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Matthew J. McGirt, Khoi D. Than, Jon D. Weingart, Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Frank J. Attenello, Alessandro Olivi, John Laterra, Lawrence R. Kleinberg, Stuart A. Grossman, Henry Brem and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Object

Gliadel (BCNU) wafer and concomitant temozolomide (TMZ) therapy, when used individually as adjuvant therapies, extend survival from that achieved by resection and radiation therapy (XRT) for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). It remains unstudied whether combining Gliadel and TMZ therapy is safe or further improves survival in patients with newly diagnosed GBM. The authors reviewed their initial experience utilizing combined Gliadel, TMZ, and radiation therapy for the treatment of GBM.

Methods

All cases involving patients undergoing primary resection of GBM with or without Gliadel wafer (3.85% BCNU) implantation and adjuvant XRT over a 10-year period (1997–2006) were retrospectively reviewed. Beginning in 2004, concomitant TMZ became the standard of care at the authors' institution and all patients with Gliadel implantation also received concomitant TMZ (Stupp protocol). Overall survival and treatment-related morbidity were assessed for all patients treated with Gliadel plus concomitant TMZ (XRT + Gliadel + TMZ). Age-matched (≤ 70 years) comparison of survival and morbidity was performed between the XRT + Gliadel + TMZ (post-2003) and XRT + Gliadel (pre-2004) cohorts.

Results

Thirty-three patients were treated with XRT + Gliadel + TMZ. The median survival in this group was 20.7 months, with a 2-year survival rate of 36%. Six-month morbidity included surgical site infection in 1 case (3%), perioperative seizures in 2 cases (6%), deep-vein thrombus in 1 (3%), pulmonary embolism in 3 (9%), and cerebral edema requiring admission for intravenous dexamethasone in 1 case (3%). Myelosuppression required premature termination of TMZ in 7 patients (21%) (thrombocytopenia in 5, neutropenia in 2 cases). In patients ≤ 70 years of age, XRT + Gliadel + TMZ (30 patients, post-2003) was independently associated with improved median survival (21.3 vs 12.4 months, p = 0.005) versus XRT + Gliadel (78 patients, pre-2004), with 2-year survival of 39 versus 18%, respectively. In these patients, XRT + Gliadel + TMZ was not associated with an increase in perioperative morbidity in comparison with XRT + Gliadel.

Conclusions

In this experience, concomitant TMZ therapy in addition to Gliadel wafer implantation was associated with a median survival of nearly 21 months without increased perioperative morbidity. Temozolomide can be safely administered to patients receiving Gliadel wafers after resection of GBM.

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Matthew J. McGirt, Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Muraya Gathinji, Frank J. Attenello, Khoi Than, Alessandro Olivi, Jon D. Weingart, Henry Brem and Alf redo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Object

With recent advances in the adjuvant treatment of malignant brain astrocytomas, it is increasingly debated whether extent of resection affects survival. In this study, the authors investigate this issue after primary and revision resection of these lesions.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the cases of 1215 patients who underwent surgery for malignant brain astrocytomas (World Health Organization [WHO] Grade III or IV) at a single institution from 1996 to 2006. Patients with deep-seated or unresectable lesions were excluded. Based on MR imaging results obtained < 48 hours after surgery, gross-total resection (GTR) was defined as no residual enhancement, near-total resection (NTR) as having thin rim enhancement of the resection cavity only, and subtotal resection (STR) as having residual nodular enhancement. The independent association of extent of resection and subsequent survival was assessed via a multivariate proportional hazards regression analysis.

Results

Magnetic resonance imaging studies were available for review in 949 cases. The mean age and mean Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score at time of surgery were 51 ± 16 years and 80 ± 10, respectively. Surgery consisted of primary resection in 549 patients (58%) and revision resection for tumor recurrence in 400 patients (42%). The lesion was WHO Grade IV in 700 patients (74%) and Grade III in 249 (26%); there were 167 astrocytomas and 82 mixed oligoastrocytoma. Among patients who underwent resection, GTR, NTR, and STR were achieved in 330 (35%), 388 (41%), and 231 cases (24%), respectively. Adjusting for factors associated with survival (for example, age, KPS score, Gliadel and/or temozolomide use, and subsequent resection), GTR versus NTR (p < 0.05) and NTR versus STR (p < 0.05) were independently associated with improved survival after both primary and revision resection of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). For primary GBM resection, the median survival after GTR, NTR, and STR was 13, 11, and 8 months, respectively. After revision resection, the median survival after GTR, NTR, and STR was 11, 9, and 5 months, respectively. Adjusting for factors associated with survival for WHO Grade III astrocytoma (age, KPS score, and revision resection), GTR versus STR (p < 0.05) was associated with improved survival. Gross-total resection versus NTR was not associated with an independent survival benefit in patients with WHO Grade III astrocytomas. The median survival after primary resection of WHO Grade III (mixed oligoastrocytomas excluded) for GTR, NTR, and STR was 58, 46, and 34 months, respectively.

Conclusions

In the authors' experience with both primary and secondary resection of malignant brain astrocytomas, increasing extent of resection was associated with improved survival independent of age, degree of disability, WHO grade, or subsequent treatment modalities used. The maximum extent of resection should be safely attempted while minimizing the risk of surgically induced neurological injury.

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Matthew J. McGirt, Frank J. Attenello, Ghazala Datoo, Muraya Gathinji, April Atiba, Jon D. Weingart, Benjamin Carson and George I. Jallo

Object

Indications for duraplasty in treatment of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) remain unclear. In the present study, the authors evaluate their surgical experience to determine whether intraoperative ultrasonography is effective in the selection of patients with CM-I who can be adequately treated with craniectomy alone without duraplasty.

