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Song-tao Qi, Jun Fan, Xi-an Zhang and Jun Pan

Object

A precise understanding of the ambient cistern and its associated arachnoid membranes is helpful for accessing perimesencephalic lesions. However, few studies of the arachnoid membranes related to the ambient cistern have been published, and, additionally, some aspects of the ambient cistern also require further examination. The goal of this study was to reinvestigate and expound on the anatomical features of the cistern and membranes.

Methods

The ambient cisterns and its associated arachnoid membranes were examined in 20 adult cadaveric brains using an operative microscope.

Results

The perimesencephalic membrane is a set of inner arachnoid membranes surrounding the midbrain at the level of the tentorial incisura. It arises from the outer arachnoidal membranes covering the tentorial edge and the dorsum sellae and can be subdivided into anterior and posterior portions. The anterior membrane is actually the mesencephalic leaf of Liliequist membrane, which is divided into medial and lateral parts by the oculomotor nerve. The posterior membrane can be divided into horizontal and ascending parts. The ambient cistern is located above the perimesencephalic membrane and contains the anterior choroidal arteries, the posterior cerebral arteries, the basal vein, and sometimes the segments of the superior cerebellar arteries. It communicates with the carotid cistern, the interpeduncular cistern, the oculomotor cistern, the cerebellopontine and cerebellomesencephalic cistern, and the quadrigeminal cistern.

Conclusions

This study updates some information about the ambient cistern and its arachnoid membranes. The perimesencephalic membrane was identified and described in detail. The ambient cistern was verified to be a supratentorial cistern above the perimesencephalic membrane. The borders and contents of this cistern, as well as its relationship with adjacent cisterns, were also redefined.

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Cheng-Bei Li, Lai-Rong Song, Da Li, Jian-Cong Weng, Li-Wei Zhang, Jun-Ting Zhang and Zhen Wu

OBJECTIVE

The overall survival and pertinent adverse factors for primary intracranial malignant melanoma (PIMM) have not been previously determined. This aim of this study was to determine the rates of progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) and identify the adverse factors for PIMM.

METHODS

This study included 15 cases from the authors’ own series and 100 cases with detailed clinical data that were obtained from the literature from 1914 to 2018 using the Ovid Medline, EMBASE, PubMed, Cochrane, and EBSCO databases. Patient demographics, treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy [RT]), PFS, and OS were reviewed. Data from prior publications were processed and used according to PRISMA guidelines.

RESULTS

Diffuse lesions were identified in 24 (20.9%) patients, who had a younger age (p < 0.001). The mean follow-up time was 16.6 months, and 76 (66.1%) deaths occurred. The 6-month, 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year OS rates of the whole cohort were 62.8%, 49.9%, 28.9%, and 17.2%, respectively, with an estimated median survival time (EMST) of 12.0 months. The multivariate analysis revealed that gross-total resection (GTR) (HR 0.299, 95% CI 0.180–0.497, p < 0.001), radiotherapy (HR 0.577, 95% CI 0.359–0.929, p = 0.024), and chemotherapy (HR 0.420, 95% CI 0.240–0.735, p = 0.002) predicted a better OS. The EMST was 5.0 months in patients with diffuse-type PIMM and 13.0 months in patients with the solitary type. Patients receiving GTR with adjuvant RT and/or chemotherapy (GTR + [RT and/or chemo]) had significantly higher 1-year and 5-year OS rates (73.0% and 40.1%, respectively) and a longer EMST (53 months) than patients who underwent GTR alone (20.5 months) or RT and/or chemotherapy without GTR (13.0 months).

CONCLUSIONS

Optimal outcomes could be achieved by radical resection plus postoperative radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. Patients with diffuse PIMM have a more severe clinical spectrum and poorer survival than patients with solitary PIMM. Immunotherapy and targeted therapy show promise as treatment options for PIMM based on results in patients with brain metastases from extracranial melanoma.

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Da Li, Shu-Yu Hao, Zhen Wu, Li-Wei Zhang and Jun-Ting Zhang

Medulla oblongata teratomas are rare. The authors report 2 new cases of teratomas that occurred exclusively in the medulla oblongata. The first case was in a 9-year-old boy who presented with a 6-month history of neck pain and repeated paroxysmal vomiting. Based on preoperative radiographic findings, the initial diagnosis was of an intraaxial medulla oblongata hemangioblastoma. Intraoperatively, the cystic component of the tumor was gray, gelatinous, and soft in consistency. The solid component was light pink, rubbery, and nodular in appearance, with an identifiable boundary. The lesion was completely removed. Histopathological investigation revealed a mature teratoma. Postoperatively, the patient was supported with ventilator assistance and received a tracheotomy, but died of intracranial infection. The second case was in a 10-year-old boy with intermittent headache for 1 month. Radiographs revealed an exophytic cystic and solid lesion with dorsal involvement of the medulla oblongata. The lesion was predominantly solid, pinkish gray, tenacious, and moderately vascularized, with clearly delineated surgical dissection planes. The histopathological examination confirmed a diagnosis of immature teratoma. Total resection was achieved, followed by postoperative chemotherapy. He was alive without recurrence of the lesion or symptoms at 59 months after surgery.

Resection of medulla oblongata teratoma is challenging, with inherent surgical risks that are contingent on the tumor growth pattern. Teratomas should be considered in the differential diagnosis of brainstem lesions. Chemotherapy has been suggested for immature teratomas. Long-term follow-up and larger studies of teratomas in unusual locations are required to improve practitioners' understanding of this disease's treatment and outcomes.

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Da Li, Shu-Yu Hao, Gui-Jun Jia, Zhen Wu, Li-Wei Zhang and Jun-Ting Zhang

Object

Cerebral cavernous malformations have been studied widely, but the natural history of brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs) is not well defined, and hemorrhages caused by brainstem CMs are devastating. The goal of this study was to quantify the hemorrhage risks and functional outcomes of patients with brainstem CMs.

Methods

This prospective, longitudinal, cohort study included patients with brainstem CMs diagnosed between 1985 and 2012. The clinical courses of all patients were recorded. Predictors of hemorrhage and the overall untreated outcomes were evaluated.

Results

A total of 331 patients (46.5% female) were included, with a mean follow-up duration of 6.5 years. The annual hemorrhage rates in patients initially presenting with hemorrhage with (n = 215) or without (n = 34) focal neurological deficits were 15.9% and 12.4%, respectively. However, the annual hemorrhage rate was 8.7% in patients initially presenting without hemorrhage (n = 82). The risk factors for hemorrhage were female sex (hazard ