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Florian Roser, Rainer Ritz, Matthias Morgalla, Marcos Tatagiba and Antje Bornemann

✓ The authors report on a patient in whom monoradicular pain was caused by ganglionitis of a spinal nerve. Neuroimaging and intraoperative findings identified what were thought to be tumorlike changes in the affected nerve root. The neuropathological examination, however, revealed typical signs of ganglionitis. This rare inflammation usually appears with viral infections, as part of paraneoplastic symptoms, or in the presence of Sjögren disease. Because all of these differential diagnoses were negative in the treated patient, chronic nerve root compression due to disc herniation was suspected as the causative factor for the spinal ganglionitis.

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Christina Pfister, Rainer Ritz, Heike Pfrommer, Antje Bornemann, Marcos S. Tatagiba and Florian Roser

Object

The current treatment for recurrent or malignant meningiomas with adjuvant therapies has not been satisfactory, and there is an intense interest in evaluating new molecular markers to act as therapeutic targets. Enzymes of the arachidonic acid (AA) cascade such as cyclooxygenase (COX)–2 or 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) are upregulated in a number of epithelial tumors, but to date there are hardly any data about the expression of these markers in meningiomas. To find possible targets for chemotherapeutic intervention, the authors evaluated the expression of AA derivatives at different molecular levels in meningiomas.

Methods

One hundred and twenty-four meningioma surgical specimens and normal human cortical tissue samples were immunohistochemically and cytochemically stained for COX-2, COX-1, 5-LO, and prostaglandin E receptor 4 (PTGER4). In addition, Western blot and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses were performed to detect the presence of eicosanoids in vivo and in vitro.

Results

Sixty (63%) of 95 benign meningiomas, 21 (88%) of 24 atypical meningiomas, all five malignant meningiomas, and all normal human cortex samples displayed high COX-2 immunoreactivity. All cultured specimens and IOMM-Lee cells stained positive for COX-2, COX-1, 5-LO, and PTGER4. The PCR analysis demonstrated no changes in eicosanoid expression among meningiomas of different World Health Organization grades and in normal human cortical and dura mater tissue.

Conclusions

Eicosanoid derivatives COX-1, COX-2, 5-LO, and PTGER4 enzymes show a high universal expression in meningiomas but are not upregulated in normal human cortex and dura tissue. This finding of the ubiquitous presence of these enzymes in meningiomas offers an excellent baseline for testing upcoming chemotherapeutic treatments.

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Rainer Ritz, Guenther C. Feigl, Martin U. Schuhmann, André Ehrhardt, Soeren Danz, Susan Noell, Antje Bornemann and Marcos S. Tatagiba

The introduction of fluorescence-guided resection of primary malignant brain tumors was a milestone in neurosurgery. Deep-seated malignant brain tumors are often not approachable for microsurgical resection. For diagnosis and therapy, new strategies are recommended. The combination of endoscopy and 5-aminolevulinic acid–induced protoporphyrin IX (5-ALA-induced Pp IX) fluorescence–guided procedures supported by neuronavigation seems an interesting option. Here the authors report on a combined approach for 5-ALA fluorescence–guided biopsy in which they use an endoscopy system based on an Xe lamp (excitation approximately λ = 407 nm; dichroic filter system λ = 380–430 nm) to treat a malignant tumor of the thalamus and perform a ventriculostomy and septostomy. The excitation filter and emission filter are adapted to ensure that the remaining visible blue remission is sufficient to superimpose on or suppress the excited red fluorescence of the endogenous fluorochromes. The authors report that the lesion was easily detectable in the fluorescence mode and that biopsy led to histological diagnosis.

