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Elizabeth Fabre, Rémy Guillevin, Fabrice Chretien, Caroline Le Guerinel and Hugues Duffau

✓ Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs) are aggressive neoplasms composed predominantly of undifferentiated cells that show evidence of neural differentiation. Although their classification remains disputed, PNETs are recognized as primary tumors in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. These rare tumors usually occur in children or young adults and are typically metastatic to the spinal cord. The authors report the case of a 70-year-old man with no significant medical history, in whom a peripheral PNET was demonstrated that, based on clinical and imaging findings, manifested as a nonspecific intrathecal tumoral process arising from the cauda equina. Although this lesion is rare in the elderly, the authors’ case illustrates the importance of making this diagnosis as early as possible so that a treatment plan may be devised. The use of chemotherapy in association with radiotherapy in relation to the resection of the tumor should be reconsidered.

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Dominique Renier, Vincent El Ghouzzi, Jacky Bonaventure, Martine Le Merrer and Elizabeth Lajeunie

Object. A recurrent point mutation in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 gene that converts proline 250 into arginine has been reported recently in cases of apparently nonsyndromic coronal craniosynostosis. The goal of the present study was to examine the phenotype of patients in whom this mutation was present, to determine the prevalence of the condition, and to assess the functional and the morphological outcome of the surgically treated patients.

Methods. A DNA analysis was performed in 103 children suffering from apparently isolated coronal synostosis, 41 of whom had bilateral and 62 of whom had unilateral disease. There were 31 boys and 72 girls in the study group. Sixty cases were sporadic and 43 were familial; the 43 familial cases arose in 33 unrelated families. The mutation was found in seven (12%) of 60 sporadic cases and in 24 (73%) of the 33 families. The functional and morphological results were assessed in all surgically treated patients who had at least 1 year of follow up and who were at least 3 years of age at the time of assessment. A comparison was made between patients with the mutation and those without.

Conclusions. The most typical presentation was seen in girls and consisted of a bicoronal synostosis resulting in a severe brachycephaly associated with mild hypertelorism and marked bulging of the temporal fossae, which resulted in a huge enlargement of the upper part of the face. The most frequently associated extracranial anomaly was brachydactyly, identified either clinically or radiologically. Based on the proportion of bilateral and unilateral coronal synostoses, the present data indicate that the mutation is associated with more severe cases and that girls with the mutation are more severely affected than boys. The functional and morphological results were worse in patients in whom the mutation was present as compared with those in whom it was not.

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Elizabeth Le, Bizhan Aarabi, David S. Hersh, Kathirkamanthan Shanmuganathan, Cara Diaz, Jennifer Massetti and Noori Akhtar-Danesh

OBJECT

Studies of preclinical spinal cord injury (SCI) in rodents indicate that expansion of intramedullary lesions (IMLs) seen on MR images may be amenable to neuroprotection. In patients with subaxial SCI and motor-complete American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale (AIS) Grade A or B, IML expansion has been shown to be approximately 900 μm/hour. In this study, the authors investigated IML expansion in a cohort of patients with subaxial SCI and AIS Grade A, B, C, or D.

METHODS

Seventy-eight patients who had at least 2 MRI scans within 6 days of SCI were enrolled. Data were analyzed by regression analysis.

RESULTS

In this cohort, the mean age was 45.3 years (SD 18.3 years), 73 patients were injured in a motor vehicle crash, from a fall, or in sport activities, and 77% of them were men. The mean Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 26.7 (SD 16.7), and the AIS grade was A in 23 patients, B in 7, C in 7, and D in 41. The mechanism of injury was distraction in 26 patients, compression in 22, disc/osteophyte complex in 29, and Chance fracture in 1. The mean time between injury onset and the first MRI scan (Interval 1) was 10 hours (SD 8.7 hours), and the mean time to the second MRI scan (Interval 2) was 60 hours (SD 29.6 hours). The mean IML lengths of the first and second MR images were 38.8 mm (SD 20.4 mm) and 51 mm (SD 36.5 mm), respectively. The mean time from the first to the second MRI scan (Interval 3) was 49.9 hours (SD 28.4 hours), and the difference in IML lengths was 12.6 mm (SD 20.7 mm), reflecting an expansion rate of 366 μm/ hour (SD 710 μm/hour). IML expansion in patients with AIS Grades A and B was 918 μm/hour (SD 828 μm/hour), and for those with AIS Grades C and D, it was 21 μm/hour (SD 304 μm/hour). Univariate analysis indicated that AIS Grade A or B versus Grades C or D (p < 0.0001), traction (p= 0.0005), injury morphology (p < 0.005), the surgical approach (p= 0.009), vertebral artery injury (p= 0.02), age (p < 0.05), ISS (p < 0.05), ASIA motor score (p < 0.05), and time to decompression (p < 0.05) were all predictors of lesion expansion. In multiple regression analysis, however, the sole determinant of IML expansion was AIS grade (p < 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS

After traumatic subaxial cervical spine or spinal cord injury, patients with motor-complete injury (AIS Grade A or B) had a significantly higher rate of IML expansion than those with motor-incomplete injury (AIS Grade C or D).