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Tene A. Cage, Aaron J. Clark, Derick Aranda, Nalin Gupta, Peter P. Sun, Andrew T. Parsa and Kurtis I. Auguste

Object

Ependymoma is the third most common primary brain tumor in children. Tumors are classified according to the WHO pathological grading system. Prior studies have shown high levels of variability in patient outcomes within and across pathological grades. The authors reviewed the results from the published literature on intracranial ependymomas in children to describe clinical outcomes as they relate to treatment modality, associated mortality, and associated progression-free survival (PFS).

Methods

A search of English language peer-reviewed articles describing patients 18 years of age or younger with intracranial ependymomas yielded data on 182 patients. These patients had undergone treatment for ependymoma with 1 of 5 modalities: 1) gross-total resection (GTR), 2) GTR as well as external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), 3) subtotal resection (STR), 4) STR as well as EBRT, or 5) radiosurgery. Mortality and outcome data were analyzed for time to tumor progression in patients treated with 1 of these 5 treatment modalities.

Results

Of these 182 patients, 69% had supratentorial ependymomas and 31% presented with infratentorial lesions. Regardless of tumor location or pathological grade, STR was associated with the highest rates of mortality. In contrast, GTR was associated with the lowest rates of mortality, the best overall survival, and the longest PFS. Children with WHO Grade II ependymomas had lower mortality rates when treated more aggressively with GTR. However, patients with WHO Grade III tumors had slightly better survival outcomes after a less aggressive surgical debulking (STR+EBRT) when compared with GTR.

Conclusions

Mortality, PFS, and overall survival vary in pediatric patients with intracranial ependymomas. Pathological classification, tumor location, and method of treatment play a role in outcomes. In this study, GTR was associated with the best overall and PFS rates. Patients with WHO Grade II tumors had better overall survival after GTR+EBRT and better PFS after GTR alone. Patients with WHO Grade III tumors had better overall survival after STR+EBRT. Patients with infratentorial tumors had improved overall survival compared with those with supratentorial tumors. Progression-free survival was best in those patients with infratentorial tumors following STR+EBRT. Consideration of all of these factors is important when counseling families on treatment options.

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Michael C. Oh, Eli T. Sayegh, Michael Safaee, Matthew Z. Sun, Gurvinder Kaur, Joseph M. Kim, Derick Aranda, Annette M. Molinaro, Nalin Gupta and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Ependymoma is a common CNS tumor in children, with spinal cord ependymomas making up 13.1% of all ependymomas in this age group. The clinical features that affect prognosis in pediatric spinal cord ependymomas are not well understood. A comprehensive literature review was performed to determine whether a tumor location along the spinal cord is prognostically significant in children undergoing surgery for spinal cord ependymomas.

Methods

A PubMed search was performed to identify all papers that contained data on patients with spinal cord ependymomas. Only pediatric patients (age < 18 years) who underwent resection with a clearly reported tumor location were included in the analysis. Myxopapillary tumors were excluded from study. Tumor location was subdivided into 6 regions: cervicomedullary, cervical, cervicothoracic, thoracic, thoracolumbar, and conus medullaris. Kaplan-Meier survival and Cox regression analyses were performed to determine the effects of tumor location on progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

Results

Fifty-eight patients who underwent resection of spinal cord ependymomas were identified. Ependymomas were located all along the spinal cord but occurred with the highest frequency in the cervical region (29.3%). Progression-free survival was significantly better in patients with tumors arising in the upper portion of the spinal cord (p = 0.031), which remained significant in the multivariate Cox regression analysis (p < 0.05). Moreover, OS was significantly better in patients with upper spinal cord ependymomas than in those harboring ependymomas in the lower spinal cord (p = 0.048).

Conclusions

Although more common in adults, spinal ependymomas can occur anywhere along the spinal cord in the pediatric population; however, tumors occurring in the lower half of the spinal cord carry a worse prognosis with shorter PFS and OS. By comparison, ependymomas in the upper spinal cord recur later and less frequently, with little or no mortality in this patient group.

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Michael C. Oh, Joseph M. Kim, Gurvinder Kaur, Michael Safaee, Matthew Z. Sun, Anahat Singh, Derick Aranda, Annette M. Molinaro and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Ependymomas are primary central nervous system tumors that occur more frequently in the spines of adults than they do there in children. Previous studies consist mainly of retrospective single-institutional experiences or case studies. In this study, a comprehensive literature review was performed on reported cases of spinal ependymoma treated with resection to determine whether tumor location along the spinal axis conveys important prognostic information.

