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Neurosurgical treatment of glossopharyngeal neuralgia: analysis of 103 cases

Yi Ma, Yan-feng Li, Quan-cai Wang, Bin Wang, and Hai-tao Huang

OBJECT

The object of this study was to investigate the immediate and long-term follow-up results of glossopharyngeal nerve rhizotomy (GPNR) with or without partial vagus nerve rhizotomy (VNR) for treating glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN).

METHODS

A retrospective review of the case notes of patients who had undergone surgery for GPN in the authors’ department between 2008 and 2013 was performed to investigate baseline characteristics and immediate outcomes during the hospitalization. For the long-term results, a telephone survey was performed, and information on pain recurrence and permanent complications was collected. Pain relief meant no pain or medication, any pain persisting after surgery was considered to be treatment failure, and any pain returning during the follow-up period was considered to be pain recurrence. For comparative study, the patients were divided into 2 cohorts, that is, patients treated with GPNR alone and those treated with GPNR+VNR.

RESULTS

One hundred three procedures, consisting of GPNR alone in 38 cases and GPNR+VNR in 65 cases, were performed in 103 consecutive patients with GPN. Seventy-nine of the 103 patients could be contacted for the follow-up study, with a mean follow-up duration of 2.73 years (range 1 month–5.75 years). While there were similar results (GPNR vs GPNR+VNR) in immediate pain relief rates (94.7% vs 93.8%), immediate complication rates (7.9% vs 4.6%), and long-term pain relief rates (92.3% vs 94.3%) between the 2 cohorts, a great difference was seen in long-term complications (3.8% vs 35.8%). The long-term complication rate for the combined GPNR+VNR cohort was 9.4 times higher than that in the GPNR cohort.

There was no operative or perioperative mortality. Immediate complications occurred in 6 cases, consisting of poor wound healing in 3 cases, and CSF leakage, hoarseness, and dystaxia in 1 case each. Permanent complications occurred in 20 patients (25.3%) and included cough while drinking in 10 patients, pharyngeal discomfort in 8 patients, and hoarseness and dysphagia in 1 case each.

CONCLUSIONS

In general, this study indicates that GPNR alone or in combination with VNR is a safe, simple, and effective treatment option for GPN. It may be especially valuable for patients who are not suitable for the microvascular decompression (MVD) procedure and for surgeons who have little experience with MVD. Of note, this study renews the significance of GPNR alone, which, the authors believe, is at least valuable for a subgroup of GPN patients, with significantly fewer long-term complications than those for rhizotomy for both glossopharyngeal nerve and rootlets of the vagus nerve.

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Clinical analysis of Gamma Knife surgery for trigeminal schwannomas

Shibin Sun, Ali Liu, Chongcheng Wang, Bin Luo, and Meihua Wang

Object

The authors sought to assess the clinical effect of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for trigeminal schwannomas.

Methods

Between December 1994 and December 2003, 69 patients with trigeminal schwannomas underwent GKS, and 58 patients were followed up and reviewed at the Beijing Neurosurgical Institute. The mean target volume was 4.6 cm3. The mean peripheral dose was 13.1 Gy, and the mean central dose was 28.3 Gy. The mean radiological follow-up period was 42.5 months.

Radiological follow-up demonstrated near-complete disappearance of the tumors in four patients (6.9%), in 34 patients (58.6%) a reduction was seen, in 16 patients (27.6%) no change was observed, and in four patients (6.9%) an enlargement was revealed. The overall tumor control rate was 93.1%. Improvement of presenting neurological symptoms was observed in 28 patients (48.3%), stabilization of presenting neurological symptoms was observed in 23 patients (39.6%), continued progression of presenting neurological symptoms was observed in seven patients (12.1%), and transient cranial nerve dysfunction was observed in six patients (10.4%). Among 13 patients with secondary trigeminal neuralgia, 10 patients had significant improvement or disappearance of trigeminal neuralgia after GKS.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife surgery provides an effective and safe primary and/or adjunct treatment for patients with small- to moderate-sized trigeminal schwannomas, with a low risk of iatrogenic cranial neuropathy and great improvement of clinical symptoms.

