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Darryl Lau, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Susan Chang, Annette M. Molinaro, Michael W. McDermott, Joanna J. Phillips and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECT

There is evidence that 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) facilitates greater extent of resection and improves 6-month progression-free survival in patients with high-grade gliomas. But there remains a paucity of studies that have examined whether the intensity of ALA fluorescence correlates with tumor cellularity. Therefore, a Phase II clinical trial was undertaken to examine the correlation of intensity of ALA fluorescence with the degree of tumor cellularity.

METHODS

A single-center, prospective, single-arm, open-label Phase II clinical trial of ALA fluorescence-guided resection of high-grade gliomas (Grade III and IV) was held over a 43-month period (August 2010 to February 2014). ALA was administered at a dose of 20 mg/kg body weight. Intraoperative biopsies from resection cavities were collected. The biopsies were graded on a 4-point scale (0 to 3) based on ALA fluorescence intensity by the surgeon and independently based on tumor cellularity by a neuropathologist. The primary outcome of interest was the correlation of ALA fluorescence intensity to tumor cellularity. The secondary outcome of interest was ALA adverse events. Sensitivities, specificities, positive predictive values (PPVs), negative predictive values (NPVs), and Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated.

RESULTS

A total of 211 biopsies from 59 patients were included. Mean age was 53.3 years and 59.5% were male. The majority of biopsies were glioblastoma (GBM) (79.7%). Slightly more than half (52.5%) of all tumors were recurrent. ALA intensity of 3 correlated with presence of tumor 97.4% (PPV) of the time. However, absence of ALA fluorescence (intensity 0) correlated with the absence of tumor only 37.7% (NPV) of the time. For all tumor types, GBM, Grade III gliomas, and recurrent tumors, ALA intensity 3 correlated strongly with cellularity Grade 3; Spearman correlation coefficients (r) were 0.65, 0.66, 0.65, and 0.62, respectively. The specificity and PPV of ALA intensity 3 correlating with cellularity Grade 3 ranged from 95% to 100% and 86% to 100%, respectively. In biopsies without tumor (cellularity Grade 0), 35.4% still demonstrated ALA fluorescence. Of those biopsies, 90.9% contained abnormal brain tissue, characterized by reactive astrocytes, scattered atypical cells, or inflammation, and 8.1% had normal brain. In nonfluorescent (ALA intensity 0) biopsies, 62.3% had tumor cells present. The ALA-associated complication rate among the study cohort was 3.4%.

CONCLUSIONS

The PPV of utilizing the most robust ALA fluorescence intensity (lava-like orange) as a predictor of tumor presence is high. However, the NPV of utilizing the absence of fluorescence as an indicator of no tumor is poor. ALA intensity is a strong predictor for degree of tumor cellularity for the most fluorescent areas but less so for lower ALA intensities. Even in the absence of tumor cells, reactive changes may lead to ALA fluorescence.

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Shih-Shan Lang, Lauren A. Beslow, Robert L. Bailey, Arastoo Vossough, Joanna Ekstrom, Gregory G. Heuer and Phillip B. Storm

Object

The true postoperative incidence of arteriovenous malformation (AVM) recurrence in the pediatric population remains largely unreported. Some literature suggests that delayed imaging studies should be obtained at 6 months to 1 year after negative findings on a postoperative angiogram. The aim of this study was to describe the timing of AVM recurrences after resection and the neuroimaging modalities on which the recurrences were detected.

Methods

This study was performed in a retrospective cohort of all pediatric patients treated surgically for AVM resection by a single neurosurgeon between 2005 and 2010. Patients were followed after resection with MR angiography (MRA) or conventional angiography, when possible, at various time points. A visual scale for compactness of the initial AVM nidus was used, and the score was correlated with probability of recurrence after surgery.

Results

A total of 28 patients (13 female, 15 male) underwent an AVM resection. In 18 patients (64.3%) an intraoperative angiogram was obtained. In 4 cases the intraoperative angiogram revealed residual AVM, and repeat resections were performed immediately. Recurrent AVMs were found in 4 children (14.3%) at 50, 51, 56, and 60 weeks after the initial resection. Recurrence risk was 0.08 per person-year. No patient with normal results on an angiogram obtained at 1 year developed a recurrence on either a 5-year angiogram or one obtained at 18 years of age. All patients with recurrence had a compactness score of 1 (diffuse AVM); a lower compactness score was associated with recurrence (p = 0.0003).

Conclusions

All recurrences in this cohort occurred less than 15 months from the initial resection. The authors recommend intraoperative angiography to help ensure complete resection at the time of the surgery. Follow-up vascular imaging is crucial for detecting recurrent AVMs, and conventional angiography is preferred because MRA can miss smaller AVMs. One-year follow-up imaging detected these recurrences, and no one who had negative results on an angiogram obtained at 1 year had a late recurrence. However, not all of the patients have been followed for 5 years or until 18 years of age, so longer follow-up is required for these patients. A lower compactness score predicted recurrent AVM in this cohort.

