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Eric Marmor, Laurence D. Rhines, Jeffrey S. Weinberg and Ziya L. Gokaslan

✓ The authors describe a technique for total en bloc spondylectomy that can be used for lesions involving the lumbar spine. The technique involves a combined anterior—posterior approach and takes into account the unique anatomy of the lumbar spine. This technique allows for the en bloc resection of lumbar vertebral tumors, thus optimizing outcome while minimizing the risk of neurological injury. The technique is described in detail with the aid of neuroimaging studies, photographs of gross pathological specimens, and illustrations, and a discussion of other authors' experiences is provided for comparison.

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Ben A. Strickland, Ian E. McCutcheon, Indro Chakrabarti, Laurence D. Rhines and Jeffrey S. Weinberg

OBJECTIVE

Metastasis to the spinal cord is rare, and optimal management of this disease is unclear. The authors investigated this issue by analyzing the results of surgical treatment of spinal intramedullary metastasis (IM) at a major cancer center.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 13 patients who underwent surgery for IM. Patients had renal cell carcinoma (n = 4), breast carcinoma (n = 3), melanoma (n = 2), non–small cell lung cancer (n = 1), sarcoma (n = 1), adenoid cystic carcinoma (n = 1), and cervical cancer (n = 1). Cerebrospinal fluid was collected before surgery in 11 patients, and was negative for malignant cells, as was MRI of the neuraxis. Eleven patients presented with neurological function equivalent to Frankel Grade D.

RESULTS

Radiographic gross-total resection was achieved in 9 patients, and tumor eventually recurred locally in 3 of those 9 (33%). Leptomeningeal disease was diagnosed in 4 patients after surgery. In the immediate postoperative period, neurological function in 6 patients deteriorated to Frankel Grade C. At 2 months, only 2 patients remained at Grade C, 8 were at Grade D, and 1 had improved to Grade E. One patient developed postoperative hematoma resulting in Frankel Grade A. Radiotherapy was delivered in 8 patients postoperatively. The median survival after spine surgery was 6.5 months. Three patients are still living.

CONCLUSIONS

Surgery was performed as a last option to preserve neurological function in patients with IM. In most patients, neurological function returned during the immediate postoperative period and was preserved for the patients’ remaining lifetime. The data suggest that surgery can be effective in preventing further decline in selected patients with progressive neurological deficit.

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Vikram V. Nayar, Rod Foroozan, Jeffrey S. Weinberg and Daniel Yoshor

Various transcortical approaches have been described for the resection of tumors that lie in the atrium of the lateral ventricle. An approach through the middle temporal gyrus has a short trajectory to the atrium and can grant early access to the tumor's blood supply, but it typically results in damage to the optic radiations that course lateral to the atrium. Anatomical studies have suggested that an approach inferior to the inferior temporal sulcus would avoid traversing through the optic radiations. The authors describe 2 cases of meningioma in the atrium that were exposed and resected through an incision in the inferior temporal gyrus. They provide data from neuroophthalmological testing that shows full preservation of the visual fields with this approach.

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Sherise D. Ferguson, Nicholas B. Levine, Dima Suki, Andrew J. Tsung, Fredrick F. Lang, Raymond Sawaya, Jeffrey S. Weinberg and Ian E. McCutcheon

OBJECTIVE

Fourth ventricle tumors are rare, and surgical series are typically small, comprising a single pathology, or focused exclusively on pediatric populations. This study investigated surgical outcome and complications following fourth ventricle tumor resection in a diverse patient population. This is the largest cohort of fourth ventricle tumors described in the literature to date.

METHODS

This is an 18-year (1993–2010) retrospective review of 55 cases involving patients undergoing surgery for tumors of the fourth ventricle. Data included patient demographic characteristics, pathological and radiographic tumor characteristics, and surgical factors (approach, surgical adjuncts, extent of resection, etc.). The neurological and medical complications following resection were collected and outcomes at 30 days, 90 days, 6 months, and 1 year were reviewed to determine patient recovery. Patient, tumor, and surgical factors were analyzed to determine factors associated with the frequently encountered postoperative neurological complications.

