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Russell R. Lonser, Martin Baggenstos, H. Jeffrey Kim, John A. Butman and Alexander O. Vortmeyer

Object

Although endolymphatic sac tumors (ELSTs) frequently destroy the posterior petrous bone and cause hearing loss, the anatomical origin of these neoplasms is unknown. To determine the precise topographic origin of ELSTs, the authors analyzed the imaging, operative, and pathological findings in patients with von Hippel–Lindau disease (VHL) and ELSTs.

Methods

Consecutive VHL patients with small (≤ 1.5 cm) ELSTs who underwent resection at the National Institutes of Health were included. Clinical, imaging, operative, and pathological findings were analyzed.

Results

Ten consecutive VHL patients (6 male and 4 female) with 10 small ELSTs (≤ 1.5 cm; 9 left, 1 right) were included. Serial imaging captured the development of 6 ELSTs and revealed that they originated within the intraosseous (vestibular aqueduct) portion of the endolymphatic duct/sac system. Imaging just before surgery demonstrated that the epicenters of 9 ELSTs (1 ELST was not visible on preoperative imaging) were in the vestibular aqueduct. Inspection during surgery established that all 10 ELSTs were limited to the intraosseous endolymphatic duct/sac and the immediately surrounding region. Histological analysis confirmed tumor within the intraosseous portion (vestibular aqueduct) of the endolymphatic duct/sac in all 10 patients.

Conclusions

ELSTs originate from endolymphatic epithelium within the vestibular aqueduct. High-resolution imaging through the region of the vestibular aqueduct is essential for diagnosis. Surgical exploration of the endolymphatic duct and sac is required for complete resection.

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Ryszard M. Pluta, Scott D. Wait, John A. Butman, Kathleen A. Leppig, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Hemangioblastomas are histologically benign neoplasms that occur sporadically or as part of von Hippel–Lindau disease. Hemangioblastomas may occur anywhere along the neuraxis, but sacral hemangioblastomas are extremely rare. To identify features that will help guide the operative and clinical management of these lesions, the authors describe the management of a large von Hippel–Lindau disease–associated sacral hemangioblastoma and review the literature.

The authors present the case of a 38-year-old woman with von Hippel–Lindau disease and a 10-year history of progressive back pain, as well as left lower-extremity pain and numbness. Neurological examination revealed decreased sensation in the left S-1 and S-2 dermatomes. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a large enhancing lesion in the sacral region, with associated erosion of the sacrum. The patient underwent arteriography and embolization of the tumor and then resection. The histopathological diagnosis was consistent with hemangioblastoma and showed intrafascicular tumor infiltration of the S-2 nerve root. At 1-year follow-up examination, pain had resolved and numbness improved.

Sacral nerve root hemangioblastomas may be safely removed in most patients, resulting in stabilization or improvement in symptomatology. Generally, hemangioblastomas of the sacral nerve roots should be removed when they cause symptoms. Because they originate from the nerve root, the nerve root from which the hemangioblastoma originates must be sacrificed to achieve complete resection.

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Davis P. Argersinger, Stuart Walbridge, Nicholas M. Wetjen, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Tianxia Wu, John A. Butman and John D. Heiss

OBJECTIVE

Botulinum toxin serotype A (BoNT/A) was reported to raise the seizure threshold when injected into the seizure focus of a kindled rodent model. Delivering BoNT/A to the nonhuman primate (NHP) central nervous system via convection-enhanced delivery (CED) has not been performed. The objective of this study was to determine the toxicity and distribution characteristics of CED of BoNT/A into the NHP hippocampus and cisterna magna.

METHODS

Escalating BoNT/A doses were delivered by CED into the NHP hippocampus (n = 4) and cisterna magna (n = 5) for behavioral and histological assessment and to determine the highest nonlethal dose (LD0) and median lethal dose (LD50). Hippocampal BoNT/A was coinfused with Gd-albumin, a surrogate MRI tracer. Gd-albumin and radioiodinated BoNT/A (125I-BoNT/A) were coinfused into the hippocampus of 3 additional NHPs to determine BoNT/A distribution by in vivo MRI and postmortem quantitative autoradiography. Scintillation counting of CSF assessed the flow of 125I-BoNT/A from the hippocampus to CSF postinfusion.