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Jason M. Davies, Aaron E. Robinson, Cynthia Cowdrey, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Gregory S. Ducker, Kevan M. Shokat, Andrew Bollen, Byron Hann and Joanna J. Phillips

Object

The management of patients with locally recurrent or metastatic chordoma is a challenge. Preclinical disease models would greatly accelerate the development of novel therapeutic options for chordoma. The authors sought to establish and characterize a primary xenograft model for chordoma that faithfully recapitulates the molecular features of human chordoma.

Methods

Chordoma tissue from a recurrent clival tumor was obtained at the time of surgery and implanted subcutaneously into NOD-SCID interleukin-2 receptor gamma (IL-2Rγ) null (NSG) mouse hosts. Successful xenografts were established and passaged in the NSG mice. The recurrent chordoma and the derived human chordoma xenograft were compared by histology, immunohistochemistry, and phospho-specific immunohistochemistry. Based on these results, mice harboring subcutaneous chordoma xenografts were treated with the mTOR inhibitor MLN0128, and tumors were subjected to phosphoproteome profiling using Luminex technology and immunohistochemistry.

Results

SF8894 is a novel chordoma xenograft established from a recurrent clival chordoma that faithfully recapitulates the histopathological, immunohistological, and phosphoproteomic features of the human tumor. The PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway was activated, as evidenced by diffuse immunopositivity for phospho-epitopes, in the recurrent chordoma and in the established xenograft. Treatment of mice harboring chordoma xenografts with MLN0128 resulted in decreased activity of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway as indicated by decreased phospho-mTOR levels (p = 0.019, n = 3 tumors per group).

Conclusions

The authors report the establishment of SF8894, a recurrent clival chordoma xenograft that mimics many of the features of the original tumor and that should be a useful preclinical model for recurrent chordoma.

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Georg Widhalm, Jonathan Olson, Jonathan Weller, Jaime Bravo, Seunggu J. Han, Joanna Phillips, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Susan M. Chang, David W. Roberts and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

In patients with suspected diffusely infiltrating low-grade gliomas (LGG), the prognosis is dependent especially on extent of resection and precision of tissue sampling. Unfortunately, visible 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) fluorescence is usually only present in high-grade gliomas (HGGs), and most LGGs cannot be visualized. Recently, spectroscopic probes were introduced allowing in vivo quantitative analysis of intratumoral 5-ALA–induced protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) accumulation. The aim of this study was to intraoperatively investigate the value of visible 5-ALA fluorescence and quantitative PpIX analysis in suspected diffusely infiltrating LGG.

METHODS

Patients with radiologically suspected diffusely infiltrating LGG were prospectively recruited, and 5-ALA was preoperatively administered. During resection, visual fluorescence and absolute tissue PpIX concentration (CPpIX) measured by a spectroscopic handheld probe were determined in different intratumoral areas. Subsequently, corresponding tissue samples were safely collected for histopathological analysis. Tumor diagnosis was established according to the World Health Organization 2016 criteria. Additionally, the tumor grade and percentage of tumor cells were investigated in each sample.

RESULTS

All together, 69 samples were collected from 22 patients with histopathologically confirmed diffusely infiltrating glioma. Visible fluorescence was detected in focal areas in most HGGs (79%), but in none of the 8 LGGs. The mean CPpIX was significantly higher in fluorescing samples than in nonfluorescing samples (0.693 μg/ml and 0.008 μg/ml, respectively; p < 0.001). A significantly higher mean percentage of tumor cells was found in samples with visible fluorescence compared to samples with no fluorescence (62% and 34%, respectively; p = 0.005), and significant correlation of CPpIX and percentage of tumor cells was found (r = 0.362, p = 0.002). Moreover, high-grade histology was significantly more common in fluorescing samples than in nonfluorescing samples (p = 0.001), whereas no statistically significant difference in mean CPpIX was noted between HGG and LGG samples. Correlation between maximum CPpIX and overall tumor grade was highly significant (p = 0.005). Finally, 14 (40%) of 35 tumor samples with no visible fluorescence and 16 (50%) of 32 LGG samples showed significantly increased CPpIX (cutoff value: 0.005 μg/ml).

CONCLUSIONS

Visible 5-ALA fluorescence is able to detect focal intratumoral areas of malignant transformation, and additional quantitative PpIX analysis is especially useful to visualize mainly LGG tissue that usually remains undetected by conventional fluorescence. Thus, both techniques will support the neurosurgeon in achieving maximal safe resection and increased precision of tissue sampling during surgery for suspected LGG.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01116661 (clinicaltrials.gov)