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Fred G. Barker II, Michael D. Prados, Susan M. Chang, Philip H. Gutin, Kathleen R. Lamborn, David A. Larson, Mary K. Malec, Michael W. McDermott, Penny K. Sneed, William M. Wara and Charles B. Wilson

✓ To determine the value of radiographically assessed response to radiation therapy as a predictor of survival in patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the authors studied a cohort of 301 patients who were initially treated according to uniform clinical protocols. All patients had newly diagnosed supratentorial GBM and underwent the maximum safe resection followed by external-beam radiation treatment (60 Gy in standard daily fractions or 70.4 Gy in twice-daily fractions of 160 cGy). The radiation response and survival rates were assessable in 222 patients. The extent of resection and the immediate response to radiation therapy were highly correlated with survival, both in a univariate analysis and after correction for age and Karnofsky performance scale (KPS) score in a multivariate Cox model (p < 0.001 for radiation response and p = 0.04 for extent of resection). A subgroup analysis suggested that neuroimaging obtained within 3 days after surgery served as a better baseline for assessment of radiation response than images obtained later. Imaging obtained within 3 days after completion of a course of radiation therapy also provided valid radiation response scores. The impact of the radiographically assessed radiation response on survival time was comparable to that of age or KPS score. This information is easily obtained early in the course of the disease, may be of value for individual patients, and may also have implications for the design and analysis of trials of adjuvant therapy for GBM, including volume-dependent therapies such as radiosurgery or brachytherapy.

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Stanley L. Barnwell, Christopher F. Dowd, Richard L. Davis, Michael S. B. Edwards, Philip H. Gutin and Charles B. Wilson

✓ 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.

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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.

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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.

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Victor A. Levin, William M. Wara, Richard L. Davis, Pamela Vestnys, Kenneth J. Resser, Kathleen Yatsko, Stephen Nutik, Philip H. Gutin and Charles B. Wilson

✓ The authors report the results of a randomized study conducted to evaluate the relative benefit of treatment with 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU) or the combination of procarbazine, 1-(2-chloroethyl)-3-cyclohexyl-1-nitrosourea, and vincristine (PCV) administered after radiation therapy with hydroxyurea to 76 evaluable patients with glioblastoma multiforme and 72 patients with other anaplastic gliomas. The primary end-point of the study was time to tumor progression. For better-risk patients with Karnofsky performance scores of 70 to 100, results suggest that PCV was of greater benefit than BCNU (p = 0.15 for glioblastoma multiforme; p = 0.13 for other anaplastic gliomas). Median times to tumor progression were 31 and 32 weeks for patients with glioblastoma multiforme; 25th percentile times to progression were 70 and 40 weeks for patients treated with PCV and BCNU, respectively. For patients with other anaplastic gliomas treated with PCV and BCNU, median times to progression were 123 and 77 weeks, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that the prognostic variables of age and Karnofsky scores were important for patients with glioblastoma multiforme and other anaplastic gliomas, and that the extent of surgical resection was important for those with other anaplastic gliomas.

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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.

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Surgical treatment of syringomyelia

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.

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Stephen K. Powers, Michael S. B. Edwards, James E. Boggan, Lawrence H. Pitts, Philip H. Gutin, Yoshio Hosobuchi, John E. Adams and Charles B. Wilson

✓ The argon surgical laser has been used in 68 neurosurgical procedures that included the removal of intracranial and intraspinal tumors, spinal cord fenestration for syringomyelia, and the production of dorsal root entry zone lesions. Characteristics that make the argon surgical laser a useful microneurosurgical instrument include the availability of a fiberoptic delivery system, a laser spot size that can be varied continuously between 0.15 and 1.5 mm, a single laser-aiming and treatment beam, the transmission of argon laser light through aqueous media such as irrigating or cerebrospinal fluids, and improved hemostasis compared to conventional techniques. The argon laser is limited primarily by its relatively low power output (less than 16 W), which makes the excision of large tumors difficult. However, even with these limitations, which can be used to advantage in the proper setting, the authors' laboratory and clinical experience suggests that the argon surgical laser may be useful in certain microneurosurgical operations.

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Philip H. Gutin, William G. Cushard Jr. and Charles B. Wilson

✓ A patient with a pituitary adenoma secreting adrenocorticotropin hormone manifested panhypopituitarism after an episode of pituitary apoplexy. The previously elevated urinary levels of 17-ketogenic steroids dropped sharply, and plasma cortisol became undetectable. The apoplexy also resulted in a partially empty sella on which the dorsum sellae collapsed. Recurrent Cushing's disease developed and was cured by transsphenoidal resection of a microadenoma.