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Julie E. York, Garrett L. Walsh, Frederick F. Lang, Joe B. Putnam, Ian E. McCutcheon, Stephen G. Swisher, Ritsuko Komaki and Ziya L Gokaslan

Object. Traditionally, superior sulcus tumors of the lung that involve the chest wall and spinal column have been considered to be unresectable, and historically, patients harboring these tumors have been treated with local radiation therapy with, at best, modest results. The value of gross-total resection remains unclear in this patient population; however, with the recent advances in surgical technique and spinal instrumentation, procedures involving more radical removal of such tumors are now possible. At The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the authors have developed a new technique for resecting superior sulcus tumors that invade the chest wall and spinal column. They present a technical description of this procedure and results in nine patients in whom stage IIIb superior sulcus tumors extensively invaded the vertebral column.

Methods. These patients underwent gross-total tumor resection via a combined approach that included posterolateral thoracotomy, apical lobectomy, chest wall resection, laminectomy, vertebrectomy, anterior spinal column reconstruction with methylmethacrylate, and placement of spinal instrumentation. There were six men and three women, with a mean age of 55 years (range 36–72 years). Histological examination revealed squamous cell carcinoma (three patients), adenocarcinoma (four patients), and large cell carcinoma (two patients). The mean postoperative follow-up period was 16 months. All patients are currently ambulatory or remained ambulatory until they died. Pain related to tumor invasion improved in four patients and remained unchanged in five. In three patients instrumentation failed and required revision. There was one case of cerebrospinal fluid leakage that was treated with lumbar drainage and one case of wound breakdown that required revision. Two patients experienced local tumor recurrence, and one patient developed a second primary lung tumor.

Conclusions. The authors conclude that in selected patients, combined radical resection of superior sulcus tumors of the lung that involve the chest wall and spinal column may represent an acceptable treatment modality that can offer a potential cure while preserving neurological function and providing pain control.

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Daniel J. Miller, Frederick F. Lang, Garrett L. Walsh, Dima Abi-Said, David M. Wildrick and Ziya L. Gokaslan

Object. A unique method of anterior spinal reconstruction after decompressive surgery was used to prevent methylmethacrylate—dural contact in cancer patients who underwent corpectomy. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy and stability of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) anterior surgical constructs in conjunction with anterior cervical plate stabilization (ACPS) in these patients.

Methods. Approximately 700 patients underwent spinal surgery at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center over a 4-year period. The authors conducted a retrospective outcome study for 29 of these patients who underwent anterior cervical or upper thoracic tumor resections while in the supine position. These patients were all treated using the coaxial, double-lumen, PMMA technique for anterior spinal reconstruction with subsequent ACPS. No postoperative external orthoses were used. Twenty-seven patients (93%) harbored metastatic spinal lesions and two (7%) harbored primary tumors. At 1 month postsurgery, significant improvement was seen in spinal axial pain (p < 0.001), radiculopathy (p < 0.00 1), gait (p = 0.008), and Frankel grade (p = 0.002). A total of nine patients (31%) underwent combined anterior—posterior 360° stabilization. Twenty-one patients (72%) experienced no complications. Complications related to instrumentation failure occurred in only two patients (7%). There were no cases in which the patients' status worsened, and there were no neurological complications or infections. The median Kaplan—Meier survival estimate for patients with spinal metastases was 9.5 months. At the end of the study, 13 patients (45%) had died and 16 (55%) were alive. Postoperative magnetic resonance images consistently demonstrated that the dura and PMMA in all patients remained separated.

Conclusions. The anterior, coaxial, double-lumen, PMMA reconstruction technique provides a simple means of spinal cord protection in patients in the supine position while undergoing surgery and offers excellent results in cancer patients who have undergone cervical vertebrectomy.

