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Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan and Carol Kruchko

✓ Meningiomas are among the most common primary intracranial tumors. Although the vast majority of these tumors are considered histologically benign, the incidence of complications can be high. Few studies have investigated the causes and risk factors for meningioma; this review highlights the current state of knowledge. Gaining a better understanding of the origin of this disease is essential so that treatments and outcomes can be improved and prevention strategies can be developed.

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Christina Huang Wright, James Wright, Gino Cioffi, Alia Hdeib, Manish K. Kasliwal, Carol Kruchko, Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan and Andrew E. Sloan


Chordomas of the spine and sacrum are a rare but debilitating cancer and require complex multidisciplinary care. Studies of other such rare cancers have demonstrated an association of high-volume and/or multidisciplinary centers with improved outcomes and survival. Such an association has been proposed for chordomas, but evidence to support this claim is lacking. The authors performed a study to investigate if treatment facility type is associated with patterns of care and survival for patients with spinal and sacral chordomas by assessing records from a US-based cancer database.


In this observational retrospective cohort study, the authors identified 1266 patients from the National Cancer Database with vertebral column or sacral chordomas diagnosed between 2004 and 2015. The primary study outcome was overall survival, and secondary outcomes included odds of receiving treatment and time to treatment, defined as radiation therapy, surgery, and/or any treatment, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or participation in clinical trials. The results were adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, level of education, income, and Charlson/Deyo score.


Of the 1266 patients identified, the mean age at diagnosis was 59.70 years (SD 16.2 years), and the patients were predominantly male (n = 791 [62.50%]). Patients treated at community cancer programs demonstrated an increased risk of death (HR 1.98, 95% CI 1.13–3.47, p = 0.018) when compared to patients treated at academic/research programs (ARPs). The median survival was longest for those treated at ARPs (131.45 months) compared to community cancer programs (79.34 months, 95% CI 48.99–123.17) and comprehensive community cancer programs (CCCPs) (109.34 months, 95% CI 84.76–131.45); 5-year survival rates were 76.08%, 52.71%, and 61.57%, respectively. Patients treated at community cancer programs and CCCPs were less likely to receive any treatment compared to those treated at ARPs (OR 6.05, 95% CI 2.62–13.95, p < 0.0001; OR 3.74, 95% CI 2.23–6.28, p < 0.0001, respectively). Patients treated at CCCPs and community cancer programs were less likely to receive surgery than those treated at ARPs (OR 2.69, 95% CI 1.82–3.97, p = 0.010; OR = 2.64, 95% CI 1.22–5.71, p = 0.014, respectively). Patients were more likely to receive any treatment (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.40–0.87, p = 0.007) and surgery (OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.38–0.88, p < 0.0001) within 30 days at a CCCP compared to an ARP. There were no differences in odds of receiving radiation therapy or time to radiation by facility type.


Clinical care at an ARP is associated with increased odds of receiving treatment that is associated with improved overall survival for patients with spinal and sacral chordomas, suggesting that ARPs provide the most comprehensive specialized care for patients with this rare and devastating oncological disease.

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Shahed Tish, Ghaith Habboub, Min Lang, Quinn T. Ostrom, Carol Kruchko, Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan, Pablo F. Recinos and Varun R. Kshettry


Spinal schwannoma remains the third most common intradural spinal tumor following spinal meningioma and ependymoma. The available literature is generally limited to single-institution reports rather than epidemiological investigations. As of 1/1/2004, registration of all benign central nervous system tumors in the United States became mandatory after the Benign Brain Tumor Cancer Registries Amendment Act took action, which provided massive resources for United States population-based epidemiological studies. This article describes the epidemiology of spinal schwannoma in the United States from January 1, 2006, through December 31, 2014.


In this study, the authors utilized the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States, which corresponds to 100% of the American population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results program provide the resource for this data registry. The authors included diagnosis years 2006 to 2014. They used the codes per the International Coding of Diseases for Oncology, 3rd Edition: histology code 9560/0 and site codes C72.0 (spinal cord), C70.1 (spinal meninges), and C72.1 (cauda equina). Rates are per 100,000 persons and are age-adjusted to the 2000 United States standard population. The age-adjusted incidence rates and 95% confidence intervals are calculated by age, sex, race, and ethnicity.


There were 6989 spinal schwannoma cases between the years 2006 and 2014. The yearly incidence eminently increased between 2010 and 2014. Total incidence rate was 0.24 (95% CI 0.23–0.24) per 100,000 persons. The peak adjusted incidence rate was seen in patients who ranged in age from 65 to 74 years. Spinal schwannomas were less common in females than they were in males (incidence rate ratio = 0.85; p < 0.001), and they were less common in blacks than they were in whites (IRR = 0.52; p < 0.001) and American Indians/Alaska Natives (IRR = 0.50; p < 0.001) compared to whites. There was no statistically significant difference in incidence rate between whites and Asian or Pacific Islanders (IRR = 0.92; p = 0.16).


The authors’ study results demonstrated a steady increase in the incidence of spinal schwannomas between 2010 and 2014. Male sex and the age range 65–74 years were associated with higher incidence rates of spinal schwannomas, whereas black and American Indian/Alaska Native races were associated with lower incidence rates. The present study represents the most thorough assessment of spinal schwannoma epidemiology in the American population.

