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  • Author or Editor: Annette M. Molinaro x
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Darryl Lau, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Susan Chang, Annette M. Molinaro, Michael W. McDermott, Joanna J. Phillips and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECT

There is evidence that 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) facilitates greater extent of resection and improves 6-month progression-free survival in patients with high-grade gliomas. But there remains a paucity of studies that have examined whether the intensity of ALA fluorescence correlates with tumor cellularity. Therefore, a Phase II clinical trial was undertaken to examine the correlation of intensity of ALA fluorescence with the degree of tumor cellularity.

METHODS

A single-center, prospective, single-arm, open-label Phase II clinical trial of ALA fluorescence-guided resection of high-grade gliomas (Grade III and IV) was held over a 43-month period (August 2010 to February 2014). ALA was administered at a dose of 20 mg/kg body weight. Intraoperative biopsies from resection cavities were collected. The biopsies were graded on a 4-point scale (0 to 3) based on ALA fluorescence intensity by the surgeon and independently based on tumor cellularity by a neuropathologist. The primary outcome of interest was the correlation of ALA fluorescence intensity to tumor cellularity. The secondary outcome of interest was ALA adverse events. Sensitivities, specificities, positive predictive values (PPVs), negative predictive values (NPVs), and Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated.

RESULTS

A total of 211 biopsies from 59 patients were included. Mean age was 53.3 years and 59.5% were male. The majority of biopsies were glioblastoma (GBM) (79.7%). Slightly more than half (52.5%) of all tumors were recurrent. ALA intensity of 3 correlated with presence of tumor 97.4% (PPV) of the time. However, absence of ALA fluorescence (intensity 0) correlated with the absence of tumor only 37.7% (NPV) of the time. For all tumor types, GBM, Grade III gliomas, and recurrent tumors, ALA intensity 3 correlated strongly with cellularity Grade 3; Spearman correlation coefficients (r) were 0.65, 0.66, 0.65, and 0.62, respectively. The specificity and PPV of ALA intensity 3 correlating with cellularity Grade 3 ranged from 95% to 100% and 86% to 100%, respectively. In biopsies without tumor (cellularity Grade 0), 35.4% still demonstrated ALA fluorescence. Of those biopsies, 90.9% contained abnormal brain tissue, characterized by reactive astrocytes, scattered atypical cells, or inflammation, and 8.1% had normal brain. In nonfluorescent (ALA intensity 0) biopsies, 62.3% had tumor cells present. The ALA-associated complication rate among the study cohort was 3.4%.

CONCLUSIONS

The PPV of utilizing the most robust ALA fluorescence intensity (lava-like orange) as a predictor of tumor presence is high. However, the NPV of utilizing the absence of fluorescence as an indicator of no tumor is poor. ALA intensity is a strong predictor for degree of tumor cellularity for the most fluorescent areas but less so for lower ALA intensities. Even in the absence of tumor cells, reactive changes may lead to ALA fluorescence.

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Penny K. Sneed, Joe Mendez, Johanna G. M. Vemer-van den Hoek, Zachary A. Seymour, Lijun Ma, Annette M. Molinaro, Shannon E. Fogh, Jean L. Nakamura and Michael W. McDermott

OBJECT

The authors sought to determine the incidence, time course, and risk factors for overall adverse radiation effect (ARE) and symptomatic ARE after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for brain metastases.

METHODS

All cases of brain metastases treated from 1998 through 2009 with Gamma Knife SRS at UCSF were considered. Cases with less than 3 months of follow-up imaging, a gap of more than 8 months in imaging during the 1st year, or inadequate imaging availability were excluded. Brain scans and pathology reports were reviewed to ensure consistent scoring of dates of ARE, treatment failure, or both; in case of uncertainty, the cause of lesion worsening was scored as indeterminate. Cumulative incidence of ARE and failure were estimated with the Kaplan-Meier method with censoring at last imaging. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards analyses were performed.