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Frederick F. Lang, W. K. Alfred Yung, Uma Raju, Floralyn Libunao, Nicholas H. A. Terry and Philip J. Tofilon

Object. The authors sought to determine whether combining p53 gene transfer with radiation therapy would enhance the therapeutic killing of p53 wild-type glioma cells. It has been shown in several reports that adenovirus-mediated delivery of the p53 gene into p53 mutant gliomas results in dramatic apoptosis, but has little effect on gliomas containing wild-type p53 alleles. Therefore, p53 gene therapy alone may not be a clinically effective treatment for gliomas because most gliomas are composed of both p53 mutant and wild-type cell populations. One potential approach to overcome this problem is to exploit the role p53 plays as an important determinant in the cellular response to ionizing radiation.

Methods. In vitro experiments were performed using the glioma cell line U87MG, which contains wild-type p53. Comparisons were made to the glioma cell line U251MG, which contains a mutant p53 allele. Monolayer cultures were infected with an adenovirus containing wild-type p53 (Ad5CMV-p53), a control vector (dl312), or Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM). Two days later, cultures were irradiated and colony-forming efficiency was determined. Transfection with p53 had only a minor effect on the plating efficiency of nonirradiated U87MG cells, reducing the plating efficiency from 0.23 ± 0.01 in DMEM to 0.22 ± 0.04 after addition of Ad5CMV-p53. However, p53 transfection significantly enhanced the radiosensitivity of these cells. The dose enhancement factor at a surviving fraction of 0.10 was 1.5, and the surviving fraction at 2 Gy was reduced from 0.61 in untransfected controls to 0.38 in p53-transfected cells. Transfection of the viral vector control (dl312) had no effect on U87MG radiosensitivity. In comparison, transfection of Ad5CMV-p53 into the p53 mutant cell line U251MG resulted in a significant decrease in the surviving fraction of these cells compared with controls, and no radiosensitization was detected.

To determine whether Ad5CMV-p53—mediated radiosensitization of U87MG cells involved an increase in the propensity of these cells to undergo apoptosis, flow cytometric analysis of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated biotinylated-deoxyuridinetriphosphate nick-end labeling—stained cells was performed. Whereas the amount of radiation-induced apoptosis in uninfected and dl312-infected control cells was relatively small (2.1 ± 0.05% and 3.7 ± 0.5%, respectively), the combination of Ad5CMV-p53 infection and radiation treatment significantly increased the apoptotic frequency (18.6 ± 1.4%).

To determine whether infection with Ad5CMV-p53 resulted in increased expression of functional exogenous p53 protein, Western blot analysis of p53 was performed on U87MG cells that were exposed to 9 Gy of radiation 2 days after exposure to Ad5CMV-p53, dl312, or DMEM. Infection with Ad5CMV-p53 alone increased p53 levels compared with DMEM- or dl312-treated cells. Irradiation of Ad5CMV-p53—infected cells resulted in a further increase in p53 that reached a maximum at 2 hours postirradiation. To determine whether exogenous p53 provided by Ad5CMV-p53 had transactivating activity, U87MG cells were treated as described earlier and p21 messenger RNA levels were determined. Infection of U87MG cells with Ad5CMV-p53 only resulted in an increase in p21 compared with DMEM- and dl312-treated cells. Irradiation of Ad5CMV-p53—infected cells resulted in an additional time-dependent increase in p21 expression.

Conclusions. These data indicate that adenovirus-mediated delivery of p53 may enhance the radioresponse of brain tumor cells containing wild-type p53 and that this radiosensitization may involve converting from a clonogenic to the more sensitive apoptotic form of cell death. Although the mechanism underlying this enhanced apoptotic susceptibility is unknown, the Ad5CMV-p53—infected cells have a higher level of p53 protein, which increases further after irradiation, and this exogenous p53 is transcriptionally active. Thus, it is possible that the combination of Ad5CMV-p53 infection and radiation treatment increases p53 protein to a level that is sufficient to overcome at least partially the block in apoptosis existing in U87MG cells.

