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Björn Latz, Christine Mordhorst, Thomas Kerz, Annette Schmidt, Astrid Schneider, Gregor Wisser, Christian Werner and Kristin Engelhard

Object

The purpose of this study was to assess the incidence and risk factors of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) after craniotomy because most available data about PONV in neurosurgical patients are retrospective in nature or derive from small prospective studies.

Methods

Postoperative nausea and vomiting was prospectively assessed within 24 hours after surgery in 229 patients requiring supratentorial or infratentorial craniotomy. To rule out the relevance of the neurosurgical procedure itself to the development of PONV, the observed incidence of vomiting was compared with the rate of vomiting predicted with a surgery-independent risk score (Apfel postoperative vomiting score).

Results

The overall incidence of PONV after craniotomy was 47%. Logistic regression identified female sex as a risk factor for postoperative nausea (OR 4.25, 95% CI 2.3–7.8) and vomiting (OR 2.62, 95% CI 1.4–4.9). Both the incidence of nausea (OR 3.76, 95% CI 2.06–6.88) and vomiting (OR 4.48, 95% CI 2.4–8.37) were increased in patients not receiving steroids. Postoperative nausea and vomiting occurred after infratentorial as well as after supratentorial procedures. The observed incidence of vomiting within 24 hours after surgery was higher (49%) than would be predicted with the Apfel surgery-independent risk score (31%; p = 0.0004).

Conclusions

The overall incidence of PONV within 24 hours after craniotomy was approximately 50%. One possible reason is that intracranial surgeries pose an additional and independent risk factor for vomiting, especially in female patients. Patients undergoing craniotomy should be identified as high-risk patients for PONV.

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Christian Schneider, Eveline Teresa Hidalgo, Thomas Schmitt-Mechelke and Karl F. Kothbauer

Object

Presently, the best available treatment for intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs) in children is microsurgery with the objective of maximal tumor removal and minimal neurological morbidity. The latter has become manageable with the development and standard use of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring. Traditionally, the perioperative neurological evaluation is based on surgical or spinal cord injury scores focusing on sensorimotor function. Little is known about the quality of life after such operations; therefore, this study was designed to investigate the impact of surgery for IMSCTs on the quality of life in children.

Methods

Twelve consecutive pediatric patients treated for IMSCT were included in this retrospective fixed cohort study. A multidimensional questionnaire-based quality of life instrument, the Pediatric Quality of Life Questionnaire version 4 (PedsQL 4.0), was chosen to analyze follow-up data. This validated instrument particularly allows for a comparison between a patient cohort and a healthy pediatric sample population.

Results

Of 11 mailed questionnaires (1 patient had died of progressive disease), 10 were returned, resulting in a response rate of 91%. There were 8 low-grade lesions (5 pilocytic astrocytomas, 1 ganglioglioma, 1 hemangioblastoma, and 1 cavernoma) and 4 high-grade lesions (2 anaplastic gangliogliomas, 1 glioblastoma, and 1 glioneuronal tumor). The mean age at diagnosis was 7.5 years, the mean follow-up was 4.2 years, and 83% of the patients were male. Total resection was achieved in 5 patients and subtotal resection in 7. Four patients had undergone 2 or more resections. The 4 patients with high-grade tumors and 2 with incompletely resected low-grade tumors underwent adjuvant treatment (2 chemotherapy and 4 both radiotherapy and chemotherapy). The mean modified McCormick Scale score at the time of diagnosis was 1.7; at the time of follow-up, 1.5. The mean PedsQL 4.0 total score in the low-grade group was 78.5; in the high-grade group, 82.6. There was no significant difference in PedsQL 4.0 scores between the patient cohort and the normal population.

Conclusions

In a small cohort of children who had undergone surgery for IMSCTs with a mean follow-up of 4.2 years, quality of life scores according to the PedsQL 4.0 instrument were not different from those in a normal sample population.

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Piotr Jachimczak, Ulrich Bogdahn, Jörg Schneider, Christian Behl, Jürgen Meixensberger, Rainer Apfel, Rüdiger Dörries, Karl-Hermann Schlingensiepen and Wolfgang Brysch

✓ This in vitro study was aimed at restitution of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β2-mediated suppression of T-lymphocyte activation within malignant gliomas. In early-passage tumor cell cultures of two glioblastomas (HTZ-153 and HTZ-209) and one malignant astrocytoma classified as World Health Organization Grade III (HTZ-243), autologous peripheral blood mononuclear cells were activated by interleukin-lα and interleukin-2 in vitro (lymphokine-actived killer cells) and tested for cytotoxic and proliferative activity. In expression studies (Western blot and Northern hybridization) of all three tumors, TGF-β could be detected at the protein and messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) levels. A polyclonal anti-TGF-β neutralizing antibody did not enhance lymphocyte proliferation upon stimulation with tumor targets (3H-thymidine incorporation) and slightly stimulated lymphocyte cytotoxicity against autologous target cells. Preincubation of target cells for 12 hours with TGF-β2-specific phosphorothioate-anti-sense oligodeoxynucleotides (S-ODN's) did, however, enhance lymphocyte proliferation up to 2.5-fold and autologous tumor cytotoxicity up to 60%, compared to controls not treated with S-ODN's. Incubation of tumor cells with TGF-β2-specific S-ODN's resulted in decreased TGF-β-specific immunoreactivity in cultured glioma cells, in reduced TGF-β2 protein concentration (Western blot), and in a change in the expression pattern of TGF-β2 mRNA's. These observations may have implications for in vivo and in vitro activation of a cellular immune response against autologous malignant glioma cells.