Methods

The authors reviewed the records of 256 children who underwent first-time hindbrain decompression for CM-I. Craniectomy alone (without duraplasty) was performed when intraoperative ultrasonography suggested adequate decompression of the subarachnoid spaces ventral and dorsal to the tonsils after suboccipital craniectomy alone. Duraplasty was performed if intraoperative ultrasonography demonstrated persistent dural compression of the tonsils following craniectomy. Symptom recurrence as a function of time was compared between cases of duraplasty versus suboccipital decompression alone stratified by extent of tonsillar herniation.

Results

Duraplasty was performed in 140 patients (55%), and suboccipital decompression alone was performed in 116 patients (45%). Patients underwent follow-up for 29 ± 15 months. Symptoms included headache in 192 patients (75%) and lower cranial nerve and brainstem dysfunction in 68 (27%). In 38 patients (15%) there was tonsillar herniation rostral to the C-1 lamina, in 195 (76%) it extended between the C-1 and C-2 lamina, and in 23 patients (9%) there was herniation caudal to the lower border of the C-2 lamina. In children with tonsillar herniation caudal to C-1, ultrasonography-guided suboccipital decompression alone was associated with a 2-fold increase in the risk of symptom recurrence compared with those who also underwent duraplasty (p = 0.01). In children with tonsillar herniation rostral to C-1, outcome was equivalent between suboccipital decompression alone and duraplasty (p = 0.41).

Conclusions

In the setting of moderate-to-severe tonsillar CM-I, intraoperative ultrasonography demonstrating decompression of the subarachnoid spaces ventral and dorsal to the tonsils may not effectively select patients in whom bone decompression alone is sufficient. Duraplasty may be warranted in cases of tonsillar herniation that extends below the C-1 lamina regardless of intraoperative ultrasonography findings. More objective cerebrospinal fluid flow or volumetric measures may be needed intraoperatively to guide duraplasty in patients with more pronounced tonsillar herniation.

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Frank J. Attenello, Matthew J. McGirt, April Atiba, Muraya Gathinji, Ghazala Datoo, Jon Weingart, Benjamin Carson and George I. Jallo

Object

Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is often associated with scoliosis. It remains unclear which subgroups of patients are most likely to experience progression of spinal deformity after cervicomedullary decompression. The authors' goal was to determine the time frame of curvature progression and assess which patient subgroups are at greatest risk for progression of spinal deformity after surgery.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of all pediatric patients with significant scoliosis in whom suboccipital decompression was performed to treat for CM-I during a 10-year period at a single academic institution. Clinical, radiological, and operative variables were assessed as independent factors for failure (worsening of scoliosis) by using a univariate regression analysis.

Results

Twenty-one children (mean age 9 ± 3 years; 4 male) underwent hindbrain decompression for CM-I–associated scoliosis and were followed for a mean of 39 months. All patients harbored a syrinx. Eight patients (38%) experienced improvement in scoliosis curvature, whereas 10 (48%) suffered a progression. Thoracolumbar junction scoliosis (p = 0.04) and failure of the syrinx to improve (p = 0.05) were associated with 5- and 4-fold respective increases in the likelihood of deformity progression. Each increasing degree of preoperative Cobb angle was associated with an 11% increase in the likelihood of scoliotic curve progression (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

Over one third of patients with CM-I–associated scoliosis will improve after cervicomedullary decompression alone. Cervicomedullary decompression is a good first-line option, particularly in children with concordant posterior fossa symptoms. Patients presenting with more severe scoliosis (increasing Cobb angle) or scoliosis that crosses the thoracolumbar junction may benefit from earlier orthopedic involvement and should be monitored regularly for curvature progression after cervicomedullary decompression. In cases in which there is a failure of the syrinx to show improvement after suboccipital decompression, the patients are also more likely to develop curvature progression.

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Matthew J. McGirt, Frank J. Attenello, Daniel M. Sciubba, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Jean-Paul Wolinsky

✓ Pediatric basilar invagination and cranial settling have traditionally been approached through a transoral–transpharyngeal route with or without extended maxillotomy or mandibulotomy for resection of the anterior portion of C-1 and the odontoid. The authors hypothesize that application of a recently described endoscopic transcervical odontoidectomy (ETO) technique would allow an alternative approach for the treatment of ventral pathological entities at the craniocervical junction in pediatric patients.

The authors performed ETO in a consecutive series of pediatric patients presenting with myelopathy or bulbar dysfunction resulting from basilar invagination or cranial settling. All clinical, radiographic, surgical, and follow-up data were prospectively collected. The initial experience with ETO in the pediatric population is analyzed and outcomes are reported. Three patients required ETO for basilar invagination and 1 required ETO with anterior C-1 arch and distal clivus resection for cranial settling. All patients presented with myelopathy. One patient was wheelchair bound with severe quadriparesis. The mean age was 14 ± 3 years (mean ± standard deviation [SD]) in the 2 male and 2 female patients. The ETO and posterior fusion were performed as a 2-stage procedure in 2 (50%) and as a single-stage procedure in 2 (50%) cases. Prolonged intubation or postoperative placement of a gastrostomy tube was not needed in any case. The postoperative hospitalization lasted 9 ± 4 days (mean ± SD). At last follow-up (mean 5 months), head and neck pain had resolved and motor strength had improved or stabilized in all cases. All 4 children were independently functioning and ambulatory at the last follow-up.

In the authors' initial experience, ETO has allowed ventral brainstem decompression without the need for prolonged intubation, worsening dysphagia requiring enteral tube feeding, or prolonged hospitalization, and has resulted in cosmetically appealing results. The ETO technique allows an alternative approach for the treatment of ventral pathological entities at the craniocervical junction in pediatric patients.