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Central nervous system gangliogliomas

Part 2: Clinical outcome

Frederick F. Lang, Fred J. Epstein, Joseph Ransohoff, Jeffrey C. Allen, Jeffrey Wisoff, I. Richmond Abbott and Douglas C. Miller

The records of 58 patients with gangliogliomas surgically treated between January 1, 1980, and June 30, 1990, were retrospectively reviewed in order to determine long-term survival, event-free survival, and functional outcome resulting after radical resection and to assess the impact of histological grading on outcome. Tumors were located in the cerebral hemisphere in 19 cases, the spinal cord in 30, and the brain stem in nine. Forty-four patients had gross total resection and 14 had radical subtotal resection. Only six patients underwent postoperative irradiation or chemotherapy and, therefore, the outcome was generally related to surgery alone. Of the 58 gangliogliomas, 40 were classified as histological grade I, 16 were grade II, and two were grade III. The median follow-up period was 56 months. There were no operative deaths, and the operative morbidity rate was 5%, 37%, and 33% for cerebral hemisphere, spinal cord, and brain-stem gangliogliomas, respectively. The 5-year actuarial survival rates for cerebral hemisphere, spinal cord, and brain-stem gangliogliomas were 93%, 84%, and 73%, respectively (p = 0.7). The event-free survival rate at 5 years was 95% for cerebral hemisphere gangliogliomas and 36% for spinal cord gangliogliomas (p < 0.05); for brain-stem gangliogliomas the event-free survival rate at 3 years was 53% (p < 0.05). Neurological function at recent follow-up evaluation was stable or improved in 81% of patients. Multivariate analysis (Cox linear regression) revealed tumor location to be the only variable predictive of outcome, with spinal cord and brain-stem gangliogliomas having a 3.5- and 5-fold increased relative risk of recurrence, respectively, compared to cerebral hemisphere gangliogliomas. Histological grade was not predictive of outcome, although in each location there was a trend for higher-grade tumors to have a shorter time to recurrence. It is concluded that radical surgery leads to long-term survival of patients with gangliogliomas, regardless of location, and adjuvant therapy can probably be reserved for special cases.

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Ziya L. Gokaslan, Julie E. York, Garrett L. Walsh, Ian E. McCutcheon, Frederick F. Lang, Joe B. Putnam Jr., David M. Wildrick, Stephen G. Swisher, Dima Abi-Said and Raymond Sawaya

Anterior approaches to the spine for the treatment of spinal tumors have gained acceptance; however, in most published reports, patients with primary, metastatic, or chest wall tumors involving cervical, thoracic, or lumbar regions of the spine are combined. The purpose of this study was to provide a clear perspective of results that can be expected in patients who undergo anterior vertebral body resection, reconstruction, and stabilization for spinal metastases that are limited to the thoracic region.

Outcome is presented for 72 patients with metastatic spinal tumors who were treated by transthoracic vertebrectomy at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The predominant primary tumors included renal cancer in 19 patients, breast cancer in 10, melanoma or sarcoma in 10, and lung cancer in nine patients. The most common presenting symptoms were back pain, which occurred in 90% of patients, and lower-extremity weakness, which occurred in 64% of patients. All patients underwent transthoracic vertebrectomy, decompression, reconstruction with methylmethacrylate, and anterior fixation with locking plate and screw constructs. Supplemental posterior instrumentation was required in seven patients with disease involving the cervicothoracic or thoracolumbar junction, which was causing severe kyphosis. After surgery, pain improved in 60 of 65 patients. This improvement was found to be statistically significant (p < 0.001) based on visual analog scales and narcotic analgesic medication use. Thirty-five of the 46 patients who presented with neurological dysfunction improved significantly (p < 0.001) following the procedure. Thirty-three patients had weakness but could ambulate preoperatively. Seventeen of these 33 regained normal strength, 15 patients continued to have weakness, and one patient was neurologically worse postoperatively. Of the 13 preoperatively nonambulatory patients, 10 could walk after surgery and three were still unable to walk but showed improved motor function. Twenty-one patients had complications ranging from minor atelectasis to pulmonary embolism. The 30-day mortality rate was 3%. The 1-year survival rate for the entire study population was 62%.