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Haley Gittleman, Quinn T. Ostrom, Paul D. Farah, Annie Ondracek, Yanwen Chen, Yingli Wolinsky, Carol Kruchko, Justin Singer, Varun R. Kshettry, Edward R. Laws, Andrew E. Sloan, Warren R. Selman and Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan


Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths that develop in the pituitary gland. The Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) contains the largest aggregation of population-based data on the incidence of primary CNS tumors in the US. These data were used to determine the incidence of tumors of the pituitary and associated trends between 2004 and 2009.


Using incidence data from 49 population-based state cancer registries, 2004–2009, age-adjusted incidence rates per 100,000 population for pituitary tumors with ICD-O-3 (International Classification of Diseases for Oncology, Third Edition) histology codes 8040, 8140, 8146, 8246, 8260, 8270, 8271, 8272, 8280, 8281, 8290, 8300, 8310, 8323, 9492 (site C75.1 only), and 9582 were calculated overall and by patient sex, race, Hispanic ethnicity, and age at diagnosis. Corresponding annual percent change (APC) scores and 95% confidence intervals were also calculated using Joinpoint to characterize trends in incidence rates over time. Diagnostic confirmation by subregion of the US was also examined.


The overall annual incidence rate increased from 2.52 (95% CI 2.46–2.58) in 2004 to 3.13 (95% CI 3.07–3.20) in 2009. Associated time trend yielded an APC of 4.25% (95% CI 2.91%–5.61%). When stratifying by patient sex, the annual incidence rate increased from 2.42 (95% CI 2.33–2.50) to 2.94 (95% CI 2.85–3.03) in men and 2.70 (95% CI 2.62–2.79) to 3.40 (95% CI 3.31–3.49) in women, with APCs of 4.35% (95% CI 3.21%–5.51%) and 4.34% (95% CI 2.23%–6.49%), respectively. When stratifying by race, the annual incidence rate increased from 2.31 (95% CI 2.25–2.37) to 2.81 (95% CI 2.74–2.88) in whites, 3.99 (95% CI 3.77–4.23) to 5.31 (95% CI 5.06–5.56) in blacks, 1.77 (95% CI 1.26–2.42) to 2.52 (95% CI 1.96–3.19) in American Indians or Alaska Natives, and 1.86 (95% CI 1.62–2.13) to 2.03 (95% CI 1.80–2.28) in Asians or Pacific Islanders, with APCs of 3.91% (95% CI 2.88%–4.95%), 5.25% (95% CI 3.19%–7.36%), 5.31% (95% CI –0.11% to 11.03%), and 2.40% (95% CI –3.20% to 8.31%), respectively. When stratifying by Hispanic ethnicity, the annual incidence rate increased from 2.46 (95% CI 2.40–2.52) to 3.03 (95% CI 2.97–3.10) in non-Hispanics and 3.12 (95% CI 2.91–3.34) to 4.01 (95% CI 3.80–4.24) in Hispanics, with APCs of 4.15% (95% CI 2.67%–5.65%) and 5.01% (95% CI 4.42%–5.60%), respectively. When stratifying by age at diagnosis, the incidence of pituitary tumor was highest for those 65–74 years old and lowest for those 15–24 years old, with corresponding overall age-adjusted incidence rates of 6.39 (95% CI 6.24–6.54) and 1.56 (95% CI 1.51–1.61), respectively.


In this large patient cohort, the incidence of pituitary tumors reported between 2004 and 2009 was found to increase. Possible explanations for this increase include changes in documentation, changes in the diagnosis and registration of these tumors, improved diagnostics, improved data collection, increased awareness of pituitary diseases among physicians and the public, longer life expectancies, and/or an actual increase in the incidence of these tumors in the US population.

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Defining future directions in spinal cord tumor research

Proceedings from the National Institutes of Health workshop

Elizabeth B. Claus, May Abdel-Wahab, Peter C. Burger, Herbert H. Engelhard, David W. Ellison, Nicholas Gaiano, David H. Gutmann, Daniel A. Heck Jr., Eric C. Holland, George I. Jallo, Carol Kruchko, Larry E. Kun, Bernard L. Maria, Zoran Rumboldt, Daniela Seminara, Giovanna M. Spinella, Linda Stophel, Robert Wechsler-Reya, Margaret Wrensch and Richard J. Gilbertson

The relative rarity of spinal cord tumors has hampered the study of these uncommon nervous system malignancies. Consequently, the understanding of the fundamental biology and optimal treatment of spinal cord tumors is limited, and these cancers continue to inflict considerable morbidity and mortality in children and adults. As a first step to improving the outcome of patients affected with spinal cord tumors, the National Institutes of Health Office of Rare Diseases Research in cooperation with the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke convened a workshop to discuss the current status of research and clinical management of these tumors. The overall goal of this meeting was to initiate a process that would eventually translate fundamental basic science research into improved clinical care for this group of patients. Investigational priorities for each of these areas were established, and the opportunities for future multidisciplinary research collaborations were identified.