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Contribution of postoperative vertebral remodeling to reversal of vertebral wedging and prevention of correction loss in patients with adolescent Scheuermann’s kyphosis

Sinian Wang, Liang Xu, Muyi Wang, Yong Qiu, Zezhang Zhu, Bin Wang, and Xu Sun

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to investigate reversal of vertebral wedging and to evaluate the contribution of vertebral remodeling to correction maintenance in patients with adolescent Scheuermann’s kyphosis (SK) after posterior-only instrumented correction.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort study of patients with SK was performed. In total, 45 SK patients aged 10–20 years at surgery were included. All patients received at least 24 months of follow-up and had Risser sign greater than grade 4 at latest follow-up. Patients with Risser grade 3 or less at surgery were assigned to the low-Risser group, whereas those with Risser grade 4 or 5 were assigned to the high-Risser group. Radiographic data and patient-reported outcomes were collected preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and at latest follow-up and compared between the two groups.

RESULTS

Remarkable postoperative correction of global kyphosis was observed, with similar correction rates between the two groups (p = 0.380). However, correction loss was slightly but significantly less in the low-Risser group during follow-up (p < 0.001). The ratio between anterior vertebral body height (AVBH) and posterior vertebral body height (PVBH) of deformed vertebrae notably increased in SK patients from postoperation to latest follow-up (p < 0.05). Loss of correction of global kyphosis was significantly and negatively correlated with increased AVBH/PVBH ratio. Compared with the high-Risser group, the low-Risser group had significantly greater increase in AVBH/PVBH ratio during follow-up (p < 0.05). The two groups had similar preoperative and postoperative Scoliosis Research Society–22 questionnaire scores for all domains.

CONCLUSIONS

Obvious reversal in wedge deformation of vertebrae was observed in adolescent SK patients. Patients with substantial growth potential had greater vertebral remodeling and less correction loss. Structural remodeling of vertebral bodies has a positive effect and protects against correction loss. These results could be help guide treatment decision-making.

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Clinical and pathological analysis of benign brain tumors resected after Gamma Knife surgery

Clinical article

Ali Liu, Jun-Mei Wang, Gui-Lin Li, Yi-Lin Sun, Shi-Bin Sun, Bin Luo, and Mei-Hua Wang

Object

The goal of this study was to assess the clinical and pathological features of benign brain tumors that had been treated with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) followed by resection.

Methods

In this retrospective chart review, the authors identified 61 patients with intracranial benign tumors who had undergone neurosurgical intervention after GKS. Of these 61 patients, 27 were male and 34 were female; mean age was 49.1 years (range 19–73 years). There were 24 meningiomas, 18 schwannomas, 14 pituitary adenomas, 3 hemangioblastomas, and 2 craniopharyngiomas. The interval between GKS and craniotomy was 2–168 months, with a median of 24 months; for 7 patients, the interval was 10 years or longer. For 21 patients, a craniotomy was performed before and after GKS; in 9 patients, pathological specimens were obtained before and after GKS. A total of 29 patients underwent GKS at the Beijing Tiantan Hospital. All specimens obtained by surgical intervention underwent histopathological examination.

Results

Most patients underwent craniotomy because of tumor recurrence and/or exacerbation of clinical signs and symptoms. Neuroimaging analyses indicated tumor growth in 42 patients, hydrocephalus in 10 patients with vestibular schwannoma, cystic formation with mass effect in 7 patients, and tumor hemorrhage in 13 patients, of whom 10 had pituitary adenoma. Pathological examination demonstrated that, regardless of the type of tumor, GKS mainly induced coagulative necrosis of tumor parenchyma and stroma with some apoptosis and, ultimately, scar formation. In addition, irradiation induced vasculature stenosis and occlusion and tumor degeneration as a result of reduced blood supply. GKS-induced vasculature reaction was rarely observed in patients with pituitary adenoma. Pathological analysis of tumor specimens obtained before and after GKS did not indicate increased tumor proliferation after GKS.

Conclusions

Radiosurgery is effective for intracranial benign tumors of small size and deep location and for tumor recurrence after surgical intervention; it is not effective for intracranial tumors with symptomatic mass effect. The radiobiological effects of stereotactic radiosurgery on the benign tumors are mainly caused by cellular and vascular mechanisms. Among the patients in this study, high-dose irradiation did not increase tumor proliferation. GKS can induce primary and secondary effects in tumors, which could last more than 10 years, thereby warranting long-term follow-up after GKS.

