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Ayesha Sunil Mirchandani, Ahmad Beyh, José Pedro Lavrador, Henrietta Howells, Flavio Dell’Acqua and Francesco Vergani

OBJECTIVE

This prospective case-control study was conducted to examine whether spherical deconvolution (SD) can unveil microstructural abnormalities in the corticospinal tract (CST) caused by IDH-mutant gliomas. To determine the significance of abnormal microstructure, the authors investigated the correlation between diffusion parameters and neurophysiological data collected with navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS).

METHODS

Twenty participants (10 patients and 10 healthy controls) were recruited. Diffusion-weighted images were acquired on a 3-T MRI scanner using a cardiac-gated single-shot spin echo echo-planar imaging multiband sequence (TE 80 msec, TR 4000 msec) along 90 diffusion directions with a b-value of 2500 sec/mm2 (FOV 256 × 256 mm). Diffusion tensor imaging tractography and SD tractography were performed with deterministic tracking. The anterior portion of the ipsilateral superior peduncle and the precentral gyrus were used as regions of interest to delineate the CST. Diffusion indices were extracted and analyzed for significant differences between hemispheres in patients and between patient and control groups. A navigated brain stimulation system was used to deliver TMS pulses at hotspots at which motor evoked potentials (MEPs) for the abductor pollicis brevis, first digital interosseous, and abductor digiti minimi muscles are best elicited in patients and healthy controls. Functional measurements such as resting motor threshold (rMT), amplitude of MEPs, and latency of MEPs were noted. Significant differences between hemispheres in patients and between patients and controls were statistically analyzed. The Spearman rank correlation was used to investigate correlations between diffusion indices and functional measurements.

RESULTS

The hindrance modulated orientational anisotropy (HMOA), measured with SD tractography, is lower in the hemisphere ipsilateral to glioma (p = 0.028). The rMT in the hemisphere ipsilateral to a glioma is significantly greater than that in the contralateral hemisphere (p = 0.038). All measurements contralateral to the glioma, except for the mean amplitude of MEPs (p = 0.001), are similar to those of healthy controls. Mean diffusivity and axial diffusivity from SD tractography are positively correlated with rMT in the hemisphere ipsilateral to glioma (p = 0.02 and 0.006, respectively). The interhemispheric difference in HMOA and rMT is correlated in glioma patients (p = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS

SD tractography can demonstrate microstructural abnormality within the CST of patients with IDH1-mutant gliomas that correlates to the functional abnormality measured with nTMS.

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Marco Rossi, Marco Conti Nibali, Luca Viganò, Guglielmo Puglisi, Henrietta Howells, Lorenzo Gay, Tommaso Sciortino, Antonella Leonetti, Marco Riva, Luca Fornia, Gabriella Cerri and Lorenzo Bello

OBJECTIVE

Brain mapping techniques allow one to effectively approach tumors involving the primary motor cortex (M1). Tumor resectability and maintenance of patient integrity depend on the ability to successfully identify motor tracts during resection by choosing the most appropriate neurophysiological paradigm for motor mapping. Mapping with a high-frequency (HF) stimulation technique has emerged as the most efficient tool to identify motor tracts because of its versatility in different clinical settings. At present, few data are available on the use of HF for removal of tumors predominantly involving M1.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed a series of 102 patients with brain tumors within M1, by reviewing the use of HF as a guide. The neurophysiological protocols adopted during resections were described and correlated with patients’ clinical and tumor imaging features. Feasibility of mapping, extent of resection, and motor function assessment were used to evaluate the oncological and functional outcome to be correlated with the selected neurophysiological parameters used for guiding resection. The study aimed to define the most efficient protocol to guide resection for each clinical condition.

RESULTS

The data confirmed HF as an efficient tool for guiding resection of M1 tumors, affording 85.3% complete resection and only 2% permanent morbidity. HF was highly versatile, adapting the stimulation paradigm and the probe to the clinical context. Three approaches were used. The first was a “standard approach” (HF “train of 5,” using a monopolar probe) applied in 51 patients with no motor deficit and seizure control, harboring a well-defined tumor, showing contrast enhancement in most cases, and reaching the M1 surface. Complete resection was achieved in 72.5%, and 2% had permanent morbidity. The second approach was an “increased train approach,” that is, an increase in the number of pulses (7–9) and of pulse duration, using a monopolar probe. This second approach was applied in 8 patients with a long clinical history, previous treatment (surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy), motor deficit at admission, poor seizure control, and mostly high-grade gliomas or metastases. Complete resection was achieved in 87.5% using this approach, along with 0% permanent morbidity. The final approach was a “reduced train approach,” which was the combined use of train of 2 or train of 1 pulses associated with the standard approach, using a monopolar or bipolar probe. This approach was used in 43 patients with a long clinical history and poorly controlled seizures, harboring tumors with irregular borders without contrast enhancement (low or lower grade), possibly not reaching the cortical surface. Complete resection was attained in 88.4%, and permanent morbidity was found in 2.3%.

CONCLUSIONS

Resection of M1 tumors is feasible and safe. By adapting the stimulation paradigm and probe appropriately to the clinical context, the best resection and functional results can be achieved.

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Marco Rossi, Federico Ambrogi, Lorenzo Gay, Marcello Gallucci, Marco Conti Nibali, Antonella Leonetti, Guglielmo Puglisi, Tommaso Sciortino, Henrietta Howells, Marco Riva, Federico Pessina, Pierina Navarria, Ciro Franzese, Matteo Simonelli, Roberta Rudà and Lorenzo Bello

OBJECTIVE

Surgery for low-grade gliomas (LGGs) aims to achieve maximal tumor removal and maintenance of patients’ functional integrity. Because extent of resection is one of the factors affecting the natural history of LGGs, surgery could be extended further than total resection toward a supratotal resection, beyond tumor borders detectable on FLAIR imaging. Supratotal resection is highly debated, mainly due to a lack of evidence of its feasibility and safety. The authors explored the intraoperative feasibility of supratotal resection and its short- and long-term impact on functional integrity in a large cohort of patients. The role of some putative factors in the achievement of supratotal resection was also studied.

METHODS

Four hundred forty-nine patients with a presumptive radiological diagnosis of LGG consecutively admitted to the neurosurgical oncology service at the University of Milan over a 5-year period were enrolled. In all patients, a policy was adopted to perform surgery according to functional boundaries, aimed at achieving a supratotal resection whenever possible, without any patient or tumor a priori selection. Feasibility, general safety, and tumor or patient putative factors possibly affecting the achievement of a supratotal resection were analyzed. Postsurgical patient functional performance was evaluated in five cognitive domains (memory, language, praxis, executive functions, and fluid intelligence) using a detailed neuropsychological evaluation and quality of life (QOL) examination.

RESULTS

Total resection was feasible in 40.8% of patients, and supratotal resection in 32.3%. The achievement of a supratotal versus total resection was independent of age, sex, education, tumor volume, deep extension, location, handedness, appearance of tumor border, vicinity to eloquent sites, surgical mapping time, or surgical tools applied. Supratotal resection was associated with a long clinical history and histological grade II, suggesting that reshaping of brain networks occurred. Although a consistent amount of apparently MRI-normal brain was removed with this approach, the procedure was safe and did not carry additional risk to the patient, as demonstrated by detailed neuropsychological evaluation and QOL examination. This approach also improved seizure control.

CONCLUSIONS

Supratotal resection is feasible and safe in routine clinical practice. These results show that a long clinical history may be the main factor associated with its achievement.