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Pravesh S. Gadjradj, Maurits W. van Tulder, Clemens M. F. Dirven, Wilco C. Peul and B. Sanjay Harhangi

OBJECTIVE

Throughout the last decades, full-endoscopic techniques to treat lumbar disc herniation (LDH) have gained popularity in clinical practice. To date, however, no Class I evidence on the efficacy of percutaneous transforaminal endoscopic discectomy (PTED) has been published, and studies describing its safety and short- and long-term efficacy are scarce. In this study the authors aimed to evaluate the clinical outcomes and safety in patients undergoing PTED for LDH.

METHODS

Patients who underwent PTED for LDH between January 2009 and December 2012 were prospectively followed. The primary outcomes were the visual analog scale (VAS) score for leg pain and the score on the Quebec Back Pain Disability Scale (QBPDS). Secondary outcomes were the perceived experience with the local anesthesia used and satisfaction with the results after 1 year using Likert-type scales. The pretreatment means were compared with the means obtained 6 and 52 weeks after surgery using paired t-tests.

RESULTS

A total of 166 patients underwent surgery for a total of 167 LDHs. The mean duration of surgery (± SD) was 51.0 ± 9.0 minutes. The 1-year follow-up rate was 95.2%. The mean reported scores on the VAS and QBPDS were 82.5 ± 17.3 mm and 60.0 ± 18.4 at baseline, respectively. Six weeks after surgery, the scores on the VAS and QBPDS were significantly reduced to 28.8 ± 24.5 mm and 26.7 ± 20.6, respectively (p < 0.001). After 52 weeks of follow-up, the scores were further reduced compared with baseline scores (p < 0.001) to 19.6 ± 23.5 mm on the VAS and 20.2 ± 18.1 on the QBPDS. A total of 4 complications were observed, namely 1 dural tear, 1 deficit of ankle dorsiflexion, and 2 cases of transient paresis in the foot due to the use of local anesthetics.

CONCLUSIONS

PTED appears to be a safe and effective intervention for LDH and has similar clinical outcomes compared to conventional open microdiscectomy. High-quality randomized controlled trials are required to study the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of PTED.

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Djaina Satoer, Judith Vork, Evy Visch-Brink, Marion Smits, Clemens Dirven and Arnaud Vincent

Object

Patients with gliomas frequently have cognitive deficits, and surgery can exacerbate these deficits. Preoperative assessment is therefore crucial in patients undergoing surgery for glioma in eloquent areas, because the proximity of functional areas increases the risk of permanent postoperative cognitive disturbances. Although pre- and postoperative language and motor function in patients with glioma have been investigated frequently, data on good cognition studies are scarce. Most studies have focused on clinical neurological functioning or have only used brief neurological instruments. The authors investigated whether surgery for glioma in eloquent areas influences cognition early after surgery, by using an elaborate test protocol.

Methods

Twenty-eight patients with gliomas of the left hemisphere in language and nonlanguage areas were assessed before and 3 months after surgery with a comprehensive neuropsychological test protocol. The authors performed a correlation analysis between change in cognitive performance and tumor characteristics (that is, location, volume, pathological features, and histological grade) and between cognitive change and treatment-related factors (the extent of the resection and postoperative treatment with chemo- and radiotherapy).

Results

Both pre- and postoperatively, the mean performance of the patients was worse than the performance of the normal population in the language domain, the memory domain, and the executive functions (p < 0.05). Postoperatively, a decline was found in the language domain (t = 2.34, p = 0.027) and in the executive functions (t = 2.45, p = 0.022). However, cognitive change postsurgery was influenced by the location of the tumor; the decrease of cognitive score in the language domain was only observed in patients with tumors in or close to language areas (t = 2.33, p = 0.029). No effect on cognitive change was found for the other tumor characteristics and treatment-related factors.

Conclusions

This study underlines the importance of the use of a neuropsychological test protocol before and after surgery in patients with glioma, because several tasks in the domains of language, memory, and executive functions appeared to deteriorate after surgery. Tumor resection in language areas increases the risk of cognitive deficits in the language domain postoperatively.

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Eva Klijn, Hester C. Hulscher, Rutger K. Balvers, Wim P. J. Holland, Jan Bakker, Arnaud J. P. E. Vincent, Clemens M. F. Dirven and Can Ince

Object

The goal of awake neurosurgery is to maximize resection of brain lesions with minimal injury to functional brain areas. Laser speckle imaging (LSI) is a noninvasive macroscopic technique with high spatial and temporal resolution used to monitor changes in capillary perfusion. In this study, the authors hypothesized that LSI can be useful as a noncontact method of functional brain mapping during awake craniotomy for tumor removal. Such a modality would be an advance in this type of neurosurgery since current practice involves the application of invasive intraoperative single-point electrocortical (electrode) stimulation and measurements.