Methods

A PubMed search was performed to identify all papers that included data on patients with spinal ependymoma. Only cases involving adult patients who underwent ependymoma resection with a clearly reported tumor location were included for analysis. Tumor locations were separated into 6 groups: cervicomedullary, cervical, cervicothoracic, thoracic, thoracolumbar, and conus + cauda equina. Kaplan-Meier survival and Cox regression analyses were performed to determine the effect of tumor location on progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

Results

A total of 447 patients who underwent resection of spinal ependymomas with clearly indicated location of tumor were identified. The most common locations of spinal ependymomas were the cervical (32.0%) and conus + cauda equina (26.8%) regions. The thoracolumbar and cervicomedullary regions had the fewest tumors (accounting for, respectively, 5.1% and 3.4% of the total number of cases). The conus + cauda equina and thoracolumbar regions had the highest percentage of WHO Grade I tumors, while tumors located above these regions consisted of mostly WHO Grade II tumors. Despite the tendency for benign grades in the lower spinal regions, PFS for patients with spinal ependymomas in the lower 3 regions (thoracic, thoracolumbar, conus + cauda equina) was significantly shorter (p < 0.001) than for those with tumors in the upper regions (cervicomedullary, cervical, cervicothoracic), but the difference in OS did not achieve statistical significance (p = 0.131).

Conclusions

Spinal ependymomas along different regions of spinal axis have different characteristics and clinical behaviors. Tumor grade, extent of resection, and PFS varied by tumor location (upper vs lower spinal regions), while OS did not. Recurrence rates were higher for the lower spinal cord tumors, despite a greater prevalence of lower WHO grade lesions, compared with upper spinal cord tumors, suggesting that tumor location along the spinal axis is an important prognostic factor.

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Aaron J. Clark, Tene A. Cage, Derick Aranda, Andrew T. Parsa, Kurtis I. Auguste and Nalin Gupta

Object

Craniopharyngiomas are benign tumors but their close anatomical relationship with critical neurological, endocrine, and vascular structures makes gross-total resection (GTR) with minimal morbidity difficult to achieve. Currently, there is controversy regarding the extent, timing, and modality of treatment for pediatric craniopharyngioma.

Methods

The authors performed a systematic review of the published literature on pediatric craniopharyngioma to determine patterns of clinical practice and the reported outcomes of standard treatment strategies. This yielded 109 studies, which contained data describing extent of resection for a total of 531 patients. Differences in outcome were examined based upon extent of resection and choice of radiation treatment.

Results

Gross-total resection was associated with increased rates of new endocrine dysfunction (OR 5.4, p < 0.001), panhypopituitarism (OR 7.8, p = 0.006), and new neurological deficits (OR 9.9, p = 0.03) compared with biopsy procedures. Subtotal resection (STR) was not associated with an increased rate of new neurological deficits. Gross-total was associated with increased rates of diabetes insipidus (OR 7.7, p = 0.05) compared with the combination of STR and radiotherapy (RT). The addition of RT to STR was associated with increased rates of panhypopituitarism (OR 9.9, p = 0.01) but otherwise similar rates of morbidities.

Conclusions

Although subject to the limitations of a literature review, this report suggests that GTR is associated with increased rates of endocrinopathies compared with STR + RT, and this should be considered when planning goals of surgery.

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Ari J. Kane, Michael E. Sughrue, Martin J. Rutkowski, Derick Aranda, Stephen A. Mills, Mandeep Lehil, Shanna Fang and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

The literature, at present, provides limited information about extraventricular neurocytomas (EVNs) and is almost exclusively composed of case reports or small case series. Treatment for EVNs has largely been guided by results from central neurocytoma outcome studies. The authors present an analysis of all reported intracranial EVN cases to establish if tumor histopathological features can substratify EVN into groups with differing prognosis and help guide treatment decisions.

Methods

The authors identified studies reporting histology, treatment modality, and outcomes for patients with intracranial EVN. The rates of recurrence and survival for patients were compared using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Atypical tumors, defined by MIB-1 labeling index exceeding 3% or atypical histological features, were compared with typical tumors, and patients 50 years of age or older were compared with those younger than 50 years of age.

