and conflicting reports on the effects of delayed initiation of chemoradiotherapy on the survival of patients with glioblastoma. The standard of care for newly diagnosed glioblastoma is concurrent radiotherapy and temozolomide chemotherapy after maximal safe resection; however, the optimal timing of such therapy is poorly defined. Given the lack of consensus in the literature, the authors performed a retrospective analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database to investigate the effect of time from surgery to initiation of therapy on survival in newly diagnosed glioblastoma.

METHODS

Patients with primary glioblastoma diagnosed since 2005 and treated according to the standard of care were identified from TCGA database. Kaplan-Meier and multivariate Cox regression analyses were used to compare overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) between groups stratified by postoperative delay to initiation of radiation treatment.

RESULTS

There were 218 patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma with known time to initiation of radiotherapy identified in the database. The median duration until therapy was 27 days. Delay to radiotherapy longer than the median was not associated with worse PFS (HR = 0.918, p = 0.680) or OS (HR = 1.135, p = 0.595) in multivariate analysis when controlling for age, sex, KPS score, and adjuvant chemotherapy. Patients in the highest and lowest quartiles for delay to therapy (≤ 20 days vs ≥ 36 days) did not statistically differ in PFS (p = 0.667) or OS (p = 0.124). The small subset of patients with particularly long delays (> 42 days) demonstrated worse OS (HR = 1.835, p = 0.019), but not PFS (p = 0.74).

CONCLUSIONS

Modest delay in initiation of postoperative chemotherapy and radiation does not appear to be associated with worse PFS or OS in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma, while significant delay longer than 6 weeks may be associated with worse OS.

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Eli T. Sayegh, Shayan Fakurnejad, Taemin Oh, Orin Bloch and Andrew T. Parsa

Patients who undergo craniotomy for brain tumor resection are prone to experiencing seizures, which can have debilitating medical, neurological, and psychosocial effects. A controversial issue in neurosurgery is the common practice of administering perioperative anticonvulsant prophylaxis to these patients despite a paucity of supporting data in the literature. The foreseeable benefits of this strategy must be balanced against potential adverse effects and interactions with critical medications such as chemotherapeutic agents and corticosteroids. Multiple disparate metaanalyses have been published on this topic but have not been applied into clinical practice, and, instead, personal preference frequently determines practice patterns in this area of management. Therefore, to select the current best available evidence to guide clinical decision making, the literature was evaluated to identify meta-analyses that investigated the efficacy and/or safety of anticonvulsant prophylaxis in this patient population. Six meta-analyses published between 1996 and 2011 were included in the present study. The Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses and Oxman-Guyatt methodological quality assessment tools were used to score these meta-analyses, and the Jadad decision algorithm was applied to determine the highest-quality meta-analysis. According to this analysis, 2 metaanalyses were deemed to be the current best available evidence, both of which conclude that prophylactic treatment does not improve seizure control in these patients. Therefore, this management strategy should not be routinely used.

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John D. Rolston, Seunggu J. Han, Orin Bloch and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Venous thromboembolisms (VTEs) occur frequently in surgical patients and can manifest as pulmonary emboli (PEs) or deep venous thromboses (DVTs). While many medical therapies have been shown to prevent VTEs, neurosurgeons are concerned about the use of anticoagulants in the postoperative setting. To better understand the prevalence of and the patient-level risk factors for VTE, the authors analyzed data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP).

Methods

Retrospective data on 1,777,035 patients for the years from 2006 to 2011 were acquired from the American College of Surgeons NSQIP database. Neurosurgical cases were extracted by querying the data for which the surgical specialty was listed as “neurological surgery.” Univariate statistics were calculated using the chi-square test, with 95% confidence intervals used for the resultant risk ratios. Multivariate models were constructed using binary logistic regression with a maximum number of 20 iterations.

Results

Venous thromboembolisms were found in 1.7% of neurosurgical patients, with DVTs roughly twice as common as PEs (1.3% vs 0.6%, respectively). Significant independent predictors included ventilator dependence, immobility (that is, quadriparesis, hemiparesis, or paraparesis), chronic steroid use, and sepsis. The risk of VTE was significantly higher in patients who had undergone cranial procedures (3.4%) than in those who had undergone spinal procedures (1.1%).

