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  • Author or Editor: Johannes Schramm x
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Konstantinos Gousias, Johannes Schramm and Matthias Simon

OBJECTIVE

Recent advances in radiotherapy and neuroimaging have called into question the traditional role of aggressive resections in patients with meningiomas. In the present study the authors reviewed their institutional experience with a policy based on maximal safe resections for meningiomas, and they analyzed the impact of the degree of resection on functional outcome and progression-free survival (PFS).

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed 901 consecutive patients with primary meningiomas (716 WHO Grade I, 174 Grade II, and 11 Grade III) who underwent resections at the University Hospital of Bonn between 1996 and 2008. Clinical and treatment parameters as well as tumor characteristics were analyzed using standard statistical methods.

RESULTS

The median follow-up was 62 months. PFS rates at 5 and 10 years were 92.6% and 86.0%, respectively. Younger age, higher preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score, and convexity tumor location, but not the degree of resection, were identified as independent predictors of a good functional outcome (defined as KPS Score 90–100). Independent predictors of PFS were degree of resection (Simpson Grade I vs II vs III vs IV), MIB-1 index (< 5% vs 5%–10% vs >10%), histological grade (WHO I vs II vs III), tumor size (≤ 6 vs > 6 cm), tumor multiplicity, and location. A Simpson Grade II rather than Grade I resection more than doubled the risk of recurrence at 10 years in the overall series (18.8% vs 8.5%). The impact of aggressive resections was much stronger in higher grade meningiomas.

CONCLUSIONS

A policy of maximal safe resections for meningiomas prolongs PFS and is not associated with increased morbidity.

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Matthias Simon, Georg Neuloh, Marec von Lehe, Bernhard Meyer and Johannes Schramm

Object

Treatment for insular (paralimbic) gliomas is controversial. In this report the authors summarize their experience with microsurgical resection of insular tumors.

Methods

The authors analyzed complications, functional outcomes, and survival in a series of 101 operations performed in 94 patients between 1995 and 2005.

Results

A > 90% resection was achieved in 42%, and 70–90% tumor removal was accomplished in 51% of cases. Functional outcomes varied considerably between patient subgroups. For example, in neurologically intact patients ≤ 40 years of age with WHO Grade I–III tumors, good outcomes (Karnofsky Performance Scale Score 80–100) were seen in 91% of cases. Predictors of an unfavorable functional outcome included histological features of glioblastoma, advanced age, and a low preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale score. One year after surgery, 76% of patients who had presented with epilepsy were seizure free or experienced only isolated, nondebilitating seizures. Surprisingly good survival rates were seen after surgery for anaplastic gliomas. The median survival for patients with anaplastic astrocytomas (WHO Grade III) was 5 years, and the 5-year survival rate for those with anaplastic oligodendroglial tumors was 80%. Independent predictors of survival included younger age, favorable histological features (WHO Grade I and oligodendroglial tumors), Yaşargil Type 5A/B tumors with frontal extensions, and more extensive resections.

Conclusions

Insular tumor surgery carries substantial complication rates. However, surprisingly similar figures have been reported in large unselected craniotomy series and also after alternative treatment regimens. In view of the oncological benefits of resective surgery, our data would therefore argue for microsurgery as the primary treatment for most patients with a presumed WHO Grade I–III tumor. Patients with glioblastomas and/or age > 60 years require a more cautious approach.

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Matthias Simon, Tjoung-Won Park, Sven Leuenroth, Volkmar H. J. Hans, Thomas Löning and Johannes Schramm

Object. In recent reports, 6 to 19% of meningiomas have been classified as atypical or anaplastic/malignant. Some atypical and anaplastic meningiomas appear to arise from benign tumors by progression. Telomerase activation has recently been associated with malignant progression of human tumors. The authors have investigated a series of benign, atypical, and anaplastic/malignant meningiomas for telomerase activity and expression of the telomerase catalytic subunit human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT).

Methods. A quantitative telomeric repeat amplification protocol was used to detect telomerase enzyme activity in seven (21%) of 34 benign, but in nine (75%) of 12 atypical and in seven (100%) of seven anaplastic/malignant meningiomas. Very high levels of telomerase activity were observed only in highly aggressive tumors. Messenger (m)RNA expression of the catalytic subunit hTERT was found in 11 (33%) of 33 benign, 12 (92%) of 13 atypical, and all seven anaplastic/malignant tumors. All telomerase-positive lesions were also positive for hTERT mRNA, whereas no telomerase activity was detected in six (21%) of 29 hTERT-positive tumors. This indicates that upregulation of hTERT is the rate-limiting step for telomerase activation in the majority of meningiomas. Expression of telomerase and hTERT was seen in all four tumors with gross brain invasion. All recurrent tumors or meningiomas recurring during follow up expressed hTERT.

Conclusions. The results are consistent with a role for telomerase activation during the development of malignancy in meningiomas. Hence, expression of telomerase activity and hTERT might prove to be potentially useful markers for the evaluation of these tumors.

