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Scheherazade Le, Viet Nguyen, Leslie Lee, S. Charles Cho, Carmen Malvestio, Eric Jones, Robert Dodd, Gary Steinberg, and Jaime López

OBJECTIVE

Brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs) often require resection due to their aggressive natural history causing hemorrhage and progressive neurological deficits. The authors report a novel intraoperative neuromonitoring technique of direct brainstem somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) for functional mapping intended to help guide surgery and subsequently prevent and minimize postoperative sensory deficits.

METHODS

Between 2013 and 2019 at the Stanford University Hospital, intraoperative direct brainstem stimulation of primary somatosensory pathways was attempted in 11 patients with CMs. Stimulation identified nucleus fasciculus, nucleus cuneatus, medial lemniscus, or safe corridors for incisions. SSEPs were recorded from standard scalp subdermal electrodes. Stimulation intensities required to evoke potentials ranged from 0.3 to 3.0 mA or V.

RESULTS

There were a total of 1 midbrain, 6 pontine, and 4 medullary CMs—all with surrounding hemorrhage. In 7/11 cases, brainstem SSEPs were recorded and reproducible. In cases 1 and 11, peripheral median nerve and posterior tibial nerve stimulations did not produce reliable SSEPs but direct brainstem stimulation did. In 4/11 cases, stimulation around the areas of hemosiderin did not evoke reliable SSEPs. The direct brainstem SSEP technique allowed the surgeon to find safe corridors to incise the brainstem and resect the lesions.

CONCLUSIONS

Direct stimulation of brainstem sensory structures with successful recording of scalp SSEPs is feasible at low stimulation intensities. This innovative technique can help the neurosurgeon clarify distorted anatomy, identify safer incision sites from which to evacuate clots and CMs, and may help reduce postoperative neurological deficits. The technique needs further refinement, but could potentially be useful to map other brainstem lesions.

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Haiyan Wang, Shanbao Cai, Barbara J. Bailey, M. Reza Saadatzadeh, Jixin Ding, Eva Tonsing-Carter, Taxiarchis M. Georgiadis, T. Zachary Gunter, Eric C. Long, Robert E. Minto, Kevin R. Gordon, Stephanie E. Sen, Wenjing Cai, Jacob A. Eitel, David L. Waning, Lauren R. Bringman, Clark D. Wells, Mary E. Murray, Jann N. Sarkaria, Lawrence M. Gelbert, David R. Jones, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Lindsey D. Mayo, Harlan E. Shannon, and Karen E. Pollok

OBJECTIVE

Improvement in treatment outcome for patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) requires a multifaceted approach due to dysregulation of numerous signaling pathways. The murine double minute 2 (MDM2) protein may fulfill this requirement because it is involved in the regulation of growth, survival, and invasion. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of modulating MDM2 function in combination with front-line temozolomide (TMZ) therapy in GBM.

METHODS

The combination of TMZ with the MDM2 protein–protein interaction inhibitor nutlin3a was evaluated for effects on cell growth, p53 pathway activation, expression of DNA repair proteins, and invasive properties. In vivo efficacy was assessed in xenograft models of human GBM.

RESULTS

In combination, TMZ/nutlin3a was additive to synergistic in decreasing growth of wild-type p53 GBM cells. Pharmacodynamic studies demonstrated that inhibition of cell growth following exposure to TMZ/nutlin3a correlated with: 1) activation of the p53 pathway, 2) downregulation of DNA repair proteins, 3) persistence of DNA damage, and 4) decreased invasion. Pharmacokinetic studies indicated that nutlin3a was detected in human intracranial tumor xenografts. To assess therapeutic potential, efficacy studies were conducted in a xenograft model of intracranial GBM by using GBM cells derived from a recurrent wild-type p53 GBM that is highly TMZ resistant (GBM10). Three 5-day cycles of TMZ/nutlin3a resulted in a significant increase in the survival of mice with GBM10 intracranial tumors compared with single-agent therapy.

CONCLUSIONS

Modulation of MDM2/p53-associated signaling pathways is a novel approach for decreasing TMZ resistance in GBM. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study in a humanized intracranial patient-derived xenograft model to demonstrate the efficacy of combining front-line TMZ therapy and an inhibitor of MDM2 protein–protein interactions.