The clinical outcomes for patients undergoing resection of diffuse glioma within the middle frontal gyrus (MFG) are understudied. Anatomically, the MFG is richly interconnected to known language areas, and nearby subcortical fibers are at risk during resection. The goal of this study was to determine the functional outcomes and intraoperative mapping results related to resection of MFG gliomas. Additionally, the study aimed to evaluate if subcortical tract disruption on imaging correlated with functional outcomes.
The authors performed a retrospective review of 39 patients with WHO grade II–IV diffuse gliomas restricted to only the MFG and underlying subcortical region that were treated with resection and had no prior treatment. Intraoperative mapping results and postoperative neurological deficits by discharge and 90 days were assessed. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography was used to assess subcortical tract integrity on pre- and postoperative imaging.
The mean age of the cohort was 37.9 years at surgery, and the median follow-up was 5.1 years. The mean extent of resection was 98.9% for the cohort. Of the 39 tumors, 24 were left sided (61.5%). Thirty-six patients (92.3%) underwent intraoperative mapping, with 59% of patients undergoing an awake craniotomy. No patients had positive cortical mapping sites overlying the tumor, and 12 patients (33.3%) had positive subcortical stimulation sites. By discharge, 8 patients had language dysfunction, and 5 patients had mild weakness. By 90 days, 2 patients (5.1%) had persistent mild hand weakness only. There were no persistent language deficits by 90 days. On univariate analysis, preoperative tumor size (p = 0.0001), positive subcortical mapping (p = 0.03), preoperative tumor invasion of neighboring subcortical tracts on DTI tractography (p = 0.0003), and resection cavity interruption of subcortical tracts on DTI tractography (p < 0.0001) were associated with an increased risk of having a postoperative deficit by discharge. There were no instances of complete subcortical tract transections in the cohort.
MFG diffuse gliomas may undergo extensive resection with minimal risk for long-term morbidity. Partial subcortical tract interruption may lead to transient but not permanent deficits. Subcortical mapping is essential to reduce permanent morbidity during resection of MFG tumors by avoiding complete transection of critical subcortical tracts.