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Giriraj K. Sharma, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, Timothy D. Uschold and Nicholas Theodore

Neuroblastoma-like schwannoma is a rare nerve sheath tumor with histological features resembling a neuroblastoma. A comprehensive literature review identified only 10 previous case reports of this condition. The authors present the first reported case of a neuroblastoma-like schwannoma at a spinal nerve root. The patient, a 61-year-old woman, presented with severe pain in the right lower extremity that failed to resolve after conservative management. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an intradural enhancing lesion extending out of the right neural foramen at L1–2. A right L1–2 hemilaminectomy and facetectomy with gross-total resection of the tumor was performed without complications. Neuroblastoma-like schwannoma was diagnosed based on histopathological examination of the biopsied tumor specimen. A postoperative course of serial examination and imaging was chosen based on a suspected benign postoperative course as in the case of a completely resected schwannoma. The authors present the novel case of neuroblastoma-like schwannoma at a lumbar spinal nerve root and describe the distinguishing pathological features of this rare lesion.

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Jennifer Eschbacher, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Peter Nakaji, Nader Sanai, Mark C. Preul, Kris A. Smith, Stephen W. Coons and Robert F. Spetzler

Object

Frozen-section analysis is the current standard for the intraoperative diagnosis of brain tumors. Intraoperative confocal microscopy is an emerging technology with the potential to visualize tumor histopathological features and cell morphology in real time. The authors report their findings using this new intraoperative technology in vivo with sodium fluorescein contrast during the course of 50 microsurgical tumor resections.

Methods

Eighty-eight regions were visualized with confocal microscopy, and corresponding biopsy samples were examined with routine neuropathological analysis. The tumors studied included meningiomas, schwannomas, gliomas of various grades, and a hemangioblastoma. The confocal microscopic features of each tumor and of various artifacts inherent to the technology were documented. A pathologist working in a blinded fashion reviewed a subset of the images in a further evaluation of the usefulness of the device as a diagnostic tool.

Results

Overall, intraoperative confocal imaging correlated surprisingly well with corresponding traditional histological findings, including the identification of many pathognomonic cytoarchitectural features of various brain tumors. In the blinded study, 26 (92.9%) of 28 lesions were diagnosed correctly.

Conclusions

Further study will be necessary for better definition of the role of intraoperative confocal microscopy as a routine adjunct for intraoperative brain tumor diagnosis.

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L. Fernando Gonzalez, Gregory P. Lekovic, Jennifer Eschbacher, Stephen Coons, Randall W. Porter and Robert F. Spetzler

✓Cavernous hemangiomas that occur within the cavernous sinus (CS) are different from cerebral cavernous malformations (CMs) clinically, on imaging studies, and in their response to treatment. Moreover, CMs are true vascular malformations, whereas hemangiomas are benign vascular tumors. Because of these differences, the authors suggest that these two entities be analyzed and grouped separately. Unfortunately, despite these differences, much confusion exists in the literature as to the nature, behavior, and classification of these two distinct lesions. This confusion is exacerbated by subtle histological differences and the inconsistent use of nomenclature. The authors use the term “cavernous malformation” to refer to intraaxial lesions only; they prefer to use the term “cavernous sinus hemangioma” to refer to extraaxial, intradural hemangiomas of the CS.

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Nader Sanai, Laura A. Snyder, Norissa J. Honea, Stephen W. Coons, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, Kris A. Smith and Robert F. Spetzler

Object

Greater extent of resection (EOR) for patients with low-grade glioma (LGG) corresponds with improved clinical outcome, yet remains a central challenge to the neurosurgical oncologist. Although 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA)–induced tumor fluorescence is a strategy that can improve EOR in gliomas, only glioblastomas routinely fluoresce following 5-ALA administration. Intraoperative confocal microscopy adapts conventional confocal technology to a handheld probe that provides real-time fluorescent imaging at up to 1000× magnification. The authors report a combined approach in which intraoperative confocal microscopy is used to visualize 5-ALA tumor fluorescence in LGGs during the course of microsurgical resection.