RESULTS

There were no postoperative deaths. Gross-total resection was achieved in 75% of cases. Forty-five percent of patients experienced at least 1 major neurological complication, while 31% had minor complications only. New or worsening gait/focal motor disturbance (56%), speech/swallowing deficits (38%), and cranial nerve deficits (31%) were the most common neurological deficits in the immediate postoperative period. Of these, cranial nerve deficits were the least likely to resolve at follow-up. Multivariate analysis showed that patients undergoing a transvermian approach had a higher incidence of postoperative cranial nerve deficits, gait disturbance, and speech/swallowing deficits than those treated with a telovelar approach. The use of surgical adjuncts (intraoperative navigation, neurophysiological monitoring) did not significantly affect neurological outcome. Twenty-two percent of patients required postoperative CSF diversion following tumor resection. Patients who required intraoperative ventriculostomy, those undergoing a transvermian approach, and pediatric patients (< 18 years old) were all more likely to require postoperative CSF diversion. Twenty percent of patients suffered at least 1 medical complication following tumor resection. Most complications were respiratory, with the most common being postoperative respiratory failure (14%), followed by pneumonia (13%).

CONCLUSIONS

The occurrence of complications after fourth ventricle tumor surgery is not rare. Postoperative neurological sequelae were frequent, but a substantial number of patients had neurological improvement at long-term followup. Of the neurological complications analyzed, postoperative cranial nerve deficits were the least likely to completely resolve at follow-up. Of all the patient, tumor, and surgical variables included in the analysis, surgical approach had the most significant impact on neurological morbidity, with the telovelar approach being associated with less morbidity.

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Dima Suki, Hiba Abouassi, Akash J. Patel, Raymond Sawaya, Jeffrey S. Weinberg and Morris D. Groves

Object

The authors tested the hypothesis that patients with metastatic posterior fossa lesions (MPFLs) treated with resection have a higher risk of leptomeningeal disease (LMD) than those with MPFLs treated with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

Methods

Between 1993 and 2004, 379 patients with MPFLs were treated with resection or SRS at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The authors' primary study outcome was the incidence of LMD, as diagnosed with cerebrospinal fluid cytological analysis and/or neuroimaging.

Results

Resection was performed in 260 patients, whereas 119 patients underwent SRS. The median patient age was 56 years, 51% of patients were male, and 93% had a Karnofsky Performance Scale score $ 70. The most common primary cancers were those of the lung, breast, and kidney, as well as melanoma. Leptomeningeal dissemination of cancer occurred in 33 patients: 26 in the resection group and 7 in the SRS group (resection group: rate ratio [RR] 2.06, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.89–4.75, p = 0.09). Piecemeal tumor resection (137 cases) was associated with a significantly higher risk of LMD than en bloc resection (123 cases; RR 3.4, 95% CI 1.43–8.12, p = 0.006) or SRS (RR 3.37, 95% CI 1.41–8.04, p = 0.006), and there was no significant difference in the risk for LMD between en bloc resection and SRS (en bloc resection: RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.34–2.81, p = 0.98). The multivariate RR and significance associated with piecemeal resection, however, were consistent, with a strong effect (RR 2.45, 95% CI 1.19–5.02, p = 0.02) and no indication of biases associated with tumor size, location, or cystic/necrotic appearance.

Conclusions

There is an increased risk of LMD after piecemeal resection of an MPFL. This increase, although clinically and statistically significant, is not as alarming as previously reported and is absent when en bloc removal is achieved. Further assessment of the role of resection in a controlled prospective setting is warranted.

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Xiang Y. Han, Jeffrey S. Weinberg, Sujit S. Prabhu, Samuel J. Hassenbusch, Gregory N. Fuller, Jeffrey J. Tarrand and Dimitrios P. Kontoyiannis

Object. The cases of five patients with fusobacterial brain abscess are presented. The authors discuss their attempt to determine the pathogenesis.

Methods. The clinical and microbiological features of five cases of fusobacterial brain abscess are reviewed. Isolates of 2031 Fusobacterium spp. and other anaerobes collected (1989–2002) at our institution were analyzed and compared for incidences and isolation sources. The findings were correlated with extensive literature on the subject.

The five patients were men between 45 and 74 years of age. All experienced an insidious onset of the disease and probable hematogenous seeding of the organism(s). One patient had a monomicrobic Fusobacterium necrophorum abscess, whereas the others had polymicrobic F. nucleatum abscesses. Despite surgery and a regimen of antibiotic medications and dexamethasone, three patients experienced a paradoxical deterioration 3 days postoperatively that necessitated reevacuation of the lesion. The evacuants observed at that time contained numerous leukocytes but no microorganisms, suggesting intensified inflammation as the likely cause of deterioration. This explanation is supported by literature that fusobacteria strongly activate neutrophils. An analysis of the 2031 anaerobes from blood, wounds, and abscesses showed the considerable virulence of Fusobacterium spp., which were able to enter and/or sustain themselves in the blood circulation. This pattern was similar to that of Clostridium spp., but different from those of Peptostreptococcus spp., Bacteroides spp., and Prevotella spp., which were less invasive but more abundant.

