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George K. Lewis Jr., Zachary R. Schulz, Susan C. Pannullo, Teresa L. Southard, and William L. Olbricht

Object

In convection-enhanced delivery (CED), drugs are infused locally into tissue through a cannula inserted into the brain parenchyma to enhance drug penetration over diffusion strategies. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of ultrasound-assisted CED (UCED) in the rodent brain in vivo using a novel, low-profile transducer cannula assembly (TCA) and portable, pocket-sized ultrasound system.

Methods

Forty Sprague-Dawley rats (350–450 g) were divided into 2 equal groups (Groups 1 and 2). Each group was divided again into 4 subgroups (n = 5 in each). The caudate of each rodent brain was infused with 0.25 wt% Evans blue dye (EBD) in phosphate-buffered saline at 2 different infusion rates of 0.25 μl/minute (Group 1), and 0.5 μl/minute (Group 2). The infusion rates were increased slowly over 10 minutes from 0.05 to 0.25 μl/minute (Group 1) and from 0.1 to 0.5 μl/minute (Group 2). The final flow rate was maintained for 20 minutes. Rodents in the 4 control subgroups were infused using the TCA without ultrasound and without and with microbubbles added to the infusate (CED and CED + MB, respectively). Rodents in the 4 UCED subgroups were infused without and with microbubbles added to the infusate (UCED and UCED + MB) using the TCA with continuous-wave 1.34-MHz low-intensity ultrasound at a total acoustic power of 0.11 ± 0.005 W and peak spatial intensity at the cannula tip of 49.7 mW/cm2. An additional 4 Sprague-Dawley rats (350–450 g) received UCED at 4 different and higher ultrasound intensities at the cannula tip ranging from 62.0 to 155.0 mW/cm2 for 30 minutes. The 3D infusion distribution was reconstructed using MATLAB analysis. Tissue damage and morphological changes to the brain were assessed using H & E.

Results

The application of ultrasound during infusion (UCED and UCED + MB) improved the volumetric distribution of EBD in the brain by a factor of 2.24 to 3.25 when there were no microbubbles in the infusate and by a factor of 1.16 to 1.70 when microbubbles were added to the infusate (p < 0.001). On gross and histological examination, no damage to the brain tissue was found for any acoustic exposure applied to the brain.

Conclusions

The TCA and ultrasound device show promise to improve the distribution of infused compounds during CED. The results suggest further studies are required to optimize infusion and acoustic parameters for small compounds and for larger molecular weight compounds that are representative of promising antitumor agents. In addition, safe levels of ultrasound exposure in chronic experiments must be determined for practical clinical evaluation of UCED. Extension of these experiments to larger animal models is warranted to demonstrate efficacy of this technique.

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Sandeep Mittal, Neil V. Klinger, Sharon K. Michelhaugh, Geoffrey R. Barger, Susan C. Pannullo, and Csaba Juhász

OBJECTIVE

Treatment for glioblastoma (GBM) remains largely unsuccessful, even with aggressive combined treatment via surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Tumor treating fields (TTFs) are low-intensity, intermediate-frequency, alternating electric fields that have antiproliferative properties in vitro and in vivo. The authors provide an up-to-date review of the mechanism of action as well as preclinical and clinical data on TTFs.

METHODS

A systematic review of the literature was performed using the terms “tumor treating fields,” “alternating electric fields,” “glioblastoma,” “Optune,” “NovoTTF-100A,” and “Novocure.”

RESULTS

Preclinical and clinical data have demonstrated the potential efficacy of TTFs for treatment of GBM, leading to several pilot studies, clinical trials, and, in 2011, FDA approval for its use as salvage therapy for recurrent GBM and, in 2015, approval for newly diagnosed GBM.

CONCLUSIONS

Current evidence supports the use of TTFs as an efficacious, antimitotic treatment with minimal toxicity in patients with newly diagnosed and recurrent GBM. Additional studies are needed to further optimize patient selection, determine cost-effectiveness, and assess the full impact on quality of life.

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Alexander M. Stessin, Allie Schwartz, Grigorij Judanin, Susan C. Pannullo, John A. Boockvar, Theodore H. Schwartz, Philip E. Stieg, and A. Gabriella Wernicke

Object

The aim of this study was to examine the effect of postoperative external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) on disease-specific survival in patients with nonbenign meningiomas.

Methods

The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database from 1988 to 2007 was queried for cases of resected Grades II (atypical) and III (malignant) meningioma. Disease-specific survival outcomes were determined using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox proportional hazards models. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the likelihood of receiving EBRT for Grade II versus Grade III. Because atypical and malignant meningiomas underwent WHO reclassification in 2000, the authors carried out an additional analysis of outcomes of these tumors from 2000 to 2008.

