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Atom Sarkar and E. Antonio Chiocca

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Dima Suki, Rami Khoury Abdulla, Minming Ding, Soumen Khatua and Raymond Sawaya

Object

Metastasis to the brain is frequent in adult cancer patients but rare among children. Advances in primary tumor treatment and the associated prolonged survival are said to have increased the frequency of brain metastasis in children. The authors present a series of cases of brain metastases in children diagnosed with a solid primary cancer, evaluate brain metastasis trends, and describe tumor type, patterns of occurrence, and prognosis.

Methods

Patients with brain metastases whose primary cancer was diagnosed during childhood were identified in the 1990–2012 Tumor Registry at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. A review of their hospital records provided demographic data, history, and clinical data, including primary cancer sites, number and location of brain metastases, sites of extracranial metastases, treatments, and outcomes.

Results

Fifty-four pediatric patients (1.4%) had a brain metastasis from a solid primary tumor. Sarcomas were the most common (54%), followed by melanoma (15%). The patients' median ages at diagnosis of the primary cancer and the brain metastasis were 11.37 years and 15.03 years, respectively. The primary cancer was localized at diagnosis in 48% of patients and disseminated regionally in only 14%. The primary tumor and brain metastasis presented synchronously in 15% of patients, and other extracranial metastases were present when the primary cancer was diagnosed. The remaining patients were diagnosed with brain metastasis after initiation of primary cancer treatment, with a median presentation interval of 17 months after primary cancer diagnosis (range 2–77 months). At the time of diagnosis, the brain metastasis was the first site of systemic metastasis in only 4 (8%) of the 51 patients for whom data were available. Up to 70% of patients had lung metastases when brain metastases were found. Symptoms led to the brain metastasis diagnosis in 65% of cases. Brain metastases were single in 60% of cases and multiple in 35%; 6% had only leptomeningeal disease. The median Kaplan-Meier estimates of survival after diagnoses of primary cancer and brain metastasis were 29 months (95% CI 24–34 months) and 9 months (95% CI 6–11 months), respectively. Untreated patients survived for a median of 0.9 months after brain metastasis diagnosis (95% CI 0.3–1.5 months). Those receiving treatment survived for a median of 8 months after initiation of therapy (95% CI 6–11 months).

Conclusions

The results of this study challenge the current notion of an increased incidence of brain metastases among children with a solid primary cancer. The earlier diagnosis of the primary cancer, prior to its dissemination to distant sites (especially the brain), and initiation of presumably more effective treatments may support such an observation. However, although the actual number of cases may not be increasing, the prognosis after the diagnosis of a brain metastasis remains poor regardless of the management strategy.

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Monitoring of antifibrinolytic therapy following subarachnoid hemorrhage

The importance of CSF fibrin/fibrinogen degradation products

Raymond Sawaya, Victor Sonnino, Robert L. McLaurin and Gerardo Perrotta

✓ Ten cases of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) from ruptured cerebral aneurysm are reported. Fibrin/fibrinogen degradation product (FDP) levels were determined simultaneously in blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) at an average frequency of 1.7 days, extended over periods of 8 to 63 days. Successful antifibrinolytic therapy (AFT) correlated with FDP levels in CSF of less than 16 µg/ml. Five patients failed to respond to AFT. Levels of FDP in the CSF fluctuated widely in these five patients, and remained at or above 16 µg/ml for most of the monitoring period. Blood FDP levels were normal or minimally elevated, and could not be used in predicting or preventing rebleeding episodes. A hypothesis is presented to explain the significance of the presence of FDP's in CSF.

In spite of the many techniques employed in monitoring AFT and reviewed in this paper, little information has been gained to improve the results and therapeutic strategies. Among the different methods available, FDP measurements in the CSF have correlated best with rebleeding, and thus may be used in modifying and individualizing therapy. Suggestions are given for future studies.

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Giacomo G. Vecil, Dima Suki, Marcos V. C. Maldaun, Frederick F. Lang and Raymond SaWaya

Object. To date, no report has been published on outcomes of patients undergoing resection for brain metastases who were previously treated with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). Consequently, the authors reviewed their institutional experience with this clinical scenario to assess the efficacy of surgical intervention.

Methods. Sixty-one patients (each harboring three or fewer brain lesions), who were treated at a single institution between June 1993 and August 2002 were identified. Patient charts and their neuroimaging and pathological reports were retrospectively reviewed to determine overall survival rates, surgical complications, and recurrence rates.

A univariate analysis revealed that patient preoperative recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) classification, primary disease status, preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale score, type of focal treatment undergone for nonindex lesions, and major postoperative surgical complications were factors that significantly affected survival (p ≤ 0.05). In contrast, only the RPA class and focal (conventional surgery or SRS) treatment of nonindex lesions significantly (or nearly significantly) affected survival in the multivariate analysis. Major neurological complications occurred in only 2% of patients. The median time to distant recurrence after resection was 8.4 months; that to local recurrence was not reached. The overall median survival time was 11.1 months, with 25% of patients surviving 2 or more years. Conventional surgery facilitated tapering of steroid administration.

Conclusions. The complication, morbidity, survival, and recurrence rates are consistent with those seen after conventional surgery for recurrent brain metastases. Our results indicate that in selected patients with a favorable RPA class in whom nonindex lesions are treated with focal modalities, surgery can provide long-term control of SRS-treated lesions and positively affect overall survival.

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Rajesh K. Bindal, Raymond Sawaya, Milam E. Leavens, Kenneth R. Hess and Sarah H. Taylor

✓ Results of reoperation in 48 patients who developed recurrent brain metastases between January 1984 and April 1993 are presented. Median time from first craniotomy to diagnosis of recurrence (time to recurrence) was 6.7 months. Median Karnofsky performance scale (KPS) score prior to reoperation was 80. Recurrence was local in 30 patients, distant in 16 patients, and both local and distant in two patients. Median survival time after reoperation was 11.5 months. There were no operative mortalities. Multivariate analysis revealed that presence of systemic disease (p = 0.008), KPS scores less than or equal to 70 (p = 0.008), time to recurrence of less than 4 months (p = 0.008), age greater than or equal to 40 years (p = 0.51), and primary tumor type of breast or melanoma (p = 0.028) negatively affected patient survival time. These five factors were used to develop a grading system (Grades I–IV). Patients categorized in Grade I had a 5-year survival rate of 57%, whereas the median survival time of patients in Grades II, III, and IV was 13.4, 6.8, and 3.4 months, respectively (p < 0.0001).

Overall, 26 patients developed a second recurrence after reoperation. Seventeen patients underwent a second reoperation, whereas nine did not. Patients undergoing a second reoperation survived a median of 8.6 additional months versus 2.8 months for those who did not (p < 0.0001).

This study concludes that reoperation for recurrent brain metastasis can prolong survival and improve quality of life. A second reoperation can also increase survival. Five factors influence survival: status of systemic disease, KPS score, time to recurrence, age, and type of primary tumor. The grading system using these five factors correlates with survival time. Reoperation should be approached with caution in Grade IV patients because of their poor prognosis.

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Frederick F. Lang, Raymond Sawaya, Dima Suki, Ian E. McCutcheon and Kenneth R. Hess

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Joshua J. Chern, Andrew J. Tsung, William Humphries, Raymond Sawaya and Frederick F. Lang

Object

Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) is a frequent complication found in leukemia patients with thrombocytopenia. At the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, when a leukemia patient is found to have ICH, a platelet transfusion is generally recommended until 50,000/μl is reached. The authors examine the feasibility and outcome of their intervention strategy in this study.

Methods

Records were reviewed from 76 consecutive leukemia patients with newly diagnosed ICH at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2009. Variables of interest included age, platelet count at presentation, leukemia subtype, history of trauma, Glasgow Coma Scale score at presentation, whether the 50,000/μl goal was reached after transfusion, and whether the patient was a transfusion responder (platelet count increase > 2000/μl/unit transfused). Outcome parameters were mortality rates at 72 hours and 30 days and imaging-documented hemorrhage progression.

Results

Thrombocytopenia was prevalent at the time of presentation (68 of 76 patients had platelet levels < 50,000/μl at presentation). Despite an aggressive transfusion protocol, only 24 patients reached the 50,000/μl target after an average of 16 units of transfusion. Death due to ICH occurred in 15 patients within the first 72 hours (mortality rate 19.7%). Death correlated with the presenting Glasgow Coma Scale score (p = 0.0075) but not with other transfusion-related parameters. A significant mortality rate was again observed after 30 days (32.7%). The 30-day mortality rate, however, was largely attributable to non-ICH related causes and correlated with patient age (p = 0.032) and whether the patient was a transfusion responder (p = 0.022). Reaching and maintaining a platelet count > 50,000/μl did not positively correlate with the 30-day mortality rate (p = 0.392 and 0.475, respectively).

Conclusions

Platelet transfusion in the setting of ICH in leukemia patients is undoubtedly necessary, but whether the transfusion threshold should be 50,000/μl remains unclear. Factors other than thrombocytopenia likely contribute to the overall poor prognosis.

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Frank Eggers, Robert Lukin, A. Alan Chambers, Thomas A. Tomsick and Raymond Sawaya

✓ A case of iatrogenic carotid-cavernous fistula secondary to a Fogarty catheter thrombectomy is presented. The literature and seven previously reported cases are reviewed.

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Sumeer Lal, Michel Lacroix, Philip Tofilon, Gregory N. Fuller, Raymond Sawaya and Frederick F. Lang

Object. To overcome the problems associated with using stereotactic techniques to establish intracranial xenografts in nude mice and to treat engrafted tumors with intratumoral therapies (such as gene or viral therapies), the authors developed an implantable guide-screw system. In this study, they describe the guide-screw system, its method of implantation, and their experience with establishing xenografts and delivering intratumoral therapy.

Methods. The system consists of a 2.6-mm guide screw with a central 0.5-mm diameter hole that accepts the 26-gauge needle of a Hamilton syringe. The screw is implanted into a small drill hole made 2.5 mm lateral and 1 mm anterior to the bregma. A stylet is used to cap the screw between treatments. Tumor cells or therapeutic agents are injected in a freehand fashion by using a Hamilton syringe and a 26-gauge needle fitted with a cuff to determine the depth of injection. To test this system, guide screws were successfully implanted in 44 (98%) of 45 nude mice. After 1 to 2 weeks of recovery, 38 mice were inoculated with U87MG cells and killed 5 days later. On histological studies in 37 (97%) of these animals, xenografts were evident within the caudate nucleus (mean diameter 2.5 mm). To determine whether injections into the center of an established xenograft could be reproducibly achieved with the guide-screw system, an adenovirus vector containing the β-galactosidase gene was injected 3 days after cell implantation in 15 of the mice. All of these animals demonstrated transduced cells within the tumor. To demonstrate that engrafted animals have a uniform survival time that is indicative of reproducible tumor growth, the survival of six mice was assessed after engraftment with U87MG cells. All six animals died within 28 to 35 days.

Conclusions. The guide-screw system allows a large number of animals to be rapidly and reproducibly engrafted and for intratumoral treatments to be accurately delivered into established xenografts.