Conclusions. Some fusobacterial brain abscesses may be associated with a paradoxical postoperative deterioration, which is probably due to intensified inflammation following treatment. The blood-borne dissemination and invasive behavior of fusobacteria likely initiate such a brain abscess, and further seeding of other synergic bacteria leads to a polymicrobic abscess.

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Claudio E. Tatsui, R. Jason Stafford, Jing Li, Jonathan N. Sellin, Behrang Amini, Ganesh Rao, Dima Suki, Amol J. Ghia, Paul Brown, Sun-Ho Lee, Charles E. Cowles, Jeffrey S. Weinberg and Laurence D. Rhines

OBJECT

High-grade malignant spinal cord compression is commonly managed with a combination of surgery aimed at removing the epidural tumor, followed by spinal stereotactic radiosurgery (SSRS) aimed at local tumor control. The authors here introduce the use of spinal laser interstitial thermotherapy (SLITT) as an alternative to surgery prior to SSRS.

METHODS

Patients with a high degree of epidural malignant compression due to radioresistant tumors were selected for study. Visual analog scale (VAS) scores for pain and quality of life were obtained before and within 30 and 60 days after treatment. A laser probe was percutaneously placed in the epidural space. Real-time thermal MRI was used to monitor tissue damage in the region of interest. All patients received postoperative SSRS. The maximum thickness of the epidural tumor was measured, and the degree of epidural spinal cord compression (ESCC) was scored in pre- and postprocedure MRI.

RESULTS

In the 11 patients eligible for study, the mean VAS score for pain decreased from 6.18 in the preoperative period to 4.27 within 30 days and 2.8 within 60 days after the procedure. A similar VAS interrogating the percentage of quality of life demonstrated improvement from 60% preoperatively to 70% within both 30 and 60 days after treatment. Imaging follow-up 2 months after the procedure demonstrated a significant reduction in the mean thickness of the epidural tumor from 8.82 mm (95% CI 7.38–10.25) before treatment to 6.36 mm (95% CI 4.65–8.07) after SLITT and SSRS (p = 0.0001). The median preoperative ESCC Grade 2 was scored as 4, which was significantly higher than the score of 2 for Grade 1b (p = 0.04) on imaging follow-up 2 months after the procedure.

CONCLUTIONS

The authors present the first report on an innovative minimally invasive alternative to surgery in the management of spinal metastasis. In their early experience, SLITT has provided local control with low morbidity and improvement in both pain and the quality of life of patients.

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Adam S. Wu, Victoria T. Trinh, Dima Suki, Susan Graham, Arthur Forman, Jeffrey S. Weinberg, Ian E. McCutcheon, Sujit S. Prabhu, Amy B. Heimberger, Raymond Sawaya, Xuemei Wang, Wei Qiao, Kenneth R. Hess and Frederick F. Lang

Object

Seizures are a potentially devastating complication of resection of brain tumors. Consequently, many neurosurgeons administer prophylactic antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in the perioperative period. However, it is currently unclear whether perioperative AEDs should be routinely administered to patients with brain tumors who have never had a seizure. Therefore, the authors conducted a prospective, randomized trial examining the use of phenytoin for postoperative seizure prophylaxis in patients undergoing resection for supratentorial brain metastases or gliomas.

Methods

Patients with brain tumors (metastases or gliomas) who did not have seizures and who were undergoing craniotomy for tumor resection were randomized to receive either phenytoin for 7 days after tumor resection (prophylaxis group) or no seizure prophylaxis (observation group). Phenytoin levels were monitored daily. Primary outcomes were seizures and adverse events. Using an estimated seizure incidence of 30% in the observation arm and 10% in the prophylaxis arm, a Type I error of 0.05 and a Type II error of 0.20, a target accrual of 142 patients (71 per arm) was planned.

