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Charles W. Kanaly, Ankit I. Mehta, Dale Ding, Jenny K. Hoang, Peter G. Kranz, James E. Herndon II, April Coan, Ian Crocker, Anthony F. Waller, Allan H. Friedman, David A. Reardon and John H. Sampson

Object

Robust methodology that allows objective, automated, and observer-independent measurements of brain tumor volume, especially after resection, is lacking. Thus, determination of tumor response and progression in neurooncology is unreliable. The objective of this study was to determine if a semi-automated volumetric method for quantifying enhancing tissue would perform with high reproducibility and low interobserver variability.

Methods

Fifty-seven MR images from 13 patients with glioblastoma were assessed using our method, by 2 neuroradiologists, 1 neurosurgeon, 1 neurosurgical resident, 1 nurse practitioner, and 1 medical student. The 2 neuroradiologists also performed traditional 1-dimensional (1D) and 2-dimensional (2D) measurements. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) assessed interobserver variability between measurements. Radiological response was determined using Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST) guidelines and Macdonald criteria. Kappa statistics described interobserver variability of volumetric radiological response determinations.

Results

There was strong agreement for 1D (RECIST) and 2D (Macdonald) measurements between neuroradiologists (ICC = 0.42 and 0.61, respectively), but the agreement using the authors' novel automated approach was significantly stronger (ICC = 0.97). The volumetric method had the strongest agreement with regard to radiological response (κ = 0.96) when compared with 2D (κ = 0.54) or 1D (κ = 0.46) methods. Despite diverse levels of experience of the users of the volumetric method, measurements using the volumetric program remained remarkably consistent in all users (0.94).

Conclusions

Interobserver variability using this new semi-automated method is less than the variability with traditional methods of tumor measurement. This new method is objective, quick, and highly reproducible among operators with varying levels of expertise. This approach should be further evaluated as a potential standard for response assessment based on contrast enhancement in brain tumors.

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John H. Sampson, Gary Archer, Christoph Pedain, Eva Wembacher-Schröder, Manfred Westphal, Sandeep Kunwar, Michael A. Vogelbaum, April Coan, James E. Herndon II, Raghu Raghavan, Martin L. Brady, David A. Reardon, Allan H. Friedman, Henry S. Friedman, M. Inmaculada Rodríguez-Ponce, Susan M. Chang, Stephan Mittermeyer, David Croteau, Raj K. Puri and PRECISE Trial Investigators

Object

Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is a novel intracerebral drug delivery technique with considerable promise for delivering therapeutic agents throughout the CNS. Despite this promise, Phase III clinical trials employing CED have failed to meet clinical end points. Although this may be due to inactive agents or a failure to rigorously validate drug targets, the authors have previously demonstrated that catheter positioning plays a major role in drug distribution using this technique. The purpose of the present work was to retrospectively analyze the expected drug distribution based on catheter positioning data available from the CED arm of the PRECISE trial.

Methods

Data on catheter positioning from all patients randomized to the CED arm of the PRECISE trial were available for analyses. BrainLAB iPlan Flow software was used to estimate the expected drug distribution.

Results

Only 49.8% of catheters met all positioning criteria. Still, catheter positioning score (hazard ratio 0.93, p = 0.043) and the number of optimally positioned catheters (hazard ratio 0.72, p = 0.038) had a significant effect on progression-free survival. Estimated coverage of relevant target volumes was low, however, with only 20.1% of the 2-cm penumbra surrounding the resection cavity covered on average. Although tumor location and resection cavity volume had no effect on coverage volume, estimations of drug delivery to relevant target volumes did correlate well with catheter score (p < 0.003), and optimally positioned catheters had larger coverage volumes (p < 0.002). Only overall survival (p = 0.006) was higher for investigators considered experienced after adjusting for patient age and Karnofsky Performance Scale score.

Conclusions

The potential efficacy of drugs delivered by CED may be severely constrained by ineffective delivery in many patients. Routine use of software algorithms and alternative catheter designs and infusion parameters may improve the efficacy of drugs delivered by CED.