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Kristin Huntoon, Tianxia Wu, J. Bradley Elder, John A. Butman, Emily Y. Chew, W. Marston Linehan, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

OBJECT

Peritumoral cysts are frequently associated with CNS hemangioblastomas and often underlie neurological morbidity and mortality. To determine their natural history and clinical impact, the authors prospectively analyzed hemangioblastoma-associated peritumoral cysts in patients with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease.

METHODS

Patients with VHL disease who had 2 or more years of follow-up and who were enrolled in a prospective study at the National Institutes of Health were included. Serial prospectively acquired laboratory, genetic, imaging, and clinical data were analyzed.

RESULTS

One hundred thirty-two patients (of 225 in the VHL study with at least 2 years of follow-up) had peritumoral cysts that were followed for more than 2 years (total of 292 CNS peritumoral cysts). The mean age at study entrance was 37.4 ± 13.1 years ([mean ± SD], median 37.9, range 12.3–65.1 years). The mean follow-up was 7.0 ± 1.7 years (median 7.3, range 2.1–9.0 years). Over the study period, 121 of the 292 peritumoral cysts (41.4%) became symptomatic. Development of new cysts was associated with a larger number cysts at study enrollment (p = 0.002) and younger age (p < 0.0001). Cyst growth rate was associated with anatomical location (cerebellum cysts grew faster than spine and brainstem cysts; p = 0.0002 and p = 0.0008), younger age (< 35 years of age; p = 0.0006), and development of new neurological symptoms (p < 0.0001). Cyst size at symptom production depended on anatomical location (p < 0.0001; largest to smallest were found, successively, in the cerebellum, spinal cord, and brainstem). The most common location for peritumoral cysts was the cerebellum (184 cysts [63%]; p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

Peritumoral cysts frequently underlie symptom formation that requires surgical intervention in patients with VHL disease. Development of new cysts was associated with a larger number of cysts at study enrollment and younger age. Total peritumoral cyst burden was associated with germline partial deletion of the VHL gene.

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Kristin Huntoon, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Arvid Lindau, MD, PhD, consolidated the disparate array of benign and malignant visceral and nervous system lesions into the neoplastic syndrome known as von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease. Based on this pioneering work, Dr. Lindau was awarded both a Rockefeller fellowship to work in Dr. Harvey Cushing's laboratory in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Lennmalm Prize. While working in Dr. Cushing's laboratory, Dr. Lindau continued his study of CNS hemangioblastomas. His work with Dr. Cushing led to their lifelong friendship and scientific collaboration. In this paper the authors describe Arvid Lindau's pioneering work in nervous system tumor pathology, his relationship to Dr. Cushing, and his role in advancing neurological surgery and research in Europe.

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Edward H. Oldfield and Marsha J. Merrill

OBJECT

Pituitary adenomas occasionally undergo infarction, apoplexy, which often destroys much of the tumor. It is well known that apoplexy can be precipitated by several acute factors, including cardiac surgery, other types of surgery, trauma, insulin infusion, and stimulation with administration of hypothalamic releasing factors.

METHODS

The prior focus on mechanisms underlying pituitary apoplexy has been on these acute events. Less attention has been given to the endogenous features of pituitary tumors that make them susceptible to spontaneous infarction, despite that most pituitary apoplexy occurs in the absence of a recognized precipitating event. The authors examine intrinsic features of pituitary adenomas that render them vulnerable to apoplexy—features such as high metabolic demand, paucity of angiogenesis, and sparse vascularity, qualities that have previously not been linked with apoplexy—and argue that it is these features of adenomas that underlie their susceptibility to spontaneous infarction. The sensitivity of freshly cultured pituitary adenomas to hypoglycemia is assessed.

RESULTS

Adenomas have high metabolic demand, limited angiogenesis, and reduced vessel density compared with the normal gland. Pituitary adenoma cells do not survive in the presence of reduced or absent concentrations of glucose.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors propose that the frequent ischemic infarction of pituitary adenomas is the product of intrinsic features of these tumors. These endogenous qualities create a tenuous balance between high metabolic demand and marginal tissue perfusion. Thus, the tumor is vulnerable to spontaneous infarction or to acute ischemia by any event that acutely alters the balance between tumor perfusion and tumor metabolism, events such as acute systemic hypotension, abruptly decreased supply of nutrients, hypoglycemia with insulin administration, or increase in the tumor's metabolic demand due to administration of hypothalamic releasing factors. It may be possible to take advantage of these intrinsic features of pituitary adenomas by using aspects of this vulnerability for development of new approaches for treatment.

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Aaron E. Bond, John A. Jane Sr., Kenneth C. Liu and Edward H. Oldfield

OBJECT

The authors completed a prospective, institutional review board–approved study using intraoperative MRI (iMRI) in patients undergoing posterior fossa decompression (PFD) for Chiari I malformation. The purpose of the study was to examine the utility of iMRI in determining when an adequate decompression had been performed.

METHODS

Patients with symptomatic Chiari I malformations with imaging findings of obstruction of the CSF space at the foramen magnum, with or without syringomyelia, were considered candidates for surgery. All patients underwent complete T1, T2, and cine MRI studies in the supine position preoperatively as a baseline. After the patient was placed prone with the neck flexed in position for surgery, iMRI was performed. The patient then underwent a bone decompression of the foramen magnum and arch of C-1, and the MRI was repeated. If obstruction was still present, then in a stepwise fashion the patient underwent dural splitting, duraplasty, and coagulation of the tonsils, with an iMRI study performed after each step guiding the decision to proceed further.