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Christian Schneider, Vijay Ramaswamy, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James T. Rutka, Marc Remke, Uri Tabori, Cynthia Hawkins, Eric Bouffet and Michael D. Taylor

OBJECT

While medulloblastoma was initially thought to comprise a single homogeneous entity, it is now accepted that it in fact comprises 4 discrete subgroups, each with its own distinct demographics, clinical presentation, transcriptomics, genetics, and outcome. Hydrocephalus is a common complication of medulloblastoma and not infrequently requires CSF diversion. The authors report the incidence of CSF diversion surgery in each of the subgroups of medulloblastoma (Wnt, Shh, Group 3, and Group 4).

METHODS

The medical and imaging records for patients who underwent surgery for medulloblastoma at The Hospital for Sick Children were retrospectively reviewed. The primary outcome was the requirement for CSF diversion surgery either before or within 60 days of tumor resection. The modified Canadian Preoperative Prediction Rule for Hydrocephalus (mCPPRH) was compared among subgroups.

RESULTS

Of 143 medulloblastoma patients, treated from 1991 to 2013, sufficient data were available for 130 patients (15 with Wnt, 30 with Shh, 30 with Group 3, and 55 with Group 4 medulloblastomas). Of these, 28 patients (22%) ultimately underwent CSF diversion surgery: 0% with Wnt, 29% with Shh, 29% with Group 3, and 43% with Group 4 tumors. Patients in the Wnt subgroup had a lower incidence of CSF diversion than all other patients combined (p = 0.04). Wnt patients had a lower mCPPRH score (lower risk of CSF diversion, p = 0.045), were older, had smaller ventricles at diagnosis, and had no leptomeningeal metastases.

CONCLUSIONS

The overall rate of CSF diversion surgery for Shh, Group 3, and Group 4 medulloblastomas is around 30%, but no patients in the present series with a Wnt medulloblastoma required shunting. The low incidence of hydrocephalus in patients with Wnt medulloblastoma likely reflects both host factors (age) and disease factors (lack of metastases). The absence of hydrocephalus in patients with Wnt medulloblastomas likely contributes to their excellent rate of survival and may also contribute to a higher quality of life than for patients in other subgroups.

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Christian Schneider, Ian Kamaly-Asl, Vijay Ramaswamy, Lucie Lafay-Cousin, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James T. Rutka, Marc Remke, Daniel Coluccia, Uri Tabori, Cynthia Hawkins, Eric Bouffet and Michael D. Taylor

OBJECT

Choroid plexus carcinomas (CPCs) are rare brain tumors originating from the ventricular choroid plexus. They account for 2%–4% of all pediatric brain tumors and are most frequently seen in very young children. This pediatric proclivity, in combination with a marked vascularity, renders an aggressive resection a difficult and often dangerous endeavor. Blood losses of several total blood volumes in small children are not uncommon, sometimes forcing the neurosurgeon to abort the procedure, often leaving residual tumor. Great extent of tumor resection is an accepted beneficial factor for overall survival. Therefore, a second resection usually follows the administration of adjuvant chemotherapy. Second-look surgery appears to be associated with markedly decreased blood loss. Histological examination of specimens obtained at a second intervention shows decreased vascularity and fibrotic changes in tumor tissue. At the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, this empirical finding led to the strategy of neoadjuvant chemotherapy to minimize blood loss and maximize cytoreduction. The authors undertook this study to assess the potentially beneficial effect of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on blood loss during surgery for CPCs.

METHODS

In this retrospective cohort review, the demographic, clinical, and treatment parameters of 22 consecutive patients diagnosed with CPC are presented. All underwent surgical treatment at the Hospital for Sick Children from 1982 to 2013. Special attention was given to the impact of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on extent of resection and intraoperative blood loss. Extent of resection was calculated based on perioperative neuroimaging, and amount of blood loss was estimated based on transfusion parameters and perioperative changes in hematocrit.

RESULTS

Ten patients did not receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and 12 were treated with 2–5 cycles of ICE (ifosfamide, carboplatin, etoposide) chemotherapy in a neoadjuvant fashion. The 22 patients included in the study underwent a total of 37 tumor resection surgeries. In all of the cases in which neoadjuvant chemotherapy was used, at least a near-total resection (> 95% of tumor volume) was achieved. Patients who underwent gross-total resection had prolonged overall survival. Of the 37 resections, 18 were performed after chemotherapy. Mean blood loss in the neoadjuvant chemotherapy group was 22% of total estimated blood volume as opposed to 96% in patients without preoperative chemotherapy.

CONCLUSIONS

In children with CPC, the administration of neoadjuvant chemotherapy decreases intraoperative blood loss and increases extent of resection with a significant positive effect on overall survival.