✓ The cases of seven patients with intramedullary, cryptic vascular malformations of the spinal cord are reported. In all patients, the clinical course was progressive; a Brown-Séquard syndrome was the most common presenting symptom complex. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was performed in all patients. The pattern seen most often was a focus of high signal (on both T1- and T2-weighted MR images) surrounded by a larger zone of low signal (best seen on T2-weighted images), and was remarkably similar for all patients. Six patients underwent surgical exploration; removal of the lesions halted the progression of symptoms in five patients, and one patient had worsened sensory function after surgery. Motor function did not decrease postoperatively in any patient. The one patient who refused surgery has continued to decline neurologically. Histopathological examination of surgical specimens showed a cavernous malformation in one patient, a venous malformation in one, venous varices in two, and organizing hematomas in two; these findings are markedly different from those in previously reported cases of cryptic vascular malformations.
Stanley L. Barnwell, Christopher F. Dowd, Richard L. Davis, Michael S. B. Edwards, Philip H. Gutin and Charles B. Wilson
Michael S. B. Edwards, William M. Wara, Raul C. Urtasun, Michael Prados, Victor A. Levin, Dorcas Fulton, Charles B. Wilson, John Hannigan and Pamela Silver
✓ Fifty-three patients (19 adults and 34 children) harboring brain-stem glioma were treated with hyperfractionated radiation therapy (100 cGy twice a day, 5 days/wk, to a total dose of 7200 cGy). For the entire group, the median time to tumor progression (TTP) was 59 weeks (adults 66 weeks, children 44 weeks) and the median survival time was 74 weeks (adults 92 weeks, children 64 weeks). Statistically significant prognostic factors associated with a decrease in TTP and median survival times (adults < children) were: patient's age, a clinical history of less than 2 months, widespread brain-stem dysfunction, and a diffuse tumor as seen on magnetic resonance imaging. A finding of glioblastoma multiforme at histological analysis was associated with a statistical trend toward poorer survival, but in general tumor histology was not predictive of outcome. No evidence of an increase in acute or delayed radiation toxicity was seen with this fractionation schedule and total dose. This study suggests that hyperfractionation prolongs the TTP and survival time for many patients with brain-stem glioma. However, there remains a group of patients who are only moderately helped by this technique and for whom more aggressive treatment is warranted.
Takao Hoshino, Luis A. Rodriguez, Kyung G. Cho, Kyu S. Lee, Charles B. Wilson, Michael S. B. Edwards, Victor A. Levin and Richard L. Davis
✓ The proliferative potential of low-grade astrocytomas was estimated in 47 patients. Each patient received an intravenous infusion of bromodeoxyuridine (BUdR), 150 to 200 mg/sq m, at the time of craniotomy to label cells in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis; the percentage of S-phase cells, or BUdR labeling index (LI), of each tumor was determined immunohistochemically. In 29 patients (60%), the tumors had BUdR LI's of less than 1%, indicating a slow growth rate; only three (10%) of these patients died of recurrent tumor during a follow-up period of up to 3½ years. In contrast, of the 18 patients (40%) whose tumors had BUdR LI's of 1% or more, 12 (67%) had a recurrence and nine died during the same follow-up period. These results show that the proliferative potential, as reflected by the BUdR LI, is an important prognostic factor that separates low-grade astrocytomas into two groups and provides a more scientific rationale for selecting treatment for individual patients.
Michael S. B. Edwards, Roger J. Hudgins, Charles B. Wilson, Victor A. Levin and William M. Wara
✓ The authors believe that the preferred treatment for pineal region tumors in children requires definitive surgery with a histological diagnosis and that a conservative approach consisting of shunting and radiation therapy no longer seems to be appropriate. The results are reported of a retrospective review of the presentation, treatment, and outcome of 36 children under the age of 18 years treated between 1974 and 1986. Eleven children had germinomas (two-cell type), seven had astrocytomas, and the remaining 18 had 15 histologically different tumor types. Surgery was performed on 30 patients; there were no deaths, but a 10% rate of persistent morbidity was found. The median follow-up period was 4 years. Nine (82%) of 11 patients with germinomas are alive without evidence of recurrence; one child died from recurrent tumor in the pineal region and another is presently being treated for recurrent tumor of the spinal cord. Six (86%) of the seven patients with astrocytoma are well after biopsy and radiation therapy. Of the remaining 18 children, five (28%) died from tumor progression.