Results

The trial was closed before completion of accrual because Bayesian predictive probability analyses performed by an independent data monitoring committee indicated a probability of 0.003 that at the end of the study prophylaxis would prove superior to observation and a probability of 0.997 that there would be insufficient evidence at the end of the trial to choose either arm as superior. At the time of trial closure, 123 patients (77 metastases and 46 gliomas) were randomized, with 62 receiving 7-day phenytoin (prophylaxis group) and 61 receiving no prophylaxis (observation group). The incidence of all seizures was 18% in the observation group and 24% in the prophylaxis group (p = 0.51). Importantly, the incidence of early seizures (< 30 days after surgery) was 8% in the observation group compared with 10% in the prophylaxis group (p = 1.0). Likewise, the incidence of clinically significant early seizures was 3% in the observation group and 2% in the prophylaxis group (p = 0.62). The prophylaxis group experienced significantly more adverse events (18% vs 0%, p < 0.01). Therapeutic phenytoin levels were maintained in 80% of patients.

Conclusions

The incidence of seizures after surgery for brain tumors is low (8% [95% CI 3%–18%]) even without prophylactic AEDs, and the incidence of clinically significant seizures is even lower (3%). In contrast, routine phenytoin administration is associated with significant drug-related morbidity. Although the lower-than-anticipated incidence of seizures in the control group significantly limited the power of the study, the low baseline rate of perioperative seizures in patients with brain tumors raises concerns about the routine use of prophylactic phenytoin in this patient population.

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Anita Mahajan, Ian E. McCutcheon, Dima Suki, Eric L. Chang, Samuel J. Hassenbusch, Jeffrey S. Weinberg, Almon Shiu, Moshe H. Maor and Shiao Y. Woo

Object. The role of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) was evaluated in a case—control study.

Methods. All patients who underwent SRS for recurrent GBM before March 2003 formed the case group. A control group of patients who did not undergo SRS was created from an institutional database, and each case was matched for known prognostic factors in GBM. The medical and neuroimaging records of all the patients were reviewed, and survival and treatment outcomes were recorded.

The case and control groups were well matched with regard to demographics and pre-SRS interventions. In the control group, the date on which magnetic resonance imaging identified a recurrent lesion that would have been eligible for SRS was deemed the “SRS” date. The number of surgeries performed in the control group was statistically higher than that in the case group. The median duration of overall survival from diagnosis was 26 months in the case group and 23 months in the control group. From the date of SRS or “SRS”, the median duration of survival was 11 months in the case group and 10 months in the control group, a difference that was not statistically significant.

Conclusions. It appears that a subgroup of patients with GBMs has a higher than expected median survival duration despite the initial prognostic factors. In patients with localized recurrences, survival may be prolonged by applying aggressive local disease management by using either SRS or resection to equal advantage.

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Eric L. Chang, Almon S. Shiu, Ehud Mendel, Leni A. Mathews, Anita Mahajan, Pamela K. Allen, Jeffrey S. Weinberg, Barry W. Brown, Xin Shelly Wang, Shiao Y. Woo, Charles Cleeland, Moshe H. Maor and Laurence D. Rhines

Object.

The authors report data concerning the safety, effectiveness, and patterns of failure obtained in a Phase I/II study of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for spinal metastatic tumors.

Methods.

Sixty-three cancer patients underwent near-simultaneous computed tomography–guided SBRT. Spinal magnetic resonance imaging was conducted at baseline and at each follow-up visit. The National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria 2.0 assessments were used to evaluate toxicity.

Results.

The median tumor volume of 74 spinal metastatic lesions was 37.4 cm3 (range 1.6–358 cm3). No neuropathy or myelopathy was observed during a median follow-up period of 21.3 months (range 0.9–49.6 months). The actuarial 1-year tumor progression–free incidence was 84% for all tumors. Pattern-of-failure analysis showed two primary mechanisms of failure: 1) recurrence in the bone adjacent to the site of previous treatment, and 2) recurrence in the epidural space adjacent to the spinal cord. Grade 3 or 4 toxicities were limited to acute Grade 3 nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (one case); Grade 3 dysphagia and trismus (one case); and Grade 3 noncardiac chest pain (one case). There was no subacute or late Grade 3 or 4 toxicity.

Conclusions.

Analysis of the data obtained in the present study supports the safety and effectiveness of SBRT in cases of spinal metastatic cancer. The authors consider it prudent to routinely treat the pedicles and posterior elements using a wide bone margin posterior to the diseased vertebrae because of the possible direct extension into these structures. For patients without a history of radiotherapy, more liberal spinal cord dose constraints than those used in this study could be applied to help reduce failures in the epidural space.