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Daniel Delev, Anna Pavlova, Alexander Grote, Azize Boström, Anke Höllig, Johannes Schramm, Rolf Fimmers, Johannes Oldenburg and Matthias Simon

OBJECTIVE

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the brain are a frequent and important cause of intracranial hemorrhage in young adults. Little is known about the molecular-genetic pathomechanisms underlying AVM development. Genes of the NOTCH family control the normal development of vessels and proper arteriovenous specification. Transgenic mice with constitutive expression of active NOTCH4 frequently develop AVMs. Here, the authors report a genetic association study investigating possible associations between NOTCH4 gene polymorphisms and formation and clinical presentation of AVMs.

METHODS

After PCR amplification and direct DNA sequencing or restriction digests, 10 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the NOTCH4 gene were used for genotyping 153 AVM patients and 192 healthy controls (i.e., blood donors). Pertinent clinical data were available for 129 patients. Uni- and multivariate single-marker and explorative haplotype analyses were performed to identify potential genetic risk factors for AVM development and for hemorrhagic or epileptic presentation.

RESULTS

Eleven calculated haplotypes consisting of 3–4 SNPs (most of which were located in the epidermal growth factor–like domain of the NOTCH4 gene) were observed significantly more often among AVM patients than among controls. Univariate analysis indicated that rs443198_TT and rs915895_AA genotypes both were significantly associated with hemorrhage and that an rs1109771_GG genotype was associated with epilepsy. The association between rs443198_TT and AVM bleeding remained significant in the multivariate regression analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' results suggest NOTCH4 SNPs as possible genetic risk factors for the development and clinical presentation of AVMs and a role of NOTCH4 in the pathogenesis of this disease.

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Matthias Simon, Daniel Franke, Michael Ludwig, Ales F. Aliashkevich, Gertraud Köster, Johannes Oldenburg, Azize Boström, Andreas Ziegler and Johannes Schramm

Object

Important central nervous system (CNS) manifestations in patients with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) include arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs). Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia is caused by germline mutations of two genes: ENG (HHT Type 1) and ACVRL1 (HHT Type 2). The ENG gene variations have been associated with the formation of intracranial aneurysms. The authors studied whether sequence variations in ACVRL1 or ENG are associated with the development of clinically sporadic arteriovenous dysplasias and aneurysms of the CNS.

Methods

The coding sequence (in 44 patients with AVMs and 27 with aneurysms) and the 5′ end and the polyA site (in 53 patients with AVMs) of the ACVRL1 gene were analyzed for sequence variations using direct sequencing and single-strand conformational polymorphism analysis. One ENG and three ACVRL1 gene polymorphisms were genotyped using restriction enzyme–based analysis in 101 patients with sporadic AVMs and DAVFs of the CNS, 79 patients treated for intracranial aneurysms, and 202 control volunteers.

The authors identified a statistically significant association between the IVS3 −35A/T polymorphism in intron 3 of the ACVRL1 gene and the development of AVMs and DAVFs (p = 0.004; odds ratio [OR] 1.73; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.19–2.51; after adjustments for age and sex), but not aneurysms (crude OR 0.82; 95% CI 0.55–1.18).

Conclusions

The results of this study link ACVRL1 (HHT Type 2 gene) to the formation of the clinically sporadic variants of vascular malformations of the CNS most commonly seen in patients with HHT, that is, AVMs and DAVFs.

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William L. Young, Pui-Yan Kwok, Ludmila Pawlikowska, Michael T. Lawton, Helen Kim, Pirro G. Hysi and Douglas A. Marchuk

Object.

Important central nervous system (CNS) manifestations in patients with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) include arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs). Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia is caused by germline mutations of two genes: ENG (HHT Type 1) and ACVRL1 (HHT Type 2). The ENG gene variations have been associated with the formation of intracranial aneurysms. The authors studied whether sequence variations in ACVRL1 or ENG are associated with the development of clinically sporadic arteriovenous dysplasias and aneurysms of the CNS.

Methods.

The coding sequence (in 44 patients with AVMs and 27 with aneurysms) and the 5′ end and the polyA site (in 53 patients with AVMs) of the ACVRL1 gene were analyzed for sequence variations using direct sequencing and single-strand conformational polymorphism analysis. One ENG and three ACVRL1 gene polymorphisms were genotyped using restriction enzyme–based analysis in 101 patients with sporadic AVMs and DAVFs of the CNS, 79 patients treated for intracranial aneurysms, and 202 control volunteers.

The authors identified a statistically significant association between the IVS3 −35A/T polymorphism in intron 3 of the ACVRL1 gene and the development of AVMs and DAVFs (p = 0.004; odds ratio [OR] 1.73; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.19–2.51; after adjustments for age and sex), but not aneurysms (crude OR 0.82; 95% CI 0.55–1.18).

Conclusions.

The results of this study link ACVRL1 (HHT Type 2 gene) to the formation of the clinically sporadic variants of vascular malformations of the CNS most commonly seen in patients with HHT, that is, AVMs and DAVFs.