Christopher S. Graffeo, Kathryn M. Van Abel, Jonathan M. Morris, Matthew L. Carlson, Jamie J. Van Gompel, Eric J. Moore, Daniel L. Price, Jan L. Kasperbauer, Jeffrey R. Janus, Kerry D. Olsen and Michael J. Link
Vagus nerve and sympathetic chain cervical schwannomas (VNCSs and SCCSs) are benign nerve sheath tumors that arise in the head and neck. Despite similar presentations that make accurate preoperative diagnosis more difficult, the potential for morbidity following resection is significantly higher for patients with VNCS. Therefore, the authors analyzed a retrospective case series and performed a comparative analysis of the literature to establish diagnostic criteria to facilitate more accurate preoperative diagnoses.
The authors conducted a blinded review of imaging studies from retrospectively collected, operatively confirmed cases of VNCS and SCCS. They also performed a systematic review of published series that reported patient-specific preoperative imaging findings in VNCS or SCCS.
Nine patients with VNCS and 11 with SCCS were identified. In the study cohort, splaying of the internal carotid artery (ICA) and internal jugular vein (IJV) did not significantly predict the nerve of origin (p = 0.06); however, medial and lateral ICA displacement were significantly associated with VNCS and SCCS, respectively (p = 0.01 and p = 0.003, respectively). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that ICA and IJV splaying with medial ICA displacement carried an 86% probability of VNCS (p = 0.001), while the absence of splaying with lateral ICA displacement carried a 91% probability of SCCS (p = 0.006). The presence of vocal cord symptoms or peripheral enhancement significantly augmented the predictive probability of VNCS, as did Horner's syndrome or homogeneous enhancement for SCCS.
A review of the literature produced 25 publications that incorporated a total of 106 patients, including the present series. Splaying of the ICA and IJV was significantly, but not uniquely, associated with VNCS (p < 0.0001); multivariate analysis demonstrated that ICA and IJV splaying with medial ICA displacement carries a 75% probability of VNCS (p < 0.0001), while the absence of such splaying with lateral ICA displacement carries an 87% probability of SCCS (p = 0.0003).
ICA and IJV splaying frequently predicts VNCS; however, this finding is also commonly observed in SCCS and, among the 9 cases in the present study, was observed more often than previously reported. When congruent with splaying, medial or lateral ICA displacement significantly enhances the reliability of preoperative predictions, empowering more accurate prognostication.
Lucas P. Carlstrom, Jeffrey T. Jacob, Christopher S. Graffeo, Avital Perry, Michael S. Oldenburg, Robert L. Foote, Bruce E. Pollock, Colin L. Driscoll, Matthew L. Carlson and Michael J. Link
Radiation dose to the cochlea has been proposed as a key prognostic factor in hearing preservation following stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for vestibular schwannoma (VS). However, understanding of the predictive value of cochlear dose on hearing outcomes following SRS for patients with non-VS tumors of the lateral skull base (LSB) is incomplete. The authors investigated rates of hearing loss following high-dose SRS in patients with LSB non-VS lesions compared with patients with VS.
Patients with LSB meningioma or jugular paraganglioma and serviceable pretreatment hearing who underwent SRS treatment during 2007–2016 and received a modiolus dose > 5 Gy were included in a retrospective cohort study, along with a similarly identified control group of consecutive patients with sporadic VS.
Sixteen patients with non-VS tumors and a control group of 43 patients with VS met study criteria. Serviceable hearing, defined as American Academy of Otololaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery class A/B, was maintained in 13 non-VS versus 23 VS patients (81% vs 56%, p = 0.07). All 3 instances of hearing loss in non-VS patients were observed in cerebellopontine angle (CPA) meningiomas. Non-VS with preserved hearing had a median modiolus dose of 6.9 Gy (range 5.7–19.2 Gy), versus 7.4 Gy (range 5.4–7.6 Gy) in those patients with post-SRS hearing loss (p = 0.53). Sporadic VS patients received an overall median modiolus point-dose of 6.8 Gy (range 5.4–11.7 Gy).
The modiolus dose threshold of 5 Gy does not predict hearing loss in patients with non-VS tumors undergoing SRS, suggesting that dosimetric parameters derived from VS may not be applicable to this population. Differential rates of hearing loss appear to vary by pathology, with paragangliomas and petroclival meningiomas demonstrating decreased risk of hearing loss compared to CPA meningiomas that may directly compress the cochlear nerve similarly to VS.
Avital Perry, Christopher S. Graffeo, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Aditya Raghunathan, Colin L. W. Driscoll, Brian A. Neff, Matthew L. Carlson, Ian F. Parney, Michael J. Link and Jamie J. Van Gompel
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) have been implicated as pathologic actors in phenotypically aggressive vestibular schwannoma (VS), potentially mediated via programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). The authors hypothesized that PD-L1 is a key regulator of the VS immune microenvironment.
Forty-six consecutive, radiation-naïve, sporadic VSs that were subtotally resected at primary surgery were assessed via immunohistochemical analysis, including analysis of CD163 and PD-L1 expression. Pathologic data were correlated with clinical endpoints, including tumor control, facial nerve function, and complications.
Baseline parameters were equivalent between stable and progressive post–subtotal resection (STR) VS. CD163 percent positivity and M2 index were significantly increased among tumors that remained stable (34% vs 21%, p = 0.02; 1.13 vs 0.99, p = 0.0008), as well as patients with favorable House-Brackmann grade I or II facial nerve function (31% vs 13%, p = 0.04; 1.11 vs 0.97, p = 0.05). PD-L1 percent positivity was significantly associated with tumor progression (1% vs 11%, p = 0.01) and unfavorable House-Brackmann grade III–VI facial nerve function (1% vs 38%, p = 0.02). On multivariate analysis, PD-L1 was independently significant in all models (likelihood ratio 4.4, p = 0.04), while CD163 was dependent in all iterations.
In contrast to prior reports, in this study, the authors observed significantly increased levels of M1, CD163+ TAMs in association with VS that progressed after STR. Progressive tumors are characterized by increased PD-L1, potentially highlighting a mechanism of immune evasion that results in TAM deactivation, tumor growth, and further infiltration of anti-tumor immune cells. Targeting PD-1/PD-L1 may offer therapeutic promise, particularly in the setting of disease control after STR.