Results

Eighty-five patients met the inclusion criteria, and 27% of them had an atypical histology. Typical EVNs had a better prognosis than atypical EVNs after primary treatment, with a 5-year recurrence rate of 36% compared with 68% (p < 0.001), and a 5-year mortality rate of 4% compared with 44%, respectively (p < 0.001). Age younger 50 years was associated with a better prognosis than age equal to or greater than 50 years, with a 5-year recurrence rate of 33% and 74%, respectively (p < 0.001), and a 5-year mortality rate of 4% and 52%, respectively (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that atypical EVNs carried significantly increased risk for recurrence (hazard ratio [HR] 4.91, p < 0.001) and death (HR 22.91, p < 0.01). Gross-total resection was superior to subtotal resection (STR) alone in tumor control rates for typical EVNs (95% and 68%, p < 0.05), and there was a trend for adjuvant external-beam radiotherapy to benefit STR. There was suggestion of similar trends in patients with atypical EVNs.

Conclusions

There are at least 2 distinct histological subtypes of EVN, with different prognostic significances. Atypia or MIB-1 labeling index greater than 3% is a significant predictor of poor prognosis for EVNs. Complete resection or more aggressive attempts at providing adjuvant therapy following STR appear to improve the prognosis for patients with EVNs. Although the authors' results are informative, there are limitations to their analysis. Given the relatively modest total number of cases reported, as well as the nature of the disaggregated analysis, the authors were not able to use formal meta-analytical methods to limit the impact of between center heterogeneity. Additionally, they were not able to control for individual differences in data analysis and presentation across the different studies included in their analysis.

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Michael E. Ivan, Michael E. Sughrue, Aaron J. Clark, Ari J. Kane, Derick Aranda, Igor J. Barani and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Because of the rarity of glomus jugulare tumors, a variety of treatment paradigms are currently used. There is no consensus regarding the optimal management to control tumor burden while minimizing treatment-related morbidity. In this study, the authors assessed data collected from 869 patients with glomus jugulare tumors from the published literature to identify treatment variables that impacted clinical outcomes and tumor control rates.

Methods

A comprehensive search of the English-language literature identified 109 studies that collectively described outcomes for patients with glomus jugulare tumors. Univariate comparisons of demographic information between treatment cohorts were performed to detect differences in the sex distribution, age, and Fisch class of tumors among various treatment modalities. Meta-analyses were performed on calculated rates of recurrence and cranial neuropathy after subtotal resection (STR), gross-total resection (GTR), STR with adjuvant postoperative radiosurgery (STR+SRS), and stereotactic radiosurgery alone (SRS).

Results

The authors identified 869 patients who met their inclusion criteria. In these studies, the length of follow-up ranged from 6 to 256 months. Patients treated with STR were observed for 72 ± 7.9 months and had a tumor control rate of 69% (95% CI 57%–82%). Those who underwent GTR had a follow-up of 88 ± 5.0 months and a tumor control rate of 86% (95% CI 81%–91%). Those treated with STR+SRS were observed for 96 ± 4.4 months and had a tumor control rate of 71% (95% CI 53%–83%). Patients undergoing SRS alone had a follow-up of 71 ± 4.9 months and a tumor control rate of 95% (95% CI 92%–99%). The authors' analysis found that patients undergoing SRS had the lowest rates of recurrence of these 4 cohorts, and therefore, these patients experienced the most favorable rates of tumor control (p < 0.01). Patients who underwent GTR sustained worse rates of cranial nerve (CN) deficits with regard to CNs IX–XI than those who underwent SRS alone; however, the rates of CN XII deficits were comparable.

Conclusions

The authors' analysis is limited by the quality and accuracy of these studies and may reflect source study biases, as it is impossible to control for the quality of the data reported in the literature. Finally, due to the diverse range of data presentation, the authors found that they were limited in their ability to study and control for certain variables. Some of these limitations should be minimized with their use of meta-analysis methods, which statistically evaluate and adjust for between-study heterogeneity. These results provide the impetus to initiate a prospective study, appropriately controlling for variables that can confound the retrospective analyses that largely comprise the existing literature.

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Michael E. Sughrue, Isaac Yang, Derick Aranda, Martin J. Rutkowski, Shanna Fang, Steven W. Cheung and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Outcomes following vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery have been extensively described; however, complication rates reported in the literature vary markedly. In addition, the majority of reports have focused on outcomes related to cranial nerves (CNs) VII and VIII. The objective of this study was to analyze reported morbidity unrelated to CNs VII and VIII following the resection of VS.

Methods

The authors performed a comprehensive search of the English language literature, identifying and aggregating morbidity and death data from patients who had undergone microsurgical removal of VSs. A subgroup analysis based on surgical approach and tumor size was performed to compare rates of CSF leakage, vascular injury, neurological deficit, and postoperative infection.