The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tumor markers α-fetoprotein and β-human chorionic gonadotropin were helpful in determining the presence of malignant germ-cell tumors, particularly those with a poor prognosis. Magnetic resonance imaging was useful for diagnosis and for planning the operative approach. Magnetic resonance images showed the presence of pineal region tumors in four children with hydrocephalus who had no evidence of tumor on computerized tomography scans.
Because the great variety of tumor types found in the pineal region must be treated in different ways and because improved microsurgical and stereotaxic surgical techniques have made mortality and morbidity rates acceptably low, a biopsy diagnosis should be obtained in all patients. Preoperative assessment of CSF tumor markers and cytology is useful for the identification of patients who have a poor prognosis.
Victor A. Levin, Luis A. Rodriguez, Michael S. B. Edwards, William Wara, Hsiu-Chih Liu, Dorcas Fulton, Richard L. Davis, Charles B. Wilson and Pamela Silver
✓ Forty-seven patients with medulloblastoma were treated postoperatively with procarbazine, followed by craniospinal radiation therapy in combination with hydroxyurea. The radiation dose to the posterior fossa was 55 Gy; the spinal cord received 25 Gy and the whole brain 25 to 35 Gy (mean 33 Gy).
Seventeen tumors recurred. Only one initial recurrence was in the spinal subarachnoid space; 10 (59%) were in the posterior fossa, and four (24%) were supratentorial. The estimated 5-year disease-free survival probability was 55%; the 5-year overall survival rate was 66%. Myelotoxicity occurred in 38% of patients, but in only one case was it severe enough to warrant reducing the total dose of radiation. It was concluded that good-risk medulloblastoma patients may be treated with radiation dosages as low as 25 Gy to the spinal axis and to the whole brain without increasing the risk of recurrence outside the posterior fossa. Chemotherapy with procarbazine followed by radiation therapy and hydroxyurea during radiation therapy was well tolerated and may play a role in reducing radiation dosages outside the posterior fossa.
Ali K. Choucair, Victor A. Levin, Philip H. Gutin, Richard L. Davis, Pamela Silver, Michael S. B. Edwards and Charles B. Wilson
✓ To determine the percentage of patients who developed multiple central nervous system (CNS) gliomas during postoperative radiation therapy and chemotherapy, the authors reviewed the records of 1047 patients treated between December 2, 1976, and August 16, 1985, who had an original diagnosis of supratentorial glioblastoma multiforme or other anaplastic glioma. The occurrence of multiple lesions was verified by neurodiagnostic studies (computerized tomography or myelography) or by findings at operation or autopsy. Twelve patients (1.1%) who presented with multiple lesions were excluded from this analysis. There were 405 patients with glioblastoma multiforme; their median age was 46.5 years (range 22 to 70 years). Eighteen (5%) of these patients had multiple CNS lesions, five of which were in the spinal cord. The median time from diagnosis to detection of the second lesion in this group was 59.5 weeks (range 10 to 182 weeks). There were 630 patients with anaplastic glioma (which included mixed malignant glioma and highly anaplastic, gemistocytic, moderately anaplastic, and anaplastic astrocytomas); their median age was 30 years (range 2 to 62 years). Fifty-four (8.6%) of these patients had multiple lesions, 10 of which were in the spinal cord; only one case of extraneural metastasis was found. The median time from diagnosis to detection of the second lesion in this group was 101 weeks (range 14 to 459 weeks). These results show that more than 90% of CNS gliomas recur at the site of the original tumor. Considering the high frequency of intellectual dysfunction after whole-brain radiation therapy, the use of focal radiation fields appears to be the most judicious approach to the treatment of patients with gliomas.
Griffith Rutherford Harsh IV, Michael S. B. Edwards and Charles B. Wilson
✓ The clinical and radiographic findings, surgical treatment, and outcome in 16 pediatric patients with intracranial arachnoid cysts are reviewed. The clinical presentation reflected the anatomical location of the lesions. Computerized tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scans were diagnostic in all cases. Of the nine cysts treated primarily or secondarily by craniotomy for fenestration and drainage into the basilar cisterns, five recurred. Cyst-peritoneal shunting led to diminished cyst size and clinical improvement in all seven cases in which it was used as the initial treatment and in all four cases in which fenestration had been unsuccessful. The results in this series show that cyst-peritoneal shunting is the treatment of choice for most intracranial arachnoid cysts in children.