Methods

After opening the dura mater, patients were woken up, and LSI was set up to image the exposed brain area. Patients were instructed to follow a rest-activation-rest protocol in which activation consisted of the hand-clenching motor task. Subsequently, exposed brain areas were mapped for functional motor areas by using standard electrocortical stimulation (ECS). Changes in the LSI signal were analyzed offline and compared with the results of ECS.

Results

In functional motor areas of the hand mapped with ECS, cortical blood flow measured using LSI significantly increased from 2052 ± 818 AU to 2471 ± 675 AU during hand clenching, whereas capillary blood flow did not change in the control regions (areas mapped using ECS with no functional activity).

Conclusions

The main finding of this study was that changes in laser speckle perfusion as a measure of cortical microvascular blood flow when performing a motor task with the hand relate well to the ECS map. The authors have shown the feasibility of using LSI for direct visualization of cortical microcirculatory blood flow changes during neurosurgery.

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Clemens M. F. Dirven, Jacques Grill, Martine L. M. Lamfers, Paul van der Valk, Angelique M. Leonhart, Victor W. van Beusechem, Hidde J. Haisma, Herbert M. Pinedo, David T. Curiel, W. Peter Vandertop and Winald R. Gerritsen

Object. Due to their surgical inaccessibility or aggressive behavior, some meningiomas cannot be cured with current treatment strategies. Gene therapy is an emerging strategy for the treatment of brain tumors, which the authors investigated to determine whether adenoviruses could be used for gene transfer in meningioma cells.

Methods. The presence of the high-affinity Coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR) for adenovirus type 5, as well as endothelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) and alphav integrins (ITGAVs), were analyzed in primary tumors by using immunohistochemical studies and in primary meningioma cell cultures by using fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Targeting of adenoviruses to EGFR was achieved using bispecific antibodies, whereas targeting of adenoviruses to the ITGAVs was accomplished by insertion of an RGD (arginine-glycine-aspartic acid) motif in the adenovirus fiber HI loop. Gene transfer efficiency of untargeted and targeted vectors was compared in primary cell cultures and in spheroids derived from patients' resected tumor material.

The presence of CARs was observed in all tumors and in all but one of the derived primary meningioma cells. The higher expression of EGFRs and ITGAVs indicated that these receptors could be used as alternative targets to redirect the adenoviruses. Redirection of adenoviruses to the EGFRs or integrins enhanced gene transfer threefold (range two—sevenfold) for EGFRs in primary meningioma cells and ninefold (range three—23-fold) for integrins (p = 0.002, analysis of variance). The effect of adenovirus targeting was confirmed in spheroids composed of primary meningioma cells.

Conclusions. Gene transfer with adenoviruses targeted to tumor-specific receptors is very effective in primary meningioma cells and spheroids. These vectors are promising agents for gene therapy of meningiomas.

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Winan J. Van Houdt, Yosef S. Haviv, Baogen Lu, Minghui Wang, Angel A. Rivera, Ilya V. Ulasov, Martine L. M. Lamfers, Daniel Rein, Maciej S. Lesniak, Gene P. Siegal, Clemens M. F. Dirven, David T. Curiel and Zeng B. Zhu

Object

Malignant brain tumors have been proved to be resistant to standard treatments and therefore require new therapeutic strategies. Survivin, a recently described member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, is overexpressed in several human brain tumors, primarily gliomas, but is downregulated in normal tissues. The authors hypothesized that the expression of tumor-specific survivin could be exploited for treatment of gliomas by targeting the tumors with gene therapy vectors.

Methods

Following confirmation of survivin expression in glioma cell lines, an adenoviral vector containing the survivin promoter and the reporter gene luciferase was tested in established and primary glioma cells, normal astrocytic cells, and normal human brain tissues. High levels of reporter gene expression were observed in established tumor and primary tumor cell lines and low levels of expression in astrocytes and normal human brain tissue. To test oncolytic potency, the authors constructed survivin promoter–based conditionally replicative adenoviruses (CRAds), composed of survivin promoter–regulated E1 gene expression and an RGD-4C capsid modification. These CRAds could efficiently replicate within and kill a variety of established glioma tumor cells, but were inactive in a normal human liver organ culture. Finally, survivin promoter–based CRAds significantly inhibited the growth of glioma xenografts in vivo.

Conclusions

Together these data indicate that the survivin promoter is a promising tumor-specific promoter for transcriptional targeting of adenovirus-based vectors and CRAds for malignant gliomas. The strategy of using survivin–CRAds may thus translate into an experimental therapeutic approach that can be used in human clinical trials.