RESULTS

LD0 and LD50 were 4.2 and 18 ng/kg, and 5 and > 5 ng/kg for the NHP hippocampus and cisterna magna, respectively. Gd-albumin and 125I-BoNT/A completely perfused the hippocampus (155–234 mm3) in 4 of 7 NHPs. Fifteen percent of BoNT/A entered CSF after hippocampal infusion. The MRI distribution volume of coinfused Gd-albumin (VdMRI) was similar to the quantitative autoradiography distribution of 125I-BoNT/A (VdQAR) (mean VdMRI = 139.5 mm3 [n = 7]; VdQAR = 134.8 mm3 [n = 3]; r = 1.00, p < 0.0001). No infusion-related toxicity was identified histologically except that directly attributable to needle placement.

CONCLUSIONS

Gd-albumin accurately tracked BoNT/A distribution on MRI. BoNT/A did not produce CNS toxicity. BoNT/A LD0 exceeded 10-fold the dose administered safely to humans for cosmesis and dystonia.

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Russell R. Lonser, Scott D. Wait, John A. Butman, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, McClellan M. Walther, Lance S. Governale and Edward H. Oldfield

Object

Hemangioblastomas in the lumbosacral region are rare, and the authors of prior reports have not defined the surgical management, histopathological features, or outcome in a group of patients after resection of these tumors. To identify features that will help guide the operative and clinical management of these lesions, the authors reviewed data obtained in a series of patients with von Hippel—Lindau syndrome who underwent resection of lumbosacral nerve root hemangioblastomas.

Methods

Six consecutive patients (three men and three women; mean age at surgery 39 years [range 31–48 years]) who underwent operations for resection of lumbosacral nerve root hemangioblastomas were included in this study. The mean follow-up period was 23 months (range 6–45 months). Data derived from examination, hospital charts, operative findings, histopathological analysis, and magnetic resonance imaging were used to analyze surgical management and clinical outcome. The resected tumors were located in the lumbar (five cases) or sacral (one case) regions; the mean tumor size was 2728 mm3 (range 80–15,022 mm3). Consistent with central nervous system (CNS) regional variation of space available to accommodate the neural compressive effect of the hemangioblastoma size, the mean tumor volume (2728 mm3) of these symptomatic lesions was much larger than that of symptomatic hemangioblastomas resected in the other regions of the CNS. Histopathological examination showed infiltration of the associated nerve root by the hemangioblastoma in each case. In five of the six patients complete resection was achieved, and in one patient intradural exploration of two hemangioblastomas was performed, but resection was not achieved because of motor root involvement. In all cases involving complete resections the patients experienced symptomatic improvement.

Conclusions

Lumbosacral nerve root hemangioblastomas can be safely removed in most patients with von Hippel—Lindau syndrome. Generally, hemangioblastomas of the lumbosacral nerve roots should be resected when they become symptomatic. Because these neoplasms appear to originate from the nerve root, it is necessary to sacrifice the nerve root from which the hemangioblastoma originates to achieve complete resection.

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David Croteau, Stuart Walbridge, Paul F. Morrison, John A. Butman, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Dennis Johnson, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object. Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is increasingly used to distribute therapeutic agents to locations in the central nervous system. The optimal application of convective distribution of various agents requires the development of imaging tracers to monitor CED in vivo in real time. The authors examined the safety and utility of an iodine-based low-molecular-weight surrogate tracer for computerized tomography (CT) scanning during CED.

