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Eric W. Prince, Lindsey M. Hoffman, Trinka Vijmasi, Kathleen Dorris, Jennifer A. McWilliams, Kimberly R. Jordan, David M. Mirsky, and Todd C. Hankinson


Adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma (ACP) is a highly morbid adult and pediatric brain tumor derived from epithelial remnants of the craniopharyngeal canal (Rathke’s pouch), which gives rise to the anterior pituitary gland. Standard therapy includes maximal safe resection with or without radiation therapy. Systemic antitumor therapy remains elusive. Immune-related paracrine signaling involving the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R) may contribute to ACP pathogenesis. Tocilizumab, a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody against IL-6R, is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration but does not cross an intact blood–brain barrier.


In a phase 0 trial design, a single dose of tocilizumab was delivered intravenously before clinically indicated surgical intervention in 3 children with ACP. The presence of tocilizumab was assayed in plasma, tumor tissue, tumor cyst fluid, and cerebrospinal fluid (n = 1) using a novel enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Tocilizumab reached ACP tumor tissue and/or cyst fluid after one systemic dose in every patient.


This finding helps explain extant data that indicate tocilizumab may contribute to ACP therapy. It further indicates that ACP does not reside behind an intact blood–brain barrier, dramatically broadening the range of potential antitumor therapies against this tumor. This has substantial implications for the design of future clinical trials for novel therapies against ACP in both children and adults.

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Soliman Oushy, Jonathon J. Parker, Kristen Campbell, Claire Palmer, Corbett Wilkinson, Nicholas V. Stence, Michael H. Handler, and David M. Mirsky


Placement of a cerebrospinal fluid diversion device (i.e., shunt) is a routine pediatric neurosurgical procedure, often performed in the first weeks of life for treatment of congenital hydrocephalus. In the postoperative period, shunt placement may be complicated by subdural, catheter tract, parenchymal, and intraventricular hemorrhages. The authors observed a subset of infants and neonates who developed multifocal intraparenchymal hemorrhages (MIPH) following shunt placement and sought to determine any predisposing perioperative variables.


A retrospective review of the electronic medical record at a tertiary-care children’s hospital was performed for the period 1998–2015. Inclusion criteria consisted of shunt placement, age < 30 days, and available pre- and postoperative brain imaging. The following data were collected and analyzed for each case: ventricular size ratios, laboratory values, clinical presentation, shunt and valve type, and operative timing and approach.


A total of 121 neonates met the inclusion criteria for the study, and 11 patients (9.1%) had MIPH following shunt placement. The preoperative frontal and occipital horn ratio (FOR) was significantly higher in the patients with MIPH than in those without (0.65 vs 0.57, p < 0.001). The change in FOR (∆FOR) after shunt placement was significantly greater in the MIPH group (0.14 vs 0.08, p = 0.04). Among neonates who developed MIPH, aqueductal stenosis was the most common etiology (45%). The type of shunt valve was associated with incidence of MIPH (p < 0.001). Preoperative clinical parameters, including head circumference, bulging fontanelle, and coagulopathy, were not significantly associated with development of MIPH.


MIPH represents an underrecognized complication of neonatal shunted hydrocephalus. Markers of severity of ventriculomegaly (FOR) and ventricular response to CSF diversion (∆FOR) were significantly associated with occurrence of MIPH. Choice of shunt and etiology of hydrocephalus were also significantly associated with MIPH. After adjusting for corrected age, etiology of hydrocephalus, and shunt setting, the authors found that ∆FOR after shunting was still associated with MIPH. A prospective study of MIPH prevention strategies and assessment of possible implications for patient outcomes is needed.

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Ros Whelan, Eric Prince, David M. Mirsky, Robert Naftel, Aashim Bhatia, Benedetta Pettorini, Shivaram Avula, Susan Staulcup, Allyson L. Alexander, Maxene Meier, and Todd C. Hankinson


Pediatric adamantinomatous craniopharyngiomas (ACPs) are histologically benign brain tumors that confer significant neuroendocrine morbidity. Previous studies have demonstrated that injury to the hypothalamus is associated with worsened quality of life and a shorter lifespan. This insight helps many surgeons define the goals of surgery for patients with ACP. Puget and colleagues proposed a 3-tiered preoperative and postoperative grading system based on the degree of hypothalamic involvement identified on MRI. In a prospective cohort from their institution, the authors found that use of the system to guide operative goals was associated with decreased morbidity. To date, however, the Puget system has not been externally validated. Here, the authors present an interrater reliability study that assesses the generalizability of this system for surgeons planning initial operative intervention for children with craniopharyngiomas.


A panel of 6 experts, consisting of pediatric neurosurgeons and pediatric neuroradiologists, graded 30 preoperative and postoperative MRI scans according to the Puget system. Interrater reliability was calculated using Fleiss’ κ and Krippendorff’s α statistics.


Interrater reliability in the preoperative context demonstrated moderate agreement (κ = 0.50, α = 0.51). Interrater reliability in the postoperative context was 0.27 for both methods of statistical evaluation.


Interrater reliability for the system as defined is moderate. Slight refinements of the Puget MRI grading system, such as collapsing the 3 grades into 2, may improve its reliability, making the system more generalizable.