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Thomas F. Barrett, Corey M. Gill, Brett A. Miles, Alfred M. C. Iloreta, Richard L. Bakst, Mary Fowkes, Priscilla K. Brastianos, Joshua B. Bederson and Raj K. Shrivastava

Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC) affects nearly 500,000 individuals globally each year. With the rise of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the general population, clinicians are seeing a concomitant rise in HPV-related HNSCC. Notably, a hallmark of HPV-related HNSCC is a predilection for unique biological and clinical features, which portend a tendency for hematogenous metastasis to distant locations, such as the brain. Despite the classic belief that HNSCC is restricted to local spread via passive lymphatic drainage, brain metastases (BMs) are a rare complication that occurs in less than 1% of all HNSCC cases. Time between initial diagnosis of HNSCC and BM development can vary considerably. Some patients experience more than a decade of disease-free survival, whereas others present with definitive neurological symptoms that precede primary tumor detection. The authors systematically review the current literature on HNSCC BMs and discuss the current understanding of the effect of HPV status on the risk of developing BMs in the modern genomic era.

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Matthew R. Strickland, Corey M. Gill, Naema Nayyar, Megan R. D'Andrea, Christian Thiede, Tareq A. Juratli, Gabriele Schackert, Darrell R. Borger, Sandro Santagata, Matthew P. Frosch, Daniel P. Cahill, Priscilla K. Brastianos and Fred G. Barker II

OBJECTIVE

Meningiomas located in the skull base are surgically challenging. Recent genomic research has identified oncogenic SMO and AKT1 mutations in a small subset of meningiomas.

METHODS

The authors performed targeted sequencing in a large cohort of patients with anterior skull base meningiomas (n = 62) to better define the frequency of SMO and AKT1 mutations in these tumors.

RESULTS

The authors found SMO mutations in 7 of 62 (11%) and AKT1 mutations in 12 of 62 (19%) of their cohort. Of the 7 meningiomas with SMO mutations, 6 (86%) occurred in the olfactory groove. Meningiomas with an SMO mutation presented with significantly larger tumor volume (70.6 ± 36.3 cm3) compared with AKT1-mutated (18.2 ± 26.8 cm3) and wild-type (22.7 ± 23.9 cm3) meningiomas, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Combined, these data demonstrate clinically actionable mutations in 30% of anterior skull base meningiomas and suggest an association between SMO mutation status and tumor volume. Genotyping of SMO and AKT1 is likely to be high yield in anterior skull base meningiomas with available surgical tissue.