Methods

Following 5-ALA administration, patients with newly diagnosed LGG underwent microsurgical resection. Intraoperative confocal microscopy was conducted at the following points: 1) initial encounter with the tumor; 2) the midpoint of tumor resection; and 3) the presumed brain-tumor interface. Histopathological analysis of these sites correlated tumor infiltration with intraoperative cellular tumor fluorescence.

Results

Ten consecutive patients with WHO Grades I and II gliomas underwent microsurgical resection with 5-ALA and intraoperative confocal microscopy. Macroscopic tumor fluorescence was not evident in any patient. However, in each case, intraoperative confocal microscopy identified tumor fluorescence at a cellular level, a finding that corresponded to tumor infiltration on matched histological analyses.

Conclusions

Intraoperative confocal microscopy can visualize cellular 5-ALA–induced tumor fluorescence within LGGs and at the brain-tumor interface. To assess the clinical value of 5-ALA for high-grade gliomas in conjunction with neuronavigation, and for LGGs in combination with intraoperative confocal microscopy and neuronavigation, a Phase IIIa randomized placebo-controlled trial (BALANCE) is underway at the authors' institution.

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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Leandro Borba Moreira, Michael T. Lawton, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, Evgenii G. Belykh, Michelle M. Felicella and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

In the current neurosurgical and anatomical literature, the intracanalicular segment of the ophthalmic artery (OphA) is usually described to be within the optic nerve dural sheath (ONDS), implying direct contact between the nerve and the artery inside the optic canal. In the present study, the authors sought to clarify the exact relationship between the OphA and ONDS.

METHODS

Ten cadaveric heads were subjected to endoscopic endonasal and transcranial exposures of the OphA in the optic canal (5 for each approach). The relationship between the OphA and ONDS was assessed. Histological examination of one specimen of the optic nerve and the accompanying OphA was also performed to confirm the relationship with the ONDS.

RESULTS

In all specimens, the OphA coursed between the two layers of the dura (endosteal and meningeal) and was not in direct contact with the optic nerve, except for the first few millimeters of the proximal optic canal before it pierced the ONDS. Upon reaching the orbit, the two layers of the dura separated and allowed the OphA to literally float within the orbital fat. The meningeal dura continued as the ONDS, whereas the endosteal dura became the periorbita.

CONCLUSIONS

This study clarifies the interdural course of the OphA within the optic canal. This anatomical nuance has important neurosurgical implications regarding safe exposure and manipulation of the OphA.

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Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Joseph Georges, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, Daniel D. Cavalcanti, Ali M. Elhadi, Mohammed G. Abdelwahab, Adrienne C. Scheck, Peter Nakaji, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

Object

The authors sought to assess the feasibility of a handheld visible-wavelength confocal endomicroscope imaging system (Optiscan 5.1, Optiscan Pty., Ltd.) using a variety of rapid-acting fluorophores to provide histological information on gliomas, tumor margins, and normal brain in animal models.

Methods

Mice (n = 25) implanted with GL261 cells were used to image fluorescein sodium (FNa), 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), acridine orange (AO), acriflavine (AF), and cresyl violet (CV). A U251 glioma xenograft model in rats (n = 5) was used to image sulforhodamine 101 (SR101). A swine (n = 3) model with AO was used to identify confocal features of normal brain. Images of normal brain, obvious tumor, and peritumoral zones were collected using the handheld confocal endomicroscope. Histological samples were acquired through biopsies from matched imaging areas. Samples were visualized with a benchtop confocal microscope. Histopathological features in corresponding confocal images and photomicrographs of H & E–stained tissues were reviewed.

Results

Fluorescence induced by FNa, 5-ALA, AO, AF, CV, and SR101 and detected with the confocal endomicroscope allowed interpretation of histological features. Confocal endomicroscopy revealed satellite tumor cells within peritumoral tissue, a definitive tumor border, and striking fluorescent cellular and subcellular structures. Fluorescence in various tumor regions correlated with standard histology and known tissue architecture. Characteristic features of different areas of normal brain were identified as well.