Results

One hundred articles met the inclusion criteria, providing data for 32,870 patients. The overall mortality rate was 0.2% (95% CI 0.1–0.3%). Twenty-two percent of patients (95% CI 21–23%) experienced at least 1 surgically attributable complication unrelated to CNs VII or VIII. Cerebrospinal fluid leakage occurred in 8.5% of patients (95% CI 6.9–10.0%). This rate was markedly increased with the translabyrinthine approach but was not affected by tumor size. Vascular complications, such as ischemic injury or hemorrhage, occurred in 1% of patients (95% CI 0.75–1.2%). Neurological complications occurred in 8.6% of cases (95% CI 7.9–9.3%) and were less likely with the resection of smaller tumors (p < 0.0001) and the use of the translabyrinthine approach (p < 0.0001). Infections occurred in 3.8% of cases (95% CI 3.4–4.3%), and 78% of these infections were meningitis.

Conclusions

This study provides statistically powerful data for practitioners to advise patients about the published risks of surgery for VS unrelated to compromised CNs VII and VIII.

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Editorial

Cavernous sinus meningiomas

Atul Goel and Manu Kothari

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Michael E. Sughrue, Martin J. Rutkowski, Derick Aranda, Igor J. Barani, Michael W. McDermott and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Although there is a considerable volume of literature available on the treatment of patients with cavernous sinus meningiomas (CSMs), most of the data regarding tumor control and survival come from case studies or single-institution series. The authors performed a meta-analysis of reported tumor control and survival rates of patients described in the published literature, with an emphasis on specific prognostic factors.

Methods

The authors systematically analyzed the published literature and found more than 3000 patients treated for CSMs. Separate meta-analyses were performed to calculate pooled rates of recurrence and cranial neuropathy after 1) gross-total resection, 2) subtotal resection without adjuvant postoperative radiotherapy or radiosurgery, and 3) stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) alone. Results were expressed as pooled proportions, and random-effects models were used to incorporate any heterogeneity present to generate a pooled proportion. Individual studies were weighted using the inverse variance method, and 95% CIs for each group were calculated from the pooled proportions.

Results

A total of 2065 nonduplicated patients treated for CSM met inclusion criteria for the analysis. Comparisons of the 95% CIs for recurrence of these 3 cohorts revealed that SRS-treated patients experienced improved rates of recurrence (3.2% [95% CI 1.9–4.5%]) compared with either gross-total resection (11.8% [95% CI 7.4–16.1%]) or subtotal resection alone (11.1% [95% CI 6.6–15.7%]) (p < 0.01). The authors found that the pooled mixed-effects rate of cranial neuropathy was markedly higher in patients undergoing resection (59.6% [95% CI 50.3–67.5%]) than for those undergoing SRS alone (25.7% [95% CI 11.5–38.9%]) (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

Radiosurgery provided improved rates of tumor control compared with surgery alone, regardless of the subjective extent of resection.

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Michael E. Sughrue, Martin J. Rutkowski, Derick Aranda, Igor J. Barani, Michael W. McDermott and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Definitive data allowing clinicians to predict which meningioma patients will fail to respond to conservative management are lacking. To address this need, the authors systematically reviewed the published literature regarding the natural history of small, untreated meningiomas.

Methods

The authors performed a systematic review of the existing literature on untreated meningiomas that were followed with serial MR imaging. They summarize the published linear rates of tumor growth, and the risk factors for development of new or worsened symptoms during follow-up by using a stratified chi-square test.

Results

The search methods identified 22 published studies reporting on 675 patients with untreated meningiomas followed by serial MR imaging. Linear growth rates varied significantly: no growth was the most common rate, although reports of more aggressive tumors noted growth rates of up to a 93% linear increase in size per year. The authors found that few patients with initial tumor diameters < 2 cm went on to develop new or worsened symptoms over a median follow-up period of 4.6 years. Patients with initial tumor diameters of 2–2.5 cm demonstrated a marked difference in the rate of symptom progression if their tumors grew > 10% per year, compared with those tumors growing ≤ 10% per year (42% vs 0%; p < 0.001, chi-square test). Patients with tumors between > 2.5 and 3 cm in initial size went on to develop new or worsened symptoms 17% of the time.

Conclusions

This systematic review of the literature regarding the clinical behavior of untreated meningiomas suggests that most meningiomas ≤ 2.5 cm in diameter do not proceed to cause symptoms in the approximately 5-year period following their discovery. Those that do cause symptoms can usually be predicted with close radiographic follow-up. Based on these findings, the authors suggest the importance of observation in the early course of treatment for small asymptomatic meningiomas, especially those with an initial diameter < 2 cm.