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  • Author or Editor: Johannes A. Hainfellner x
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Georg Widhalm, Stefan Wolfsberger, Matthias Preusser, Ingeborg Fischer, Adelheid Woehrer, Joerg Wunderer, Johannes A. Hainfellner and Engelbert Knosp


In residual nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas, reliable prognostic parameters indicating probability of tumor progression are needed. The Ki 67 expression/MIB-1 labeling index (LI) is considered to be a promising candidate factor. The aim in the present study was to analyze the clinical usefulness of MIB-1 LI for prognosis of tumor progression.


The authors studied a cohort of 92 patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas. Based on sequential postoperative MR images, patients were classified as tumor free (51 patients) or as harboring residual tumor (41 individuals). The residual tumor group was further subdivided in groups with stable residual tumors (14 patients) or progressive residual tumors (27 patients). The MIB-1 LI was assessed in tumor specimens obtained in all patients, and statistical comparisons of MIB-1 LI of the various subgroups were performed.


. The authors found no significant difference of MIB-1 LI in the residual tumor group compared with the tumor-free group. However, MIB-1 LI was significantly higher in the progressive residual tumor group, compared with the stable residual tumor group. Additionally, the time period to second surgery was significantly shorter in residual adenomas showing an MIB-1 LI > 3%.


The data indicate that MIB-1 LI in nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas is a clinically useful prognostic parameter indicating probability of progression of postoperative tumor remnants. The MIB-1 LI may be helpful in decisions of postoperative disease management (for example, frequency of radiographic intervals, planning for reoperation, radiotherapy, and/or radiosurgery).

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Matthias Millesi, Barbara Kiesel, Adelheid Woehrer, Johannes A. Hainfellner, Klaus Novak, Mauricio Martínez-Moreno, Stefan Wolfsberger, Engelbert Knosp and Georg Widhalm


Subtotal resection (STR) of spinal tumors can result in tumor recurrence. Currently, no clinically reliable marker is available for intraoperative visualization of spinal tumor tissue. Protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) fluorescence induced by 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) is capable of visualizing malignant gliomas. Fluorescence-guided resections of malignant cerebral gliomas using 5-ALA have resulted in an increased rate of complete tumor removal. Recently, the application of 5-ALA has also been described in the first cases of spinal tumors. Therefore, the aim of this observational study was to systematically investigate 5-ALA–induced fluorescence characteristics in different spinal tumor entities.


Three hours before the induction of anesthesia, 5-ALA was administered to patients with different intra- and extradural spinal tumors. In all patients a neurosurgical resection or biopsy of the spinal tumor was performed under conventional white-light microscopy. During each surgery, the presence of PpIX fluorescence was additionally assessed using a modified neurosurgical microscope. At the end of an assumed gross-total resection (GTR) under white-light microscopy, a final inspection of the surgical cavity of fluorescing intramedullary tumors was performed to look for any remaining fluorescing foci. Histopathological tumor diagnosis was established according to the current WHO classification.


Fifty-two patients with 55 spinal tumors were included in this study. Resection was performed in 50 of 55 cases, whereas 5 of 55 cases underwent biopsy. Gross-total resection was achieved in 37 cases, STR in 5, and partial resection in 8 cases. Protoporphyrin IX fluorescence was visible in 30 (55%) of 55 cases, but not in 25 (45%) of 55 cases. Positive PpIX fluorescence was mainly detected in ependymomas (12 of 12), meningiomas (12 of 12), hemangiopericytomas (3 of 3), and in drop metastases of primary CNS tumors (2 of 2). In contrast, none of the neurinomas (8 of 8), carcinoma metastases (5 of 5), and primary spinal gliomas (3 of 3; 1 pilocytic astrocytoma, 1 WHO Grade II astrocytoma, 1 WHO Grade III anaplastic oligoastrocytoma) revealed PpIX fluorescence. It is notable that residual fluorescing tumor foci were detected and subsequently resected in 4 of 8 intramedullary ependymomas despite assumed GTR under white-light microscopy.


