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Ryan P. Lee, Kimberly A. Foster, Jock C. Lillard, Paul Klimo Jr., David W. Ellison, Brent Orr and Frederick A. Boop

OBJECTIVE

Thalamopeduncular tumors are a group of pediatric low-grade gliomas that arise at the interface of the thalamus and brainstem peduncle. They typically occur within the first 2 decades of life, presenting with progressive spastic hemiparesis. Treatment strategies, including surgical intervention, have varied significantly. The authors present their experience in the treatment of 13 children, ages 2–15 years, with non-neurofibromatosis–related pilocytic astrocytomas located in the thalamopeduncular region.

METHODS

Between 2003 and 2016, 13 children presenting with progressive spastic hemiparesis due to a pilocytic astrocytoma at the interface of the thalamus and cerebral peduncles were identified. Medical records were reviewed retrospectively for clinical, radiological, pathological, and surgical data. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue was obtained for 12 cases and tested for KIAA1549-BRAF fusion and BRAF V600E point mutation.

RESULTS

On preoperative diffusion tensor imaging tractography (performed in 12 patients), the ipsilateral corticospinal tract was displaced laterally in 1 case (8.3%), medially in 1 case (8.3%), anterolaterally in 10 cases (83%), and posteriorly in no cases. Ten patients underwent resection via a transtemporal, transchoroidal approach, which was chosen to avoid further damage to motor function in cases of tumors that caused anterolateral or medial corticospinal tract displacement. With this approach, complications included hemianopia, oculomotor palsy, and tremor at a rate of 50%. Among the 12 patients with obtainable follow-up (mean 50.9 months), none received adjuvant therapy, and only 2 (17%) experienced recurrence or progression. KIAA1549-BRAF fusions were present in 10 cases (83%), while BRAF V600E was absent (0%). The 2 fusion-negative tumors had clinical features atypical for the series, including multi-focality and infiltration.

CONCLUSIONS

Transcortical, transchoroidal resection of thalamopeduncular tumors through the middle temporal gyrus allows for a high rate of gross-total resection and cure. Diffuse tensor tractography is a critical component of the preoperative planning process to determine the location of white matter tracts in proximity. Molecular status may correlate with clinical features, and the presence of BRAF lesions offers an additional target for future novel therapeutics.

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Paul Klimo Jr., Cody L. Nesvick, Alberto Broniscer, Brent A. Orr and Asim F. Choudhri

OBJECT

Malignant tumors of the brainstem, excluding classic diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs), are a very rare, heterogeneous group of neoplasms that have been infrequently described in the literature. In this paper, the authors present their experiences with treating these unique cancers.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was conducted to identify eligible cases over a 15-year period. All tumors involving the pons were, by consensus, felt not to be DIPGs based on their neuroimaging features. Demographic information, pathological specimens, neuroimaging characteristics, surgical and nonsurgical management plans, and survival data were gathered for analysis.

RESULTS

Between January 2000 and December 2014, 29 patients were identified. The mean age at diagnosis was 8.4 years (range 2 months to 25 years), and 17 (59%) patients were male. The most common presenting signs and symptoms were cranial neuropathies (n = 24; 83%), hemiparesis (n = 12; 41%), and ataxia or gait disturbance (n = 10; 34%). There were 18 glial and 11 embryonal tumors. Of the glial tumors, 5 were radiation-induced and 1 was a malignant transformation of a previously known low-grade tumor. Surgical intervention consisted of biopsy alone in 12 patients and some degree of resection in another 15 patients. Two tumors were diagnosed postmortem. The median overall survival for all patients was 196 days (range 15 to 3999 days). There are currently 5 (17%) patients who are still alive: 1 with an anaplastic astrocytoma and the remaining with embryonal tumors.

CONCLUSIONS

In general, malignant non-DIPG tumors of the brainstem carry a poor prognosis. However, maximal cytoreductive surgery may be an option for select patients with focal tumors. Long-term survival is possible in patients with nonmetastatic embryonal tumors after multimodal treatment, most importantly maximal resection.