These results suggest that transthoracic vertebrectomy and spinal stabilization can improve the quality of life considerably in cancer patients with spinal metastasis by restoring or preserving ambulation and by controlling intractable spinal pain with acceptable rates of morbidity and mortality.

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Akash J. Patel, Dima Suki, Mustafa Aziz Hatiboglu, Hiba Abouassi, Weiming Shi, David M. Wildrick, Frederick F. Lang and Raymond Sawaya

Object

Local recurrence (LR) of a resected brain metastasis occurs in up to 46% of patients. Postoperative whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) reduces that incidence. To isolate factors associated with the risk of LR after resection, the authors only studied patients who did not receive adjuvant radiotherapy.

Methods

The authors reviewed data from 570 cases involving patients who had undergone resection of a previously untreated single brain metastasis at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center between 1993 and 2006 without receiving postoperative WBRT. All tumors were measured preoperatively on MR images. The resection method (en bloc resection [EBR] or piecemeal resection [PMR]) was noted at the time of surgery. Predictors of LR were assessed using the Cox proportional hazards model.

Results

The median patient age was 58 years, 55% were male, and 88% had a Karnofsky Performance Scale Score ≥ 80. The most common primary cancers were those of the lung (28%), skin (melanoma, 21%), kidney (19%), and breast (11%). Piecemeal resection was performed in 201 patients (35%) and EBR in 369 (65%). Local recurrence developed in 84 patients (15%). The histological type of the primary cancer did not significantly predict LR; however, 7 of 22 patients with sarcoma developed LR (p = 0.16). The authors identified 2 variables that increased the risk of LR. Undergoing PMR carried a significantly higher LR risk than EBR (crude hazard ratio [HR] 1.7, 95% CI 1.1–2.6, p = 0.03). Tumors exceeding the median volume (9.7 cm3) had a significantly higher LR risk than those that were < 9.7 cm3 (crude HR 1.7; 95% CI 1.1–2.6; p = 0.02). In the multivariate analysis, small tumors removed by EBR had a significantly lower LR risk.

Conclusions

The LR risk of a single brain metastasis is influenced by biological factors (such as tumor volume) and treatments (such as the resection method). Early administration of postoperative WBRT may be particularly warranted when such negative tumor-related prognostic factors are noted or when treatment-related ones such as PMR are unavoidable.

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Adam S. Wu, Victoria T. Trinh, Dima Suki, Susan Graham, Arthur Forman, Jeffrey S. Weinberg, Ian E. McCutcheon, Sujit S. Prabhu, Amy B. Heimberger, Raymond Sawaya, Xuemei Wang, Wei Qiao, Kenneth R. Hess and Frederick F. Lang

Object

Seizures are a potentially devastating complication of resection of brain tumors. Consequently, many neurosurgeons administer prophylactic antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in the perioperative period. However, it is currently unclear whether perioperative AEDs should be routinely administered to patients with brain tumors who have never had a seizure. Therefore, the authors conducted a prospective, randomized trial examining the use of phenytoin for postoperative seizure prophylaxis in patients undergoing resection for supratentorial brain metastases or gliomas.

Methods

Patients with brain tumors (metastases or gliomas) who did not have seizures and who were undergoing craniotomy for tumor resection were randomized to receive either phenytoin for 7 days after tumor resection (prophylaxis group) or no seizure prophylaxis (observation group). Phenytoin levels were monitored daily. Primary outcomes were seizures and adverse events. Using an estimated seizure incidence of 30% in the observation arm and 10% in the prophylaxis arm, a Type I error of 0.05 and a Type II error of 0.20, a target accrual of 142 patients (71 per arm) was planned.