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Letter to the Editor. Prognostic factors in skull base chordoma

Ming-Xiang Zou, Guo-Hua Lv, Xiao-Bin Wang, and Jing Li

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MEG3/MIR-376B-3P/HMGA2 axis is involved in pituitary tumor invasiveness

Dimin Zhu, Zheng Xiao, Zongming Wang, Bin Hu, Chengbin Duan, Ziyan Zhu, Nailin Gao, Yonghong Zhu, and Haijun Wang

OBJECTIVE

To date, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have proven to function as key regulators in tumorigenesis. Among these lncRNAs, MEG3 displays low levels in various neoplasms and tumor cell lines. However, the regulatory mechanism of MEG3 and MIR-376B-3P, one of the microRNAs from downstream gene clusters of the DLK1-MEG3 locus, remains insufficiently defined.

METHODS

The authors used quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis to analyze whether decreased MEG3 and MIR-376B-3P expression levels were associated with the invasiveness of clinical nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (CNFPAs) in 30 patients. Furthermore, functional experiments unveiled the pathophysiological role of MEG3, MIR-376B-3P, and HMGA2 in pituitary-derived folliculostellate (PDFS) cell lines. Moreover, dual-luciferase reporter assay, Western blot analysis, and immunofluorescence were applied to reveal the correlations among MEG3, MIR-376B-3P, and HMGA2.

RESULTS

MEG3 and MIR-376B-3P were decreased in patients with CNFPA, and their transcriptional levels were highly associated with invasive CNFPAs. Moreover, excessive expression of MEG3 and MIR-376B-3P inhibited tumorigenesis and promoted apoptosis in PDFS cells. Importantly, the authors found that MEG3 acted as an enhancer of MIR-376B-3P expression. Furthermore, as a target gene of MIR-376B-3P, HMGA2 served as an oncogene in pituitary adenoma and could be negatively regulated by MEG3 via enriching MIR-376B-3P.

CONCLUSIONS

This study offers a novel mechanism of an MEG3/MIR-376B-3P/HMGA2 regulatory network in CNFPAs, which may become a breakthrough for anticancer treatments.

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MEG3/MIR-376B-3P/HMGA2 axis is involved in pituitary tumor invasiveness

Dimin Zhu, Zheng Xiao, Zongming Wang, Bin Hu, Chengbin Duan, Ziyan Zhu, Nailin Gao, Yonghong Zhu, and Haijun Wang

OBJECTIVE

To date, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have proven to function as key regulators in tumorigenesis. Among these lncRNAs, MEG3 displays low levels in various neoplasms and tumor cell lines. However, the regulatory mechanism of MEG3 and MIR-376B-3P, one of the microRNAs from downstream gene clusters of the DLK1-MEG3 locus, remains insufficiently defined.

METHODS

The authors used quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis to analyze whether decreased MEG3 and MIR-376B-3P expression levels were associated with the invasiveness of clinical nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (CNFPAs) in 30 patients. Furthermore, functional experiments unveiled the pathophysiological role of MEG3, MIR-376B-3P, and HMGA2 in pituitary-derived folliculostellate (PDFS) cell lines. Moreover, dual-luciferase reporter assay, Western blot analysis, and immunofluorescence were applied to reveal the correlations among MEG3, MIR-376B-3P, and HMGA2.

RESULTS

MEG3 and MIR-376B-3P were decreased in patients with CNFPA, and their transcriptional levels were highly associated with invasive CNFPAs. Moreover, excessive expression of MEG3 and MIR-376B-3P inhibited tumorigenesis and promoted apoptosis in PDFS cells. Importantly, the authors found that MEG3 acted as an enhancer of MIR-376B-3P expression. Furthermore, as a target gene of MIR-376B-3P, HMGA2 served as an oncogene in pituitary adenoma and could be negatively regulated by MEG3 via enriching MIR-376B-3P.

CONCLUSIONS

This study offers a novel mechanism of an MEG3/MIR-376B-3P/HMGA2 regulatory network in CNFPAs, which may become a breakthrough for anticancer treatments.

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Gamma knife radiosurgery for cavernous hemangiomas

Nan Zhang, Li Pan, Bin Jiang Wang, En Min Wang, Jia Zhong Dai, and Pei Wu Cai

Object. The authors analyzed the outcome of 53 patients with cavernous hemangiomas who underwent gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) and evaluated the benefit of the treatment.