Takao Hoshino, Tadashi Nagashima, Judith A. Murovic, Charles B. Wilson, Michael S. B. Edwards, Philip H. Gutin, Richard L. Davis and Stephen J. DeArmond
✓ Thirty-eight patients undergoing surgical removal of neuroectodermal tumors of the central nervous system were given a 1-hour intravenous infusion of bromodeoxyuridine (BUdR), 150 to 200 mg/sq m, to label tumor cells in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis phase (S-phase). The excised tumor specimens were divided into two portions: one was fixed with 70% ethanol and embedded in paraffin and the other was digested with an enzyme cocktail to make a single-cell suspension. The paraffin-embedded tissues were stained by an indirect peroxidase method using anti-BUdR monoclonal antibody (MA) as the first antibody. Single-cell suspensions were reacted with fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-conjugated anti-BUdR MA's for flow cytometric analysis. S-phase cells that had incorporated BUdR into their DNA were well stained by both methods. The percentage of BUdR-labeled cells, or S-phase fraction, was calculated in tissue sections by microscopic examination and in single-cell suspensions by flow cytometric analysis. The biological malignancy of the tumors was reflected in the S-phase fractions, which were 5% to 20% for glioblastoma multiforme, medulloblastoma, and highly anaplastic astrocytoma, but less than 1% in most moderately anaplastic astrocytomas, ependymomas, and mixed gliomas. Two juvenile pilocytic astrocytomas and two low-grade astrocytomas from children had high S-phase fractions despite the fairly benign and slow-growing nature of these tumors. These results indicate that the S-phase fraction obtained immunocytochemically with anti-BUdR MA's may provide useful information in estimating the biological malignancy of human central nervous system tumors in situ.
Victor A. Levin, Michael S. B. Edwards, Philip H. Gutin, Pamela Vestnys, Dorcas Fulton, Margaret Seager and Charles B. Wilson
✓ The authors have conducted a Phase II trial to evaluate orally administered dibromodulcitol in the treatment of 40 evaluable patients with recurrent medulloblastoma, ependymoma, and malignant astrocytoma. Ten of 20 patients harboring medulloblastoma responded to therapy with a median time to tumor progression (MTP) of 40 weeks, and four of 20 patients had no sign of progression of disease 4 years after treatment was begun. The MTP for all 12 patients with ependymoma was 30 weeks. Nine of these 12 patients had stabilization of their disease with an MTP of 67 weeks; three of these 12 patients had no signs of progression for 1 to 3 years after treatment was begun. Of six patients harboring supratentorial gliomas, none responded to dibromodulcitol. Two patients, one with a primitive neuroectodermal tumor and the other with a metastatic carcinoma of the breast, had stabilization of disease for more than 4 and 2 years, respectively.
Favorable results with syringoperitoneal shunting
Nicholas M. Barbaro, Charles B. Wilson, Philip H. Gutin and Michael S. B. Edwards
✓ The authors reviewed the clinical findings, radiological evaluation, and operative therapy of 39 patients with syringomyelia. Syringoperitoneal (SP) shunting was used in 15 patients and other procedures were used in 24 patients. Follow-up periods ranged from 1½ to 12 years. During the period of this study, metrizamide myelography in conjunction with early and delayed computerized tomography scanning replaced all other diagnostic procedures in patients with syringomyelia. Preoperative accuracy for the two procedures was 87%.
The most common symptoms were weakness (79%), sensory loss (67%), pain (38%), and leg stiffness (28%). Surgery was most effective in stabilizing or alleviating pain (100%), sensory loss (81%), and weakness (74%); spasticity, headache, and bowel or bladder dysfunction were less likely to be reversed. Approximately 80% of patients with idiopathic and posttraumatic syringomyelia and 70% of those with arachnoiditis improved or stabilized. Better results were obtained in patients with less severe neurological deficits, suggesting the need for early operative intervention. A higher percentage of patients had neurological improvement with SP shunting than with any other procedure, especially when SP shunting was the first operation performed. Patients treated with SP shunts also had the highest complication rate, most often shunt malfunction. These results indicate that SP shunting is effective in reversing or arresting neurological deterioration in patients with syringomyelia.