Results

There were 657 patients included in the analysis; of these, 244 received adjuvant radiation. Compared with patients with Grade II meningioma, patients with Grade III disease were 41.9% more likely to receive EBRT after gross-total resection and 36.7% more likely to receive it after subtotal resection (95% CI 0.58–3.26). Controlling for grade, extent of resection, size and anatomical location of the tumor, year of diagnosis, race, age, and sex, adjuvant EBRT did not impart a survival benefit (HR 1.492; 95% CI 0.827–2.692). There was also no survival advantage to EBRT in an analysis of cases diagnosed after the WHO 2000 reclassification of meningiomas (HR 0.828; 95% CI 0.350–1.961).

Conclusions

The results of this population-based retrospective analysis demonstrate that the role of radiation remains unclear. They underscore the need for randomized prospective clinical trials to assess the usefulness of adjuvant EBRT in Grades II and III meningioma so as to define more precisely the subset of patients who may benefit from the addition of adjuvant radiation.

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WINS White Paper Committee:, Deborah L. Benzil, Aviva Abosch, Isabelle Germano, Holly Gilmer, J. Nozipo Maraire, Karin Muraszko, Susan Pannullo, Gail Rosseau, Lauren Schwartz, Roxanne Todor, Jamie Ullman, and Edie Zusman

Preface

The leadership of Women in Neurosurgery (WINS) has been asked by the Board of Directors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) to compose a white paper on the recruitment and retention of female neurosurgical residents and practitioners.

Introduction

Neurosurgery must attract the best and the brightest. Women now constitute a larger percentage of medical school classes than men, representing approximately 60% of each graduating medical school class. Neurosurgery is facing a potential crisis in the US workforce pipeline, with the number of neurosurgeons in the US (per capita) decreasing.

Women in the Neurosurgery Workforce

The number of women entering neurosurgery training programs and the number of board-certified female neurosurgeons is not increasing. Personal anecdotes demonstrating gender inequity abound among female neurosurgeons at every level of training and career development. Gender inequity exists in neurosurgery training programs, in the neurosurgery workplace, and within organized neurosurgery.

Obstacles

The consistently low numbers of women in neurosurgery training programs and in the workplace results in a dearth of female role models for the mentoring of residents and junior faculty/practitioners. This lack of guidance contributes to perpetuation of barriers to women considering careers in neurosurgery, and to the lack of professional advancement experienced by women already in the field. There is ample evidence that mentors and role models play a critical role in the training and retention of women faculty within academic medicine. The absence of a critical mass of female neurosurgeons in academic medicine may serve as a deterrent to female medical students deciding whether or not to pursue careers in neurosurgery. There is limited exposure to neurosurgery during medical school. Medical students have concerns regarding gender inequities (acceptance into residency, salaries, promotion, and achieving leadership positions). Gender inequity in academic medicine is not unique to neurosurgery; nonetheless, promotion to full professor, to neurosurgery department chair, or to a national leadership position is exceedingly rare within neurosurgery. Bright, competent, committed female neurosurgeons exist in the workforce, yet they are not being promoted in numbers comparable to their male counterparts. No female neurosurgeon has ever been president of the AANS, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, or Society of Neurological Surgeons (SNS), or chair of the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS). No female neurosurgeon has even been on the ABNS or the Neurological Surgery Residency Review Committee and, until this year, no more than 2 women have simultaneously been members of the SNS. Gender inequity serves as a barrier to the advancement of women within both academic and community-based neurosurgery.

Strategic Approach to Address Issues Identified.

To overcome the issues identified above, the authors recommend that the AANS join WINS in implementing a strategic plan, as follows: 1) Characterize the barriers. 2) Identify and eliminate discriminatory practices in the recruitment of medical students, in the training of residents, and in the hiring and advancement of neurosurgeons. 3) Promote women into leadership positions within organized neurosurgery. 4) Foster the development of female neurosurgeon role models by the training and promotion of competent, enthusiastic, female trainees and surgeons.

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Gabrielle Lynch, Karina Nieto, Saumya Puthenveettil, Marleen Reyes, Michael Jureller, Jason H. Huang, M. Sean Grady, Odette A. Harris, Aruna Ganju, Isabelle M. Germano, Julie G. Pilitsis, Susan C. Pannullo, Deborah L. Benzil, Aviva Abosch, Sarah J. Fouke, and Uzma Samadani

OBJECT

The objective of this study is to determine neurosurgery residency attrition rates by sex of matched applicant and by type and rank of medical school attended.