Results

The trial was closed before completion of accrual because Bayesian predictive probability analyses performed by an independent data monitoring committee indicated a probability of 0.003 that at the end of the study prophylaxis would prove superior to observation and a probability of 0.997 that there would be insufficient evidence at the end of the trial to choose either arm as superior. At the time of trial closure, 123 patients (77 metastases and 46 gliomas) were randomized, with 62 receiving 7-day phenytoin (prophylaxis group) and 61 receiving no prophylaxis (observation group). The incidence of all seizures was 18% in the observation group and 24% in the prophylaxis group (p = 0.51). Importantly, the incidence of early seizures (< 30 days after surgery) was 8% in the observation group compared with 10% in the prophylaxis group (p = 1.0). Likewise, the incidence of clinically significant early seizures was 3% in the observation group and 2% in the prophylaxis group (p = 0.62). The prophylaxis group experienced significantly more adverse events (18% vs 0%, p < 0.01). Therapeutic phenytoin levels were maintained in 80% of patients.

Conclusions

The incidence of seizures after surgery for brain tumors is low (8% [95% CI 3%–18%]) even without prophylactic AEDs, and the incidence of clinically significant seizures is even lower (3%). In contrast, routine phenytoin administration is associated with significant drug-related morbidity. Although the lower-than-anticipated incidence of seizures in the control group significantly limited the power of the study, the low baseline rate of perioperative seizures in patients with brain tumors raises concerns about the routine use of prophylactic phenytoin in this patient population.

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Brian J. Williams, Dima Suki, Benjamin D. Fox, Christopher E. Pelloski, Marcos V. C. Maldaun, Raymond E. Sawaya, Frederick F. Lang and Ganesh Rao

Object

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is commonly used to treat brain metastases. Complications associated with this treatment are underreported. The authors reviewed a large series of patients who underwent SRS for brain metastases to identify complications and factors predicting their occurrence.

Methods

Prospectively collected clinical data from 273 patients undergoing SRS for 1 or 2 brain metastases at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center between June 1993 and December 2004 were reviewed. Patients who had received prior treatment for their tumor, including whole-brain radiation, SRS, or surgery, were excluded from the study. Data on adverse neurological and nonneurological outcomes following treatment were collected.

Results

Three hundred sixteen lesions were treated. Complications were associated with 127 (40%) of 316 treated lesions. New neurological complications were associated with 101 (32%) of 316 lesions. The onset of seizure was the most common complication, occurring in 41 (13%) of 316 SRS cases. On multivariate analysis, progressing primary cancer (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.4, 95% CI 1.6–3.6, p < 0.001), tumor location in eloquent cortex (HR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.6–3.4, p < 0.001), and lower (< 15 Gy) SRS dose (HR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.1–4.2, p = 0.04) were significantly associated with new complications. On multivariate analysis, a tumor location in the eloquent cortex (HR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.6–3.8, p < 0.001) and progressing primary cancer (HR = 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.5, p = 0.03) were significantly associated with new neurological complications.

Conclusions

The authors showed that new neurological and nonneurological complications were associated with 40% of SRS treatments for brain metastases. Patients with lesions in functional brain regions have a significantly increased risk of treatment-related complications.

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Jonathan G. Thomas, Brittany C. Parker Kerrigan, Anwar Hossain, Joy Gumin, Naoki Shinojima, Felix Nwajei, Ravesanker Ezhilarasan, Patrice Love, Erik P. Sulman and Frederick F. Lang

OBJECTIVE

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been shown to localize to gliomas after intravascular delivery. Because these cells home to areas of tissue injury, the authors hypothesized that the administration of ionizing radiation (IR) to tumor would enhance the tropism of MSCs to gliomas. Additionally, they sought to identify which radiation-induced factors might attract MSCs.

