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James M. Wright, Christina L. Huang, Rahul Sharma, Sunil Manjila, Feng Xu, Barbara Dabb and Nicholas C. Bambakidis

Since the first surgery for an intracranial aneurysm in 1931, neurological surgeons have long strived to determine the optimal methods of surgical correction. Significant challenges of aneurysm clipping include intraoperative rupture and complex dome morphology. Hypothermia, cardiopulmonary bypass, pharmacologically induced hypotension, and cardiac standstill are a few of the methodologies historically and currently employed in the management of these issues. In the 1980s, significant advances in pharmacology and anesthesiology led to the use of agents such as adenosine for chemically induced hypotension and eventually complete circulatory arrest. Since the institution of the use of these agents, the traditional methods of circulatory arrest under conditions of hypothermia and cardiopulmonary bypass have fallen out of favor. However, there still exists a subset of technically difficult aneurysms for which cardiac standstill, both chemical and hypothermic, remains a viable therapeutic option. In this paper, the authors describe the history of cardiac standstill by both hypothermic and chemically induced means as well as provide examples in which these techniques are still necessary.

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James Wright, Christina Huang Wright and Warren R. Selman

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James Wright, Jessey Chugh, Christina Huang Wright, Fernando Alonso, Alia Hdeib, Haley Gittleman, Jill Barnholtz-Sloan and Andrew E. Sloan

OBJECTIVE

Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), sometimes referred to as “stereotactic laser ablation,” has demonstrated utility in a subset of high-risk surgical patients with difficult to access (DTA) intracranial neoplasms. However, the treatment of tumors larger than 10 cm3 is associated with suboptimal outcomes and morbidity. This may limit the utility of LITT in dealing with precisely those large or deep tumors that are most difficult to treat with conventional approaches. Recently, several groups have reported on minimally invasive transsulcal approaches utilizing tubular retracting systems. However, these approaches have been primarily used for intraventricular or paraventricular lesions, and subtotal resections have been reported for intraparenchymal lesions. Here, the authors describe a combined approach of LITT followed by minimally invasive transsulcal resection for large and DTA tumors.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the results of LITT immediately followed by minimally invasive, transsulcal, transportal resection in 10 consecutive patients with unilateral, DTA malignant tumors > 10 cm3. The patients, 5 males and 5 females, had a median age of 65 years. Eight patients had glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), 1 had a previously treated GBM with radiation necrosis, and 1 had a melanoma brain metastasis. The median tumor volume treated was 38.0 cm3.

RESULTS

The median tumor volume treated to the yellow thermal dose threshold (TDT) line was 83% (range 76%–92%), the median tumor volume treated to the blue TDT line was 73% (range 60%–87%), and the median extent of resection was 93% (range 84%–100%). Two patients suffered mild postoperative neurological deficits, one transiently. Four patients have died since this analysis and 6 remain alive. Median progression-free survival was 280 days, and median overall survival was 482 days.

CONCLUSIONS

Laser interstitial thermal therapy followed by minimally invasive transsulcal resection, reported here for the first time, is a novel option for patients with large, DTA, malignant brain neoplasms. There were no unexpected neurological complications in this series, and operative characteristics improved as surgeon experience increased. Further studies are needed to elucidate any differences in survival or quality of life metrics.

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Christina Huang Wright, Dorian Kusyk, William S. Rosenberg and Jennifer A. Sweet

Lymphangiomatosis is a rare congenital disorder that results in multiorgan system lymphatic invasion. Symptoms due to axial skeletal involvement can range from chronic bone pain to severe deformity resulting in radiculopathy, myelopathy, and even paralysis. The authors present a case of lymphangiomatosis of the clivus, C-1, and C-2, resulting in chronic pain. The patient was successfully treated with percutaneous transoral clivoplasty and vertebroplasty, without disease progression or return of symptoms at 2 years.

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Christina Huang Wright, James Wright, Louisa Onyewadume, Alankrita Raghavan, Isaac Lapite, Antonio Casco-Zuleta, Carlito Lagman, Martha Sajatovic and Tiffany R. Hodges

OBJECTIVE

Spinal metastases from primary intracranial glioblastoma (GBM) are infrequently reported, and the disease has yet to be well characterized. A more accurate description of its clinical presentation and patient survival may improve understanding of this pathology, guide patient care, and advocate for increased inclusion in GBM research. The authors sought to describe the clinical presentation, treatment patterns, and survival in patients with drop metastases secondary to primary intracranial GBM.