Methods. Various volumes (total volume range 90–150 µ1) of iopamidol (MW 777 D) were delivered to the cerebral white matter of four primates (Macaca mulatta) by using CED. The distribution of this imaging tracer was determined by in vivo real-time and postinfusion CT scanning (≤ 5 days after infusion [one animal]) as well as by quantitative autoradiography (14C-sucrose [all animals] and 14C-dextran [one animal]), and compared with a mathematical model. Clinical observation (≤ 5 months) and histopathological analyses were used to evaluate the safety and toxicity of the tracer delivery.

Real-time CT scanning of the tracer during infusion revealed a clearly definable region of perfusion. The volume of distribution (Vd) increased linearly (r2 = 0.97) with an increasing volume of infusion (Vi). The overall Vd/Vi ratio was 4.1 ± 0.7 (mean ± standard deviation) and the distribution of infusate was homogeneous. Quantitative autoradiography confirmed the accuracy of the imaged distribution for a small (sucrose, MW 359 D) and a large (dextran, MW 70 kD) molecule. The distribution of the infusate was identifiable up to 72 hours after infusion. There was no clinical or histopathological evidence of toxicity in any animal.

Conclusions. Real-time in vivo CT scanning of CED of iopamidol appears to be safe, feasible, and suitable for monitoring convective delivery of drugs with certain features and low infusion volumes.

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Jay Jagannathan, John A. Butman, Russell R. Lonser, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Christopher K. Zalewski, Carmen Brewer, Edward H. Oldfield and H. Jeffrey Kim

✓ Endolymphatic sac tumors (ELSTs) are locally invasive neoplasms that arise in the posterior petrous bone and are associated with von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) disease. These tumors cause symptoms even when microscopic in size (below the threshold for detectability on imaging studies) and can lead to symptoms such as hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, and facial nerve dysfunction. While the mechanisms of audiovestibular dysfunction in patients harboring ELSTs are incompletely understood, they have critical implications for management. The authors present the case of a 33-year-old man with VHL disease and a 10-year history of progressive tinnitus, vertigo, and left-sided hearing loss. Serial T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and computed tomography scans revealed no evidence of tumor, but fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MR imaging sequences obtained after hearing loss demonstrated evidence of left intralabyrinthine hemorrhage. On the basis of progressive disabling audiovestibular dysfunction (tinnitus and vertigo), FLAIR imaging findings, and VHL disease status, the patient underwent surgical exploration of the posterior petrous region, and a small (2-mm) ELST was identified and completely resected. Postoperatively, the patient had improvement of the tinnitus and vertigo. Intralabyrinthine hemorrhage may be an early and the only neuroimaging sign of an ELST in patients with VHL disease and audiovestibular dysfunction. These findings support tumor-associated hemorrhage as a mechanism underlying the audiovestibular dysfunction associated with ELSTs.

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H. Jeffrey Kim, John A. Butman, Carmen Brewer, Christopher Zalewski, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Gladys Glenn, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object. Endolymphatic sac tumors (ELSTs), which often are associated with von Hippel—Lindau (VHL) disease, cause irreversible hearing loss and vestibulopathy. Clinical and imaging surveillance protocols provide new insights into the natural history, mechanisms of symptom formation, and indications for the treatment of ELSTs. To clarify the uncertainties associated with the pathophysiology and treatment of ELSTs, the authors describe a series of patients with VHL disease in whom serial examinations recorded the development of ELSTs.

Methods. Patients with VHL disease were included if serial clinical and imaging studies captured the development of ELSTs, and the patients underwent tumor resection. The patients' clinical, audiological, and imaging characteristics as well as their operative results were analyzed.

Five consecutive patients (three men and two women) with a mean age at surgery of 34.8 years and a follow-up period of 6 to 18 months were included in this study. Audiovestibular symptoms were present in three patients before a tumor was evident on neuroimaging. Imaging evidence of an intralabyrinthine hemorrhage coincided with a loss of hearing in three patients. Successful resection of the ELSTs was accomplished by performing a retrolabyrinthine posterior petrosectomy (RLPP). Hearing stabilized and vestibular symptoms resolved after surgery in all patients. No patient has experienced a recurrence.