Conclusions

Confocal endomicroscopy provided rapid histological information precisely related to the site of microscopic imaging with imaging characteristics of cells related to the unique labeling features of the fluorophores. Although experimental with further clinical trial validation required, these data suggest that intraoperative confocal imaging can help to distinguish normal brain from tumor and tumor margin and may have application in improving intraoperative decisions during resection of brain tumors.

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Sergiy V. Kushchayev, Morgan B. Giers, Doris Hom Eng, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, Martin M. Mortazavi, Nicholas Theodore, Alyssa Panitch and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

Spinal cord injury occurs in 2 phases. The initial trauma is followed by inflammation that leads to fibrous scar tissue, glial scarring, and cavity formation. Scarring causes further axon death around and above the injury. A reduction in secondary injury could lead to functional improvement. In this study, hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogels were implanted into the gap formed in the hemisected spinal cord of Sprague-Dawley rats in an attempt to attenuate damage and regenerate tissue.

METHODS

A T-10 hemisection spinal cord injury was created in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats; the rats were assigned to a sham, control (phosphate-buffered saline), or HA hydrogel–treated group. One cohort of 23 animals was followed for 12 weeks and underwent weekly behavioral assessments. At 12 weeks, retrograde tracing was performed by injecting Fluoro-Gold in the left L-2 gray matter. At 14 weeks, the animals were killed. The volume of the lesion and the number of cells labeled from retrograde tracing were calculated. Animals in a separate cohort were killed at 8 or 16 weeks and perfused for immunohistochemical analysis and transmission electron microscopy. Samples were stained using H & E, neurofilament stain (neurons and axons), silver stain (disrupted axons), glial fibrillary acidic protein stain (astrocytes), and Iba1 stain (mononuclear cells).

RESULTS

The lesions were significantly smaller in size and there were more retrograde-labeled cells in the red nuclei of the HA hydrogel–treated rats than in those of the controls; however, the behavioral assessments revealed no differences between the groups. The immunohistochemical analyses revealed decreased fibrous scarring and increased retention of organized intact axonal tissue in the HA hydrogel–treated group. There was a decreased presence of inflammatory cells in the HA hydrogel–treated group. No axonal or neuronal regeneration was observed.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of these experiments show that HA hydrogel had a neuroprotective effect on the spinal cord by decreasing the magnitude of secondary injury after a lacerating spinal cord injury. Although regeneration and behavioral improvement were not observed, the reduction in disorganized scar tissue and the retention of neurons near and above the lesion are important for future regenerative efforts. In addition, this gel would be useful as the base substrate in the development of a more complex scaffold.

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Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Jay D. Turner, Evgenii Belykh, Robert F. Spetzler, Peter Nakaji and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

This study evaluated the utility, specificity, and sensitivity of intraoperative confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) to provide diagnostic information during resection of human brain tumors.

METHODS

CLE imaging was used in the resection of intracranial neoplasms in 74 consecutive patients (31 male; mean age 47.5 years; sequential 10-month study period). Intraoperative in vivo and ex vivo CLE was performed after intravenous injection of fluorescein sodium (FNa). Tissue samples from CLE imaging–matched areas were acquired for comparison with routine histological analysis (frozen and permanent sections). CLE images were classified as diagnostic or nondiagnostic. The specificities and sensitivities of CLE and frozen sections for gliomas and meningiomas were calculated using permanent histological sections as the standard.

RESULTS

CLE images were obtained for each patient. The mean duration of intraoperative CLE system use was 15.7 minutes (range 3–73 minutes). A total of 20,734 CLE images were correlated with 267 biopsy specimens (mean number of images/biopsy location, in vivo 84, ex vivo 70). CLE images were diagnostic for 45.98% in vivo and 52.97% ex vivo specimens. After initiation of CLE, an average of 14 in vivo images and 7 ex vivo images were acquired before identification of a first diagnostic image. CLE specificity and sensitivity were, respectively, 94% and 91% for gliomas and 93% and 97% for meningiomas.