RESULTS

Among 435 patients and 2200 brain metastases evaluable, the median patient survival time was 17.4 months and the median lesion imaging follow-up was 9.9 months. Calculated on the basis of 2200 evaluable lesions, the rates of treatment failure, ARE, concurrent failure and ARE, and lesion worsening with indeterminate cause were 9.2%, 5.4%, 1.4%, and 4.1%, respectively. Among 118 cases of ARE, approximately 60% were symptomatic and 85% occurred 3–18 months after SRS (median 7.2 months). For 99 ARE cases managed without surgery or bevacizumab, the probabilities of improvement observed on imaging were 40%, 57%, and 76% at 6, 12, and 18 months after onset of ARE. The most important risk factors for ARE included prior SRS to the same lesion (with 20% 1-year risk of symptomatic ARE vs 3%, 4%, and 8% for no prior treatment, prior whole brain radiotherapy [WBRT], or concurrent WBRT) and any of these volume parameters: target, prescription isodose, 12-Gy, or 10-Gy volume. Excluding lesions treated with repeat SRS, the 1-year probabilities of ARE were < 1%, 1%, 3%, 10%, and 14% for maximum diameter 0.3–0.6 cm, 0.7–1.0 cm, 1.1–1.5 cm, 1.6–2.0 cm, and 2.1–5.1 cm, respectively. The 1-year probabilities of symptomatic ARE leveled off at 13%–14% for brain metastases maximum diameter > 2.1 cm, target volume > 1.2 cm3, prescription isodose volume > 1.8 cm3,12-Gy volume > 3.3 cm3, and 10-Gy volume > 4.3 cm3, excluding lesions treated with repeat SRS. On both univariate and multivariate analysis, capecitabine, but not other systemic therapy within 1 month of SRS, appeared to increase ARE risk. For the multivariate analysis considering only metastases with target volume > 1.0 cm3, risk factors for ARE included prior SRS, kidney primary tumor, connective tissue disorder, and capecitabine.

CONCLUSIONS

Although incidence of ARE after SRS was low overall, risk increased rapidly with size and volume, leveling off at a 1-year cumulative incidence of 13%–14%. This study describes the time course of ARE and provides risk estimates by various lesion characteristics and treatment parameters to aid in decision-making and patient counseling.

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Zachary A. Seymour, Penny K. Sneed, Nalin Gupta, Michael T. Lawton, Annette M. Molinaro, William Young, Christopher F. Dowd, Van V. Halbach, Randall T. Higashida and Michael W. McDermott

OBJECT

Large arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) remain difficult to treat, and ideal treatment parameters for volume-staged stereotactic radiosurgery (VS-SRS) are still unknown. The object of this study was to compare VS-SRS treatment outcomes for AVMs larger than 10 ml during 2 eras; Era 1 was 1992-March 2004, and Era 2 was May 2004–2008. In Era 2 the authors prospectively decreased the AVM treatment volume, increased the radiation dose per stage, and shortened the interval between stages.

METHODS

All cases of VS-SRS treatment for AVM performed at a single institution were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS

Of 69 patients intended for VS-SRS, 63 completed all stages. The median patient age at the first stage of VS-SRS was 34 years (range 9–68 years). The median modified radiosurgery-based AVM score (mRBAS), total AVM volume, and volume per stage in Era 1 versus Era 2 were 3.6 versus 2.7, 27.3 ml versus 18.9 ml, and 15.0 ml versus 6.8 ml, respectively. The median radiation dose per stage was 15.5 Gy in Era 1 and 17.0 Gy in Era 2, and the median clinical follow-up period in living patients was 8.6 years in Era 1 and 4.8 years in Era 2. All outcomes were measured from the first stage of VS-SRS. Near or complete obliteration was more common in Era 2 (log-rank test, p = 0.0003), with 3- and 5-year probabilities of 5% and 21%, respectively, in Era 1 compared with 24% and 68% in Era 2. Radiosurgical dose, AVM volume per stage, total AVM volume, era, compact nidus, Spetzler-Martin grade, and mRBAS were significantly associated with near or complete obliteration on univariate analysis. Dose was a strong predictor of response (Cox proportional hazards, p < 0.001, HR 6.99), with 3- and 5-year probabilities of near or complete obliteration of 5% and 16%, respectively, at a dose < 17 Gy versus 23% and 74% at a dose ≥ 17 Gy. Dose per stage, compact nidus, and total AVM volume remained significant predictors of near or complete obliteration on multivariate analysis. Seventeen patients (25%) had salvage surgery, SRS, and/or embolization. Allowing for salvage therapy, the probability of cure was more common in Era 2 (log-rank test, p = 0.0007) with 5-year probabilities of 0% in Era 1 versus 41% in Era 2. The strong trend toward improved cure in Era 2 persisted on multivariate analysis even when considering mRBAS (Cox proportional hazards, p = 0.055, HR 4.01, 95% CI 0.97–16.59). The complication rate was 29% in Era 1 compared with 13% in Era 2 (Cox proportional hazards, not significant).