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Guenther C. Feigl, Rainer Ritz, Mario Moraes, Jan Klein, Kristofer Ramina, Alireza Gharabaghi, Boris Krischek, Soeren Danz, Antje Bornemann, Marina Liebsch and Marcos S. Tatagiba

Object

Several studies have revealed that the gross-total resection (GTR) of malignant brain tumors has a significant influence on patient survival. Frequently, however, GTR cannot be achieved because the borders between healthy brain and diseased tissue are blurred in the infiltration zones of malignant brain tumors. Especially in eloquent cortical areas, resection is frequently stopped before total removal is achieved to avoid causing neurological deficits. Interestingly, 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) has been shown to help visualize tumor tissue intraoperatively and, thus, can significantly improve the possibility of achieving GTR of primary malignant brain tumors. The aim of this study was to go one step further and evaluate the utility and limitations of fluorescence-guided resections of primary malignant brain tumors in eloquent cortical areas in combination with intraoperative monitoring based on multimodal functional imaging data.

Methods

Eighteen patients with primary malignant brain tumors in eloquent areas were included in this prospective study. Preoperative neuroradiological examinations included MR imaging with magnetization-prepared rapid gradient echo (MPRAGE), functional MR, and diffusion tensor imaging sequences to visualize functional areas and fiber tracts. Imaging data were analyzed offline, loaded into a neuronavigational system, and used intraoperatively during resections. All patients received 5-ALA 6 hours before surgery. Fluorescence-guided tumor resections were combined with intraoperative monitoring and cortical as well as subcortical stimulation to localize functional areas and fiber tracts during surgery.

Results

Twenty-five procedures were performed in 18 consecutive patients. In 24% of all surgeries, resection was stopped because a functional area or cortical tract was identified in the resection area or because motor evoked potential amplitudes were reduced in an area where fluorescent tumor cells were still seen intraoperatively. Grosstotal resection could be achieved in 16 (64%) of the surgeries with preservation of all functional areas and fiber tracts. In 2 patients presurgical hemiparesis became accentuated postoperatively, and 1 of these patients also suffered from a new homonymous hemianopia following a second resection.

Conclusions

The authors' first results show that tumor resections with 5-ALA in combination with intraoperative cortical stimulation have the advantages of both methods and, thus, provide additional safety for the neurosurgeon during resections of primary malignant brain tumors in eloquent areas. Nonetheless, more cases and additional studies are necessary to further prove the advantages of this multimodal strategy.

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Sameer Agnihotri, Isabel Gugel, Marc Remke, Antje Bornemann, Georgios Pantazis, Stephen C. Mack, David Shih, Sanjay K. Singh, Nesrin Sabha, Michael D. Taylor, Marcos Tatagiba, Gelareh Zadeh and Boris Krischek

Object

Vestibular schwannomas (VS) are common benign tumors of the vestibular nerve that cause significant morbidity. The current treatment strategies for VS include surgery or radiation, with each treatment option having associated complications and side effects. The transcriptional landscape of schwannoma remains largely unknown.

Methods

In this study the authors performed gene-expression profiling of 49 schwannomas and 7 normal control vestibular nerves to identify tumor-specific gene-expression patterns. They also interrogated whether schwannomas comprise several molecular subtypes using several transcription-based clustering strategies. The authors also performed in vitro experiments testing therapeutic inhibitors of over-activated pathways in a schwannoma cell line, namely the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway.

Results

The authors identified over 4000 differentially expressed genes between controls and schwannomas with network analysis, uncovering proliferation and anti-apoptotic pathways previously not implicated in VS. Furthermore, using several distinct clustering technologies, they could not reproducibly identify distinct VS subtypes or significant differences between sporadic and germline NF2–associated schwannomas, suggesting that they are highly similar entities. The authors identified overexpression of PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling networks in their geneexpression study and evaluated this pathway for therapeutic targeting. Testing the compounds BEZ235 and PKI-587, both novel dual inhibitors of PI3K and mTOR, attenuated tumor growth in a preclinical cell line model of schwannoma (HEI-293). In vitro findings demonstrated that pharmacological inhibition of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway with next-generation compounds led to decreased cell viability and increased cell death.

Conclusions

These findings implicate aberrant activation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway as a molecular mechanism of pathogenesis in VS and suggest inhibition of this pathway as a potential treatment strategy.