CONCLUSIONS

CLE with FNa provided intraoperative histological information during brain tumor removal. Specificities and sensitivities of CLE for gliomas and meningiomas were comparable to those for frozen sections. These data suggest that CLE could allow the interactive identification of tumor areas, substantially improving intraoperative decisions during the resection of brain tumors.

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Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Daniel D. Cavalcanti, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, Peter M. Delaney, Adrienne C. Scheck, Mohammed G. Abdelwahab, Peter Nakaji, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

Object

Infiltrative tumor resection is based on regional (macroscopic) imaging identification of tumorous tissue and the attempt to delineate invasive tumor margins in macroscopically normal-appearing tissue, while preserving normal brain tissue. The authors tested miniaturized confocal fiberoptic endomicroscopy by using a near-infrared (NIR) imaging system with indocyanine green (ICG) as an in vivo tool to identify infiltrating glioblastoma cells and tumor margins.

Methods

Thirty mice underwent craniectomy and imaging in vivo 14 days after implantation with GL261-luc cells. A 0.4 mg/kg injection of ICG was administered intravenously. The NIR images of normal brain, obvious tumor, and peritumoral zones were collected using the handheld confocal endomicroscope probe. Histological samples were acquired from matching imaged areas for correlation of tissue images.

Results

In vivo NIR wavelength confocal endomicroscopy with ICG detects fluorescence of tumor cells. The NIR and ICG macroscopic imaging performed using a surgical microscope correlated generally to tumor and peritumor regions, but NIR confocal endomicroscopy performed using ICG revealed individual tumor cells and satellites within peritumoral tissue; a definitive tumor border; and striking fluorescent microvascular, cellular, and subcellular structures (for example, mitoses, nuclei) in various tumor regions correlating with standard clinical histological features and known tissue architecture.

Conclusions

Macroscopic fluorescence was effective for gross tumor detection, but NIR confocal endomicroscopy performed using ICG enhanced sensitivity of tumor detection, providing real-time true microscopic histological information precisely related to the site of imaging. This first-time use of such NIR technology to detect cancer suggests that combined macroscopic and microscopic in vivo ICG imaging could allow interactive identification of microscopic tumor cell infiltration into the brain, substantially improving intraoperative decisions.

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Michael A. Mooney, Joseph Georges, Mohammedhassan Izady Yazdanabadi, Katherine Y. Goehring, William L. White, Andrew S. Little, Mark C. Preul, Stephen W. Coons, Peter Nakaji and Jennifer M. Eschbacher

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of using confocal reflectance microscopy (CRM) ex vivo to differentiate adenoma from normal pituitary gland in surgical biopsy specimens. CRM allows for rapid, label-free evaluation of biopsy specimens with cellular resolution while avoiding some limitations of frozen section analysis.

METHODS

Biopsy specimens from 11 patients with suspected pituitary adenomas were transported directly to the pathology department. Samples were immediately positioned and visualized with CRM using a confocal microscope located in the same area of the pathology department where frozen sections are prepared. An H & E–stained slide was subsequently prepared from imaged tissue. A neuropathologist compared the histopathological characteristics of the H & E–stained slide and the matched CRM images. A second neuropathologist reviewed images in a blinded fashion and assigned diagnoses of adenoma or normal gland.

RESULTS

For all specimens, CRM contrasted cellularity, tissue architecture, nuclear pleomorphism, vascularity, and stroma. Pituitary adenomas demonstrated sheets and large lobules of cells, similar to the matched H & E–stained slides. CRM images of normal tissue showed scattered small lobules of pituitary epithelial cells, consistent with matched H & E–stained images of normal gland. Blinded review by a neuropathologist confirmed the diagnosis in 15 (94%) of 16 images of adenoma versus normal gland.

CONCLUSIONS

CRM is a simple, reliable approach for rapidly evaluating pituitary adenoma specimens ex vivo. This technique can be used to accurately differentiate between pituitary adenoma and normal gland while preserving biopsy tissue for future permanent analysis, immunohistochemical studies, and molecular studies.