In this study, 5-ALA–PpIX fluorescence was observed in spinal tumors, especially ependymomas, meningiomas, hemangiopericytomas, and drop metastases of primary CNS tumors. In cases of intramedullary tumors, 5-ALA–induced PpIX fluorescence is a useful tool for the detection of potential residual tumor foci.

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Barbara Kiesel, Mario Mischkulnig, Adelheid Woehrer, Mauricio Martinez-Moreno, Matthias Millesi, Ammar Mallouhi, Thomas Czech, Matthias Preusser, Johannes A. Hainfellner, Stefan Wolfsberger, Engelbert Knosp and Georg Widhalm


Glioblastoma (GBM) is characterized by distinct intratumoral histopathological heterogeneity with regard to variable tumor morphology, cell proliferation, and microvascularity. Maximum resection of a GBM results in an improved prognosis and thus represents the aim of surgery in the majority of cases. Fluorescence-guided surgery using 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) is currently widely applied for improved intraoperative tumor visualization in patients with a GBM. Three intratumoral fluorescence levels (i.e., strong, vague, or no fluorescence) can usually be distinguished during surgery. So far, however, their exact histopathological correlates and their surgical relevance have not been clarified sufficiently. Thus, the aim of this study was to systematically analyze tissue samples from newly diagnosed GBMs with different fluorescence levels according to relevant histopathological parameters.


This prospective study recruited patients who underwent 5-ALA fluorescence-guided resection of a newly diagnosed radiologically suspected GBM. Each patient received 5-ALA approximately 3 hours before surgery, and a modified neurosurgical microscope was applied for intraoperative visualization of 5-ALA–induced fluorescence. During surgery, tissue samples with strong, vague, or no fluorescence were collected. For each sample, the presence of tumor tissue, quality of tissue (compact, infiltrative, or no tumor), histopathological criteria of malignancy (cell density, nuclear pleomorphism, mitotic activity, and presence of microvascular proliferation/necrosis), proliferation rate (MIB-1 labeling index [LI]), and microvessel density (using CD34 staining) were investigated.


Altogether, 77 patients with a newly diagnosed, histopathologically confirmed GBM were included, and 131 samples with strong fluorescence, 69 samples with vague fluorescence, and 67 samples with no fluorescence were collected. Tumor tissue was detected in all 131 (100%) of the samples with strong fluorescence and in 65 (94%) of the 69 samples with vague fluorescence. However, mostly infiltrative tumor tissue was still found in 33 (49%) of 67 samples despite their lack of fluorescence. Strong fluorescence corresponded to compact tumors in 109 (83%) of 131 samples, whereas vague fluorescence was consistent with infiltrative tumors in 44 (64%) of 69 samples. In terms of the histopathological criteria of malignancy, a significant positive correlation of all analyzed parameters comprising cell density, nuclear pleomorphism, mitotic activity, microvascular proliferation, and necrosis with the 3 fluorescence levels was observed (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the proliferation rate significantly and positively correlated with strong (MIB-1 LI 28.3%), vague (MIB-1 LI 16.7%), and no (MIB-1 LI 8.8%) fluorescence (p < 0.001). Last, a significantly higher microvessel density was detected in samples with strong fluorescence (CD34 125.5 vessels/0.25 mm2) than in those with vague (CD34 82.8 vessels/0.25 mm2) or no (CD34 68.6 vessels/0.25 mm2) fluorescence (p < 0.001).


Strong and vague 5-ALA–induced fluorescence enables visualization of intratumoral areas with specific histopathological features and thus supports neurosurgeons in improving the extent of resection in patients with a newly diagnosed GBM. Despite the lack of fluorescence, tumor tissue was still observed in approximately half of the cases. To overcome this current limitation, the promising approach of complementary spectroscopic measurement of fluorescence should be investigated further.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010