METHODS

A systematic review was performed using the PRISMA guidelines. PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases were queried for abstracts that included patients with primary intracranial GBM and metastases to the spinal axis. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate characteristics of the primary brain lesion, timing of spinal metastases, clinical symptoms, anatomical location of the metastases, and survival and treatment parameters. Kaplan-Meier analysis and log-rank analysis of the survival curves were performed for selected subgroups.

RESULTS

Of 1225 abstracts that resulted from the search, 51 articles were selected, yielding 86 subjects. The patients’ mean age was 46.78 years and 59.74% were male. The most common symptom was lumbago or cervicalgia (90.24%), and this was followed by paraparesis (86.00%). The actuarial median survival after the detection of spinal metastases was 2.8 months and the mean survival was 2.72 months (95% CI 2.59–4.85), with a 1-year cumulative survival probability of 2.7% (95% CI 0.51%–8.33%). A diagnosis of leptomeningeal disease, present in 53.54% of the patients, was correlated, and significantly worse survival was on log-rank analysis in patients with leptomeningeal disease (p = 0.0046; median survival 2.5 months [95% CI 2–3] vs 4.0 months [95% CI 2–6]).

CONCLUSIONS

This study established baseline characteristics of GBMs metastatic to the spinal axis. The prognosis is poor, though these results will provide patients and clinicians with more accurate survival estimates. The quality of studies reporting on this disease pathology is still limited. There is significant need for improved reporting methods for spinal metastases, either through enrollment of these patients in clinical trials or through increased granularity of coding for metastatic central nervous system diseases in cancer databases.

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Christina Huang Wright, James Wright, Louisa Onyewadume, Alankrita Raghavan, Isaac Lapite, Antonio Casco-Zuleta, Carlito Lagman, Martha Sajatovic and Tiffany R. Hodges

OBJECTIVE

Spinal metastases from primary intracranial glioblastoma (GBM) are infrequently reported, and the disease has yet to be well characterized. A more accurate description of its clinical presentation and patient survival may improve understanding of this pathology, guide patient care, and advocate for increased inclusion in GBM research. The authors sought to describe the clinical presentation, treatment patterns, and survival in patients with drop metastases secondary to primary intracranial GBM.

METHODS

A systematic review was performed using the PRISMA guidelines. PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases were queried for abstracts that included patients with primary intracranial GBM and metastases to the spinal axis. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate characteristics of the primary brain lesion, timing of spinal metastases, clinical symptoms, anatomical location of the metastases, and survival and treatment parameters. Kaplan-Meier analysis and log-rank analysis of the survival curves were performed for selected subgroups.

RESULTS

Of 1225 abstracts that resulted from the search, 51 articles were selected, yielding 86 subjects. The patients’ mean age was 46.78 years and 59.74% were male. The most common symptom was lumbago or cervicalgia (90.24%), and this was followed by paraparesis (86.00%). The actuarial median survival after the detection of spinal metastases was 2.8 months and the mean survival was 2.72 months (95% CI 2.59–4.85), with a 1-year cumulative survival probability of 2.7% (95% CI 0.51%–8.33%). A diagnosis of leptomeningeal disease, present in 53.54% of the patients, was correlated, and significantly worse survival was on log-rank analysis in patients with leptomeningeal disease (p = 0.0046; median survival 2.5 months [95% CI 2–3] vs 4.0 months [95% CI 2–6]).

CONCLUSIONS

This study established baseline characteristics of GBMs metastatic to the spinal axis. The prognosis is poor, though these results will provide patients and clinicians with more accurate survival estimates. The quality of studies reporting on this disease pathology is still limited. There is significant need for improved reporting methods for spinal metastases, either through enrollment of these patients in clinical trials or through increased granularity of coding for metastatic central nervous system diseases in cancer databases.

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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

OBJECTIVE

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.

METHODS

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.

RESULTS

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.

CONCLUSIONS

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.