METHODS

The study follows a cohort of 1361 individuals who matched into a neurosurgery residency program through the SF Match Fellowship and Residency Matching Service from 1990 to 1999. The main outcome measure was achievement of board certification as documented in the American Board of Neurological Surgery Directory of Diplomats. A secondary outcome measure was documentation of practicing medicine as verified by the American Medical Association DoctorFinder and National Provider Identifier websites. Overall, 10.7% (n = 146) of these individuals were women. Twenty percent (n = 266) graduated from a top 10 medical school (24% of women [35/146] and 19% of men [232/1215], p = 0.19). Forty-five percent (n = 618) were graduates of a public medical school, 50% (n = 680) of a private medical school, and 5% (n = 63) of an international medical school. At the end of the study, 0.2% of subjects (n = 3) were deceased and 0.3% (n = 4) were lost to follow-up.

RESULTS

The total residency completion rate was 86.0% (n = 1171) overall, with 76.0% (n = 111/146) of women and 87.2% (n = 1059/1215) of men completing residency. Board certification was obtained by 79.4% (n = 1081) of all individuals matching into residency between 1990 and 1999. Overall, 63.0% (92/146) of women and 81.3% (989/1215) of men were board certified. Women were found to be significantly more at risk (p < 0.005) of not completing residency or becoming board certified than men. Public medical school alumni had significantly higher board certification rates than private and international alumni (82.2% for public [508/618]; 77.1% for private [524/680]; 77.8% for international [49/63]; p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in attrition for graduates of top 10–ranked institutions versus other institutions. There was no difference in number of years to achieve neurosurgical board certification for men versus women.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, neurosurgery training attrition rates are low. Women have had greater attrition than men during and after neurosurgery residency training. International and private medical school alumni had higher attrition than public medical school alumni.

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A. Gabriella Wernicke, Menachem Z. Yondorf, Luke Peng, Samuel Trichter, Lucy Nedialkova, Albert Sabbas, Fridon Kulidzhanov, Bhupesh Parashar, Dattatreyudu Nori, K. S. Clifford Chao, Paul Christos, Ilhami Kovanlikaya, Susan Pannullo, John A. Boockvar, Philip E. Stieg, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

Resected brain metastases have a high rate of local recurrence without adjuvant therapy. Adjuvant whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) remains the standard of care with a local control rate > 90%. However, WBRT is delivered over 10–15 days, which can delay other therapy and is associated with acute and long-term toxicities. Permanent cesium-131 (131Cs) implants can be used at the time of metastatic resection, thereby avoiding the need for any additional therapy. The authors evaluated the safety, feasibility, and efficacy of a novel therapeutic approach with permanent 131Cs brachytherapy at the resection for brain metastases.

Methods

After institutional review board approval was obtained, 24 patients with a newly diagnosed metastasis to the brain were accrued to a prospective protocol between 2010 and 2012. There were 10 frontal, 7 parietal, 4 cerebellar, 2 occipital, and 1 temporal metastases. Histology included lung cancer (16), breast cancer (2), kidney cancer (2), melanoma (2), colon cancer (1), and cervical cancer (1). Stranded 131Cs seeds were placed as permanent volume implants. The prescription dose was 80 Gy at a 5-mm depth from the resection cavity surface. Distant metastases were treated with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) or WBRT, depending on the number of lesions. The primary end point was local (resection cavity) freedom from progression (FFP). Secondary end points included regional FFP, distant FFP, median survival, overall survival (OS), and toxicity.

Results

The median follow-up was 19.3 months (range 12.89–29.57 months). The median age was 65 years (range 45–84 years). The median size of resected tumor was 2.7 cm (range 1.5–5.5 cm), and the median volume of resected tumor was 10.31 cm3 (range 1.77–87.11 cm3). The median number of seeds used was 12 (range 4–35), with a median activity of 3.82 mCi per seed (range 3.31–4.83 mCi) and total activity of 46.91 mCi (range 15.31–130.70 mCi). Local FFP was 100%. There was 1 adjacent leptomeningeal recurrence, resulting in a 1-year regional FFP of 93.8% (95% CI 63.2%–99.1%). One-year distant FFP was 48.4% (95% CI 26.3%–67.4%). Median OS was 9.9 months (95% CI 4.8 months, upper limit not estimated) and 1-year OS was 50.0% (95% CI 29.1%–67.8%). Complications included CSF leak (1), seizure (1), and infection (1). There was no radiation necrosis.

Conclusions

The use of postresection permanent 131Cs brachytherapy implants resulted in no local recurrences and no radiation necrosis. This treatment was safe, well tolerated, and convenient for patients, resulting in a short radiation treatment course, high response rate, and minimal toxicity. These findings merit further study with a multicenter trial.