CONCLUSIONS

VS-SRS is an option to obliterate or downsize large AVMs. Decreasing the AVM treatment volume per stage to ≤ 8 ml with this technique allowed a higher dose per fraction and decreased time to response, as well as improved rates of near obliteration and cure without increasing complications. Reducing the volume of these very large lesions can facilitate a surgical approach for cure.

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Ankush Chandra, Jonathan W. Rick, Cecilia Dalle Ore, Darryl Lau, Alan T. Nguyen, Diego Carrera, Alexander Bonte, Annette M. Molinaro, Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Michael W. McDermott, Mitchel S. Berger and Manish K. Aghi

OBJECTIVE

Glioblastoma (GBM) is an aggressive brain malignancy with a short overall patient survival, yet there remains significant heterogeneity in outcomes. Although access to health care has previously been linked to impact on prognosis in several malignancies, this question remains incompletely answered in GBM.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective analysis of 354 newly diagnosed patients with GBM who underwent first resection at the authors’ institution (2007–2015).

RESULTS

Of the 354 patients (median age 61 years, and 37.6% were females), 32 (9.0%) had no insurance, whereas 322 (91.0%) had insurance, of whom 131 (40.7%) had Medicare, 45 (14%) had Medicaid, and 146 (45.3%) had private insurance. On average, insured patients survived almost 2-fold longer (p < 0.0001) than those who were uninsured, whereas differences between specific insurance types did not influence survival. The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for death was higher in uninsured patients (HR 2.27 [95% CI 1.49–3.33], p = 0.0003). Age, mean household income, tumor size at diagnosis, and extent of resection did not differ between insured and uninsured patients, but there was a disparity in primary care physician (PCP) status—none of the uninsured patients had PCPs, whereas 72% of insured patients had PCPs. Postoperative adjuvant treatment rates with temozolomide (TMZ) and radiation therapy (XRT) were significantly less in uninsured (TMZ in 56.3%, XRT in 56.3%) than in insured (TMZ in 75.2%, XRT in 79.2%; p = 0.02 and p = 0.003) patients. Insured patients receiving both agents had better prognosis than uninsured patients receiving the same treatment (9.1 vs 16.34 months; p = 0.025), suggesting that the survival effect in insured patients could only partly be explained by higher treatment rates. Moreover, having a PCP increased survival among the insured cohort (10.7 vs 16.1 months, HR 1.65 [95% CI 1.27–2.15]; p = 0.0001), which could be explained by significant differences in tumor diameter at initial diagnosis between patients with and without PCPs (4.3 vs 4.8 cm, p = 0.003), and a higher rate of clinical trial enrollment, suggesting a critical role of PCPs for a timelier diagnosis of GBM and proactive cancer care management.

CONCLUSIONS

Access to health care is a strong determinant of prognosis in newly diagnosed patients with GBM. Any type of insurance coverage and having a PCP improved prognosis in this patient cohort. Higher rates of treatment with TMZ plus XRT, clinical trial enrollment, fewer comorbidities, and early diagnosis may explain survival disparities. Lack of health insurance or a PCP are major challenges within the health care system, which, if improved upon, could favorably impact the prognosis of patients with GBM.