Conclusions. Audiovestibular symptoms, including hearing loss, in patients with VHL disease can be the result of microscopic ELSTs. Once an ELST has been detected, it can be completely resected via an RLPP with preservation of hearing and amelioration of vestibular symptoms. Early detection and surgical treatment of small ELSTs, when hearing is still present, should reduce the incidence and severity of hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, and cranial nerve dysfunction, which are associated with these tumors.

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Russell R. Lonser, Stuart Walbridge, Kayhan Garmestani, John A. Butman, Hugh A. Walters, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Paul F. Morrison, Martin W. Brechbiel and Edward H. Oldfield

Object. Intrinsic disease processes of the brainstem (gliomas, neurodegenerative disease, and others) have remained difficult or impossible to treat effectively because of limited drug penetration across the blood—brainstem barrier with conventional delivery methods. The authors used convection-enhanced delivery (CED) of a macromolecular tracer visible on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to examine the utility of CED for safe perfusion of the brainstem.

Methods. Three primates (Macaca mulatta) underwent CED of various volumes of infusion ([Vis]; 85, 110, and 120 µl) of Gd-bound albumin (72 kD) in the pontine region of the brainstem during serial MR imaging. Infusate volume of distribution (Vd), homogeneity, and anatomical distribution were visualized and quantified using MR imaging. Neurological function was observed and recorded up to 35 days postinfusion. Histological analysis was performed in all animals. Large regions of the pons and midbrain were successfully and safely perfused with the macromolecular protein. The Vd was linearly proportional to the Vi (R2 = 0.94), with a Vd/Vi ratio of 8.7 ± 1.2 (mean ± standard deviation). Furthermore, the concentration across the perfused region was homogeneous. The Vd increased slightly at 24 hours after completion of the infusion, and remained larger until the intensity of infusion faded (by Day 7). No animal exhibited a neurological deficit after infusion. Histological analysis revealed normal tissue architecture and minimal gliosis that was limited to the region immediately surrounding the cannula track.

Conclusions. First, CED can be used to perfuse the brainstem safely and effectively with macromolecules. Second, a large-molecular-weight imaging tracer can be used successfully to deliver, monitor in vivo, and control the distribution of small- and large-molecular-weight putative therapeutic agents for treatment of intrinsic brainstem processes.

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H. Jeffrey Kim, John A. Butman, Brewer Carmen, Christopher Zalewski, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Gladys Glenn, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Endolymphatic sac tumors (ELSTs), which often are associated with von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) disease, cause irreversible hearing loss and vestibulopathy. Clinical and imaging surveillance protocols provide new insights into the natural history, mechanisms of symptom formation, and indications for the treatment of ELSTs. To clarify the uncertainties associated with the pathophysiology and treatment of ELSTs, the authors describe a series of patients with VHL disease in whom serial examinations recorded the development of ELSTs.

Methods

Patients with VHL disease were included if serial clinical and imaging studies captured the development of ELSTs, and the patients underwent tumor resection. The patients' clinical, audiological, and imaging characteristics as well as their operative results were analyzed.

Five consecutive patients (three men and two women) with a mean age at surgery of 34.8 years and a follow-up period of 6 to 18 months were included in this study. Audiovestibular symptoms were present in three patients before a tumor was evident on neuroimaging. Imaging evidence of an intralabyrinthine hemorrhage coincided with a loss of hearing in three patients. Successful resection of the ELSTs was accomplished by performing a retrolabyrinthine posterior petrosectomy (RLPP). Hearing stabilized and vestibular symptoms resolved after surgery in all patients. No patient has experienced a recurrence.

Conclusions

Audiovestibular symptoms, including hearing loss, in patients with VHL disease can be the result of microscopic ELSTs. Once an ELST has been detected, it can be completely resected via an RLPP with preservation of hearing and amelioration of vestibular symptoms. Early detection and surgical treatment of small ELSTs, when hearing is still present, should reduce the incidence and severity of hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, and cranial nerve dysfunction, which are associated with these tumors.