Methods. From 1994 to 1995, 57 patients were treated with GKS for cavernous hemangiomas. The mean margin dose to the lesions was 20.3 Gy (range 14.5–25.2 Gy) and the prescription isodose was 50 to 80%. The mean follow-up period was 4.2 years. Four patients were lost to follow up. In 18 of 28 patients whose chief complaint was seizures, there was a decrease in seizure frequency. Five of 23 patients with hemorrhage suffered rebleeding 4 to 39 months after GKS. Seventeen patients in whom the hemangiomas were located at the frontal or parietal lobe had neurological disability and in five this was severe. Two patients underwent resection of their hemangioma after GKS. Three experienced visual problems. Follow-up imaging demonstrated shrinkage of the lesion in 19 patients.

Conclusions. A higher margin dose (> 16 Gy) may be associated with a reduction in the incidence of rebleeding after GKS. Higher dosage and severe brain edema after GKS may decrease the frequency and intensity of seizures at least temporarily. Gamma knife radiosurgery may play a role in protection against hemorrhage and in reduction of the rate of seizure in selected cases with the appropriate dose.

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Radiosurgery for growth hormone—producing pituitary adenomas

Nan Zhang, Li Pan, En Min Wang, Jia Zhong Dai, Bin Jiang Wang, and Pei Wu Cai

Object. The authors sought to evaluate the effect of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) on growth hormone (GH)—producing pituitary adenoma growth and endocrinological response.

Methods. From 1993 to 1997, 79 patients with GH-producing pituitary adenomas were treated with GKS. Seventysix patients had acromegaly. Sixty-eight patients were treated with GKS as the primary procedure. The tumor margin was covered with a 50 to 90% isodose and the margin dose was 18 to 35 Gy (mean 31.3 Gy). The dose to the visual pathways was less than 10 Gy except in one case. Sixty-eight patients (86%) were followed for 6 to 52 months. Growth hormone levels declined with improvement in acromegaly in all cases in the first 6 months after GKS. Normalization of the hormone levels was achieved in 23 (40%) of 58 patients who had been followed for 12 months and in 96% of cases for more than 24 months (43 of 45), or more than 36 months (25 of 26), respectively. With the reduction of GH hormone levels, 12 of 21 patients with hyperglycemia regained a normal blood glucose level (p < 0.001). The tumor shrank in 30 (52%) of 58 patients who had been followed for 12 months (p < 0.01), 39 (87%) of 45 patients for more than 2 years (p = 0.02), and 24 (92%) of 26 patients for more than 36 months. In the remainder of patients tumor growth ceased.

Conclusions. Gamma knife radiosurgery for GH-producing adenomas showed promising results both in hormonal control and tumor shrinkage. A margin dose of more than 30 Gy would seem to be effective in improving the clinical status, reducing high blood glucose levels, and normalizing hypertension.

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Gamma knife radiosurgery as a primary treatment for prolactinomas

Li Pan, Nan Zhang, En Ming Wang, Bin Jiang Wang, Jia Zhong Dai, and Pei Wu Cai

Object. The purpose of this study was to estimate the efficacy of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) in controlling tumor growth and endocrinopathy associated with prolactinomas.

Methods. Between 1993 and 1997, 164 of 469 patients with pituitary adenomas treated by GKS harbored prolactinomas. The dose to the tumor margin ranged from 9 to 35 Gy (mean 31.2 Gy), and the visual pathways were exposed to a dose of less than 10 Gy. The mean tumor diameter was 13.4 mm. The mean follow-up time for 128 cases was 33.2 months (range 6–72 months). Tumor control was observed in all but two patients who underwent surgery 18 and 36 months, respectively, after GKS. Clinical cure was achieved in 67 cases.

Clinical improvement was noted with a decrease in the hyperprolactinemia after GKS. Nonetheless, in 31 (29%) of 108 patients who were followed for more than 2 years no improvement in serum prolactin levels was demonstrated, although this could be normalized by bromocriptine administration after treatment. Nine infertile women became pregnant 2 to 13 months after GKS and all gave birth to normal children.

There was no visual deterioration related to GKS. Five women experienced premature menopause. In these patients there was subtotal disappearance of the tumor and an empty sella developed.

Conclusions. Gamma knife radiosurgery as a primary treatment for prolactinomas can be safe and effective both for controlling tumor growth and for normalization of prolactin hypersecretion. A higher margin dose (≥ 30 Gy) seemed to be associated with a better clinical outcome. Gamma knife radiosurgery may make prolactinomas more sensitive to the bromocriptine.