Conclusions

Venous thromboembolism is a common complication in neurosurgical patients, and the frequency has not changed appreciably over the past several years. Many factors were identified as independently predictive of VTEs in this population: ventilator dependence, immobility, and malignancy. Less anticipated predictors included chronic steroid use and sepsis. Venous thromboembolisms appear significantly more likely to occur in patients undergoing cranial procedures than in those undergoing spinal procedures. A better appreciation of the prevalence of and the risk factors for VTEs in neurosurgical patients will allow targeting of interventions and a better understanding of which patients are most at risk.

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Orin Bloch, Seunggu J. Han, Soonmee Cha, Matthew Z. Sun, Manish K. Aghi, Michael W. McDermott, Mitchel S. Berger and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Extent of resection (EOR) has been shown to be an important prognostic factor for survival in patients undergoing initial resection of glioblastoma (GBM), but the significance of EOR at repeat craniotomy for recurrence remains unclear. In this study the authors investigate the impact of EOR at initial and repeat resection of GBM on overall survival.

Methods

Medical records were reviewed for all patients undergoing craniotomy for GBM at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center from January 1, 2005, through August 15, 2009. Patients who had a second craniotomy for pathologically confirmed recurrence following radiation and chemotherapy were evaluated. Volumetric EOR was measured and classified as gross-total resection (GTR, > 95% by volume) or subtotal resection (STR, ≤ 95% by volume) after independent radiological review. Overall survival was compared between groups using univariate and multivariate analysis accounting for known prognostic factors, including age, eloquent location, Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), and adjuvant therapies.

Results

Multiple resections were performed in 107 patients. Fifty-two patients had initial GTR, of whom 31 (60%) had GTR at recurrence, with a median survival of 20.4 months (standard error [SE] 1.0 months), and 21 (40%) had STR at recurrence, with a median survival of 18.4 months (SE 0.5 months) (difference not statistically significant). Initial STR was performed in 55 patients, of whom 26 (47%) had GTR at recurrence, with a median survival of 19.0 months (SE 1.2 months), and 29 (53%) had STR, with a median survival of 15.9 months (SE 1.2 months) (p = 0.004). A Cox proportional hazards model was constructed demonstrating that age (HR 1.03, p = 0.004), KPS score at recurrence (HR 2.4, p = 0.02), and EOR at repeat resection (HR 0.62, p = 0.02) were independent predictors of survival. Extent of initial resection was not a statistically significant factor (p = 0.13) when repeat EOR was included in the model, suggesting that GTR at second craniotomy could overcome the effect of an initial STR.

Conclusions

Extent of resection at recurrence is an important predictor of overall survival. If GTR is achieved at recurrence, overall survival is maximized regardless of initial EOR, suggesting that patients with initial STR may benefit from surgery with a GTR at recurrence.

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Gurvinder Kaur, Orin Bloch, Brian J. Jian, Rajwant Kaur, Michael E. Sughrue, Manish K. Aghi, Michael W. McDermott, Mitchel S. Berger, Susan M. Chang and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

The presence of cystic features in glioblastoma (GBM) has been described as a favorable prognostic factor. The aim of this study was to determine the survival outcome in patients undergoing surgery for newly diagnosed primary GBM with a large cystic component as compared with a large cohort of patients with noncystic GBM, while controlling for well-characterized prognostic factors.

Methods

A retrospective review of 354 consecutive patients treated with resection of primary GBM was performed using medical records and imaging information obtained at the University of California, San Francisco from 2005 to 2009. Within this cohort, 37 patients with large cysts (≥ 50% of tumor) were identified. Clinical presentations and surgical outcomes were statistically compared between the cystic and noncystic patients.

Results

There were no statistically significant differences in clinical presentation between groups, including differences in age, sex, presenting symptoms, tumor location, or preoperative functional status, with the exception of tumor size, which was marginally larger in the cystic group. Surgical outcomes, including extent of resection and postoperative functional status, were equivalent. The median actuarial survival for the patients with cystic GBM was 17.0 months (95% CI 12.6–21.3 months), and the median survival for patients with noncystic GBM was 15.9 months (95% CI 14.6–17.2 months). There was no significant between-groups difference in survival (p = 0.99, log-rank test). A Cox multivariate regression model was constructed, which identified only age and extent of resection as independent predictors of survival. The presence of a cyst was not a statistically significant prognostic factor.

Conclusions

This study, comprising the largest series of cases of primary cystic GBM reported in the literature to date, demonstrates that the presence of a large cyst in patients with GBM does not significantly affect overall survival as compared with survival in patients without a cyst. Preoperative discussions with patients with GBM should focus on validated prognostic factors. The presence of cystic features does not confer a survival advantage.