METHODS

To assess the effect of IR on MSC migration in vitro, transwell assays using conditioned medium (CM) from an irradiated commercially available glioma cell line (U87) and from irradiated patient-derived glioma stem-like cells (GSCs; GSC7-2 and GSC11) were employed. For in vivo testing, green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled MSCs were injected into the carotid artery of nude mice harboring orthotopic U87, GSC7-2, or GSC17 xenografts that were treated with either 0 or 10 Gy of IR, and brain sections were quantitatively analyzed by immunofluorescence for GFP-positive cells. These GSCs were used because GSC7-2 is a weak attractor of MSCs at baseline, whereas GSC17 is a strong attractor. To determine the factors implicated in IR-induced tropism, CM from irradiated GSC7-2 and from GSC11 was assayed with a cytokine array and quantitative ELISA.

RESULTS

Transwell migration assays revealed statistically significant enhanced MSC migration to CM from irradiated U87, GSC7-2, and GSC11 compared with nonirradiated controls and in a dose-dependent manner. After their intravascular delivery into nude mice harboring orthotopic gliomas, MSCs engrafted more successfully in irradiated U87 (p = 0.036), compared with nonirradiated controls. IR also significantly increased the tropism of MSCs to GSC7-2 xenografts (p = 0.043), which are known to attract MSCs only poorly at baseline (weak-attractor GSCs). Ionizing radiation also increased the engraftment of MSCs in strong-attractor GSC17 xenografts, but these increases did not reach statistical significance. The chemokine CCL2 was released by GSC7-2 and GSC11 after irradiation in a dose-dependent manner and mediated in vitro transwell migration of MSCs. Immunohistochemistry revealed increased CCL2 in irradiated GSC7-2 gliomas near the site of MSC engraftment.

CONCLUSIONS

Administering IR to gliomas enhances MSC localization, particularly in GSCs that attract MSCs poorly at baseline. The chemokine CCL2 appears to play a crucial role in the IR-induced tropism of MSCs to gliomas.

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Ziya L. Gokaslan, Julie E. York, Garrett L. Walsh, Ian E. McCutcheon, Frederick F. Lang, Joe B. Putnam Jr., David M. Wildrick, Stephen G. Swisher, Dima Abi-Said and Raymond Sawaya

Object. Anterior approaches to the spine for the treatment of spinal tumors have gained acceptance; however, in most published reports, patients with primary, metastatic, or chest wall tumors involving cervical, thoracic, or lumbar regions of the spine are combined. The purpose of this study was to provide a clear perspective of results that can be expected in patients who undergo anterior vertebral body resection, reconstruction, and stabilization for spinal metastases that are limited to the thoracic region.

Methods. Outcome is presented for 72 patients with metastatic spinal tumors who were treated by transthoracic vertebrectomy at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The predominant primary tumors included renal cancer in 19 patients, breast cancer in 10, melanoma or sarcoma in 10, and lung cancer in nine patients. The most common presenting symptoms were back pain, which occurred in 90% of patients, and lower-extremity weakness, which occurred in 64% of patients. All patients underwent transthoracic vertebrectomy, decompression, reconstruction with methylmethacrylate, and anterior fixation with locking plate and screw constructs. Supplemental posterior instrumentation was required in seven patients with disease involving the cervicothoracic or thoracolumbar junction, which was causing severe kyphosis. After surgery, pain improved in 60 of 65 patients. This improvement was found to be statistically significant (p < 0.001) based on visual analog scales and narcotic analgesic medication use. Thirty-five of the 46 patients who presented with neurological dysfunction improved significantly (p < 0.001) following the procedure. Thirty-three patients had weakness but could ambulate preoperatively. Seventeen of these 33 regained normal strength, 15 patients continued to have weakness, and one patient was neurologically worse postoperatively. Of the 13 preoperatively nonambulatory patients, 10 could walk after surgery and three were still unable to walk but showed improved motor function. Twenty-one patients had complications ranging from minor atelectasis to pulmonary embolism. The 30-day mortality rate was 3%. The 1-year survival rate for the entire study population was 62%.

Conclusions. These results suggest that transthoracic vertebrectomy and spinal stabilization can improve the quality of life considerably in cancer patients with spinal metastasis by restoring or preserving ambulation and by controlling intractable spinal pain with acceptable rates of morbidity and mortality.