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Russell R. Lonser, Debbie K. Song, Jacob Klapper, Marygrace Hagan, Sungyoung Auh, P. Benjamin Kerr, Deborah E. Citrin, John D. Heiss, Kevin Camphausen and Steven A. Rosenberg

Object

Despite the increasing use of immunotherapy in the treatment of metastatic melanoma, the effects of this therapy on the management of patients with associated brain metastases are not completely defined. The authors undertook this study to determine the effectiveness of resection and the effects of immunotherapy on brain metastasis management.

Methods

The authors analyzed data pertaining to consecutive patients with metastatic melanoma treated with immunotherapy within 3 months of discovery of brain metastases that were surgically resected.

Results

Forty-one patients (median age 44.4 years, range 19.2–63.1 years) underwent resection of 53 brain metastases (median number of metastases 1, range 1–4). The median metastasis volume was 2.5 cm3. Fifteen patients underwent whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) and 26 patients did not. Duration of survival from brain metastasis diagnosis was not significantly different between patients who received WBRT (mean 24.9 months) and those who did not (mean 23.3 months) (p > 0.05). Local and distant brain recurrence rates were not statistically different between the WBRT (7.1% and 28.6%, respectively) and non-WBRT (7.7% and 41.0%) groups for the duration of follow-up (p > 0.05). An objective systemic response to immunotherapy was associated with increased duration of survival (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

Resection of melanoma brain metastases in patients treated with immunotherapy provides excellent local control with low morbidity. An objective response to systemic immunotherapy is associated with a prolonged survival in patients who have undergone resection of melanoma brain metastases. Moreover, adjuvant WBRT in melanoma immunotherapy patients with limited metastatic disease to the brain does not appear to provide a significant survival benefit.

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Gautam U. Mehta, Ashok R. Asthagiri, Kamran D. Bakhtian, Sungyoung Auh, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Spinal cord hemangioblastomas are a common protean manifestation of von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease and can be associated with significant morbidity. To better define expected outcome and optimal management of these tumors in the context of this neoplasia syndrome, the authors analyzed the findings from patients with VHL disease who underwent resection of spinal cord hemangioblastomas.

Methods

Consecutive patients with VHL disease who underwent surgery for spinal cord hemangioblastomas with > 6 months follow-up were included in the study. Serial clinical examinations, functional scores, imaging findings, and operative records were analyzed.

Results

One hundred eight patients (57 male, 51 female) underwent 156 operations for resection of 218 spinal cord hemangioblastomas. One hundred forty-six operations (94%) were performed for symptom-producing tumors. The most common presenting symptoms included hypesthesia (64% of resections), hyperreflexia (57%), dysesthesia (43%), and weakness (36%). Mean follow-up was 7.0 ± 5.0 years (range 0.5–20.9 years). Complete resection was achieved for 217 tumors (99.5%). At 6-months follow-up, patients were stable or improved after 149 operations (96%) and worse after 7 operations (4%). Ventral tumors (OR 15.66, 95% CI 2.54–96.45; p = 0.003) or completely intramedullary tumors (OR 10.74, 95% CI 2.07–55.66; p = 0.005) were associated with an increased risk of postoperative worsening. The proportion of patients remaining functionally stable at 2, 5, 10, and 15 years' follow-up was 93, 86, 78, and 78%. Long-term functional decline was caused by extensive VHL-associated CNS disease (6 patients), VHL-associated visceral disease (1 patient), or non-VHL disease (2 patients).

Conclusions

Resection of symptomatic spinal cord hemangioblastomas is a safe and effective means of preserving neurological function in patients with VHL disease. Tumor location (ventral or completely intramedullary) can be used to assess functional risk associated with surgery. Long-term decline in neurological function is usually caused by VHL-associated disease progression.