RESULTS

Eighteen patients underwent PFD for Chiari I malformations between November 2011 and February 2013; 15 prone preincision iMRIs were performed. Fourteen of these patients (93%) demonstrated significant improvement of CSF flow through the foramen magnum dorsal to the tonsils with positioning only. This improvement was so notable that changes in CSF flow as a result of the bone decompression were difficult to discern.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors observed significant CSF flow changes when simply positioning the patient for surgery. These results put into question intraoperative flow assessments that suggest adequate decompression by PFD, whether by iMRI or intraoperative ultrasound. The use of intraoperative imaging during PFD for Chiari I malformation, whether by ultrasound or iMRI, is limited by CSF flow dynamics across the foramen magnum that change significantly when the patient is positioned for surgery.

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Mahmoud Messerer, Giulia Cossu, Roy Thomas Daniel and Emmanuel Jouanneau

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Lucia Schwyzer, Robert M. Starke, John A. Jane Jr. and Edward H. Oldfield

OBJECT

Correlation between tumor volume and hormone levels in individual patients would permit calculation of the fraction of tumor removed by surgery, by measuring postoperative hormone levels. The goals of this study were to examine the relationship between tumor volume, growth hormone (GH), and insulin-like growth factor–1 (IGF-1) levels, and to assess the correlation between percent tumor removal and the reduction in plasma GH and IGF-1 in patients with acromegaly.

METHODS

The 3D region of interest–based volumetric method was used to measure tumor volume via MRI before and after surgery in 11 patients with GH-secreting adenomas. The volume of residual tumor as a fraction of preoperative tumor volume was correlated with GH levels before and after surgery. Examination of this potential correlation required selection of patients with acromegaly who 1) had incomplete tumor removal, 2) had precise measurements of initial and residual tumor, and 3) were not on medical therapy.

RESULTS

Densely granulated tumors produced more peripheral GH per mass of tumor than sparsely granulated tumors (p = 0.04). There was a correlation between GH and IGF-1 levels (p = 0.001). Although there was no close correlation between tumor size and peripheral GH levels, after normalizing each tumor to its own plasma GH level and tumor volume, a comparison of percent tumor resection with percent drop in plasma GH yielded a high correlation coefficient (p = 0.006).

CONCLUSIONS

Densely granulated somatotropinomas produce more GH per mass of tumor than do sparsely granulated tumors. Each GH-secreting tumor has its own intrinsic level of GH production per mass of tumor, which is homogeneous over the tumor mass, and which varies greatly between tumors. In most patients the fraction of a GH-secreting tumor removed by surgery can be accurately estimated by simply comparing plasma GH levels after surgery to those before surgery.

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Russell R. Lonser, Malisa Sarntinoranont, Paul F. Morrison and Edward H. Oldfield

Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is a bulk flow–driven process. Its properties permit direct, homogeneous, targeted perfusion of CNS regions with putative therapeutics while bypassing the blood-brain barrier. Development of surrogate imaging tracers that are co-infused during drug delivery now permit accurate, noninvasive real-time tracking of convective infusate flow in nervous system tissues. The potential advantages of CED in the CNS over other currently available drug delivery techniques, including systemic delivery, intrathecal and/or intraventricular distribution, and polymer implantation, have led to its application in research studies and clinical trials. The authors review the biophysical principles of convective flow and the technology, properties, and clinical applications of convective delivery in the CNS.

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Gautam U. Mehta, Kamran D. Bakhtian and Edward H. Oldfield

Object

Primary empty sella syndrome (ESS) results from herniation of arachnoid mater into the pituitary fossa. It has been suggested to have a negative effect on pituitary surgery; however, outcomes in this cohort have not been defined. This study was performed to determine the effect of ESS on immediate and long-term biochemical outcome after pituitary surgery for Cushing's disease (CD).

Methods

Using a matched cohort study design, the authors followed patients treated with pituitary surgery for CD with and without ESS. Complete ESS was defined as pituitary gland height ≤ 2 mm, whereas partial ESS was defined as pituitary gland height > 2 mm but less than three-quarters of the total sellar depth. The primary end points were immediate and long-term biochemical outcome. Cerebrospinal fluid leaks were recorded as a secondary end point.

Results

Seventy-eight patients with CD and primary ESS were identified and matched with 78 patients with CD without ESS. After surgical management, immediate biochemical remission was achieved in 69 patients (88%) with ESS and 75 controls (96%, p = 0.10). Long-term remission was achieved in most patients in both groups (5-year cure: 85% vs 92%, p = 0.10). Among patients with ESS, the presence of complete ESS predicted a worse long-term outcome (p = 0.04). Intraoperative CSF leaks were significantly more frequent with ESS (54% vs 24%, p < 0.001), and despite sellar floor repair, the rate of postoperative CSF leaks was also increased (6% vs 3%, p = 0.27).

Conclusions

Biochemical outcome after pituitary surgery for CD was worse in patients with complete ESS, and the risk of a CSF leak was increased with both partial and complete ESS. However, as outcome remains superior to those following alternative therapies and the biology of these tumors is unchanged in the setting of ESS, pituitary surgery should remain the initial treatment of choice.