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Jessica Li, Pablo F. Recinos, Brent A. Orr, Peter C. Burger, George I. Jallo and Violette Renard Recinos

The papillary tumor of the pineal region (PTPR) is a distinct entity that is particularly rare in the pediatric population. The authors document the youngest reported patient with this clinicopathological entity to date. A case of PTPR in a 15-month-old boy is described. Initially thought to be a tectal glioma, the tumor was later identified as a pineal region tumor after demonstrating growth on routine imaging. Diagnosis of PTPR was established by histopathological evaluation of biopsy samples, which revealed papillary, cystic, and solid tumor components. The patient's postoperative course was complicated by tumor growth despite several debulking procedures and chemotherapy, as well as persistent hydrocephalus requiring 2 endoscopic third ventriculostomies and eventual ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. After a 15-month follow-up period, the patient has received proton-beam therapy and has a stable tumor size. The PTPR is a recently described tumor of the CNS that must be included in the differential diagnosis of pineal region masses. The biological behavior, prognosis, and appropriate treatment of PTPR have yet to be fully defined.

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Deric M. Park

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I-Mei Siu, Vafi Salmasi, Brent A. Orr, Qi Zhao, Zev A. Binder, Christine Tran, Masaru Ishii, Gregory J. Riggins, Christine L. Hann and Gary L. Gallia

Object

Chordomas are rare tumors arising from remnants of the notochord. Because of the challenges in achieving a complete resection, the radioresistant nature of these tumors, and the lack of effective chemotherapeutics, the median survival for patients with chordomas is approximately 6 years. Reproducible preclinical model systems that closely mimic the original patient's tumor are essential for the development and evaluation of effective therapeutics. Currently, there are only a few established chordoma cell lines and no primary xenograft model. In this study, the authors aimed to develop a primary chordoma xenograft model.

Methods

The authors implanted independent tumor samples from 2 patients into athymic nude mice. The resulting xenograft line was characterized by histopathological analysis and immunohistochemical staining. The patient's tumor and serial passages of the xenograft were genomically analyzed using a 660,000 single-nucleotide polymorphism array.

Results

A serially transplantable xenograft was established from one of the 2 patient samples. Histopathological analysis and immunohistochemical staining for S100 protein, epithelial membrane antigen, and cytokeratin AE1/AE3 of the primary patient sample and the xenografts confirmed that the xenografts were identical to the original chordoma obtained from the patient. Immunohistochemical staining and western blot analysis confirmed the presence of brachyury, a recently described marker of chordomas, in the tumor from the patient and each of the xenografts. Genome-wide variation was assessed between the patient's tumor and the xenografts and was found to be more than 99.9% concordant.

Conclusions

To the best of their knowledge, the authors have established the first primary chordoma xenograft that will provide a useful preclinical model for this disease and a platform for therapeutic development.

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Joseph H. McAbee, Joseph Modica, Clinton J. Thompson, Alberto Broniscer, Brent Orr, Asim F. Choudhri, Frederick A. Boop and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECT

Cervicomedullary tumors (CMTs) represent a heterogeneous group of intrinsic neoplasms that are typically low grade and generally carry a good prognosis. This single-institution study was undertaken to document the outcomes and current treatment philosophy for these challenging neoplasms.

METHODS

The charts of all pediatric patients with CMTs who received treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital between January 1988 and May 2013 were retrospectively reviewed. Demographic, surgical, clinical, radiological, pathological, and survival data were collected. Treatment-free survival and overall survival were estimated, and predictors of recurrence were analyzed.

RESULTS

Thirty-one children (16 boys, 15 girls) with at least 12 months of follow-up data were identified. The median age at diagnosis was 6 years (range 7 months-17 years) and the median follow-up was 4.3 years. Low-grade tumors (Grade I or II) were present in 26 (84%) patients. Thirty patients underwent either a biopsy alone or resection, with the majority of patients undergoing biopsy only (n = 12, 39%) or subtotal resection (n = 14, 45%). Only 4 patients were treated solely with resection; 21 patients received radiotherapy alone or in combination with other treatments. Recurrent tumor developed in 14 children (45%) and 4 died as a result of their malignancy. A high-grade pathological type was the only independent variable that predicted recurrence. The 5- and 10-year treatment-free survival estimates are 64.7% and 45.3%, respectively. The 5- and 10-year overall survival estimate is 86.7%.

CONCLUSIONS

Children with CMTs typically have low-grade neoplasms and consequently long-term survival, but high risk of recurrence. Therapy should be directed at achieving local tumor control while preserving and even restoring neurological function.