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J. Mark Erfe, Avital Perry, John McClaskey, Silvio E. Inzucchi, Whitney Sheen James, Tore Eid, Richard A. Bronen, Amit Mahajan, Anita Huttner, Florecita Santos and Dennis Spencer

OBJECTIVE

Cushing disease is caused by a pituitary micro- or macroadenoma that hypersecretes adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), resulting in hypercortisolemia. For decades, transsphenoidal resection (TSR) has been an efficacious treatment but with certain limitations, namely precise tumor localization and complete excision. The authors evaluated the novel use of a double-antibody sandwich assay for the real-time quantitation of ACTH in resected pituitary specimens with the goals of augmenting pathological diagnosis and ultimately improving long-term patient outcome.

METHODS

This study involved a retrospective review of records and an analysis of assay values, pathology slides, and MRI studies of patients with Cushing disease who had undergone TSR in the period from 2009 to 2014 and had at least 1 year of follow-up in coordination with an endocrinologist. In the operating room, biopsy specimens from the patients had been analyzed for tissue ACTH concentration. Additional samples were simultaneously sent for frozen-section pathological analysis. The ACTH assay performance was compared against pathology assessments of surgical tumor samples using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis and against pre- and postoperative MRI studies.

RESULTS

Fourteen patients underwent TSR with guidance by ACTH-antibody assay and pathological assessment of 127 biopsy samples and were followed up for an average of 3 years. The ACTH threshold for discriminating adenomatous from normal tissue was 290,000 pg/mg of tissue, based on jointly maximized sensitivity (95.0%) and specificity (71.3%). Lateralization discordance between preoperative MRI studies and surgical visualization was noted in 3 patients, confirming the impression that MRI alone may not achieve optimal localization. A majority of the patients (85.7%) attained long-term disease remission based on urinary free cortisol levels, plasma cortisol levels, and long-term corticosteroid therapy. Comparisons of patient-months of remission and treatment failure showed that the remission rate in the study sample statistically exceeds the rate in historical controls (71.9%; p = 0.0007, Fisher’s exact test). Long-term unexpected hormonal deficiencies were statistically similar between study patients (29%) and those in a meta-analysis (25%; p = 0.7596, Fisher’s exact test).

CONCLUSIONS

These preliminary findings reflect the promising potential of tissue-based ACTH-antibody–guided assay for improving the cure rates of Cushing disease patients undergoing TSR. Further studies with larger sample sizes, further refinements of assay interpretation, and longer-term follow-ups are needed.

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Brian M. Shear, Lan Jin, Yawei Zhang, Wyatt B. David, Elena I. Fomchenko, E. Zeynep Erson-Omay, Anita Huttner, Robert K. Fulbright and Jennifer Moliterno

OBJECTIVE

Intracranial epidermoid tumors are slow-growing, histologically benign tumors of epithelial cellular origin that can be symptomatic because of their size and mass effect. Neurosurgical resection, while the treatment of choice, can be quite challenging due to locations where these lesions commonly occur and their association with critical neurovascular structures. As such, subtotal resection (STR) rather than gross-total resection (GTR) can often be performed, rendering residual and recurrent tumor potentially problematic. The authors present a case of a 28-year-old man who underwent STR followed by aggressive repeat resection for regrowth, and they report the results of the largest meta-analysis to date of epidermoid tumors to compare recurrence rates for STR and GTR.

METHODS

The authors conducted a systemic review of PubMed, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Collaboration following the PRISMA guidelines. They then conducted a proportional meta-analysis to compare the pooled recurrence rates between STR and GTR in the included studies. The authors developed fixed- and mixed-effect models to estimate the pooled proportions of recurrence among patients undergoing STR or GTR. They also investigated the relationship between recurrence rate and follow-up time in the previous studies using linear regression and natural cubic spline models.

RESULTS

Overall, 27 studies with 691 patients met the inclusion criteria; of these, 293 (42%) underwent STR and 398 (58%) received GTR. The average recurrence rate for all procedures was 11%. The proportional meta-analysis showed that the pooled recurrence rate after STR (21%) was 7 times greater than the rate after GTR (3%). The average recurrence rate for studies with longer follow-up durations (≥ 4.4 years) (17.4%) was significantly higher than the average recurrence rate for studies with shorter follow-up durations (< 4.4 years) (5.7%). The cutoff point of 4.4 years was selected based on the significant relationship between the recurrence rate of both STR and GTR and follow-up durations in the included studies (p = 0.008).

CONCLUSIONS

STR is associated with a significantly higher rate of epidermoid tumor recurrence compared to GTR. Attempts at GTR should be made during the initial surgery with efforts to optimize success. Surgical expertise, as well as the use of adjuncts, such as intraoperative MRI and neuromonitoring, may increase the likelihood of completing a safe GTR and decreasing the long-term risk of recurrence. The most common surgical complications were transient cranial nerve palsies, occurring equally in STR and GTR cases when reported. In all postoperative epidermoid tumor cases, but particularly following STR, close follow-up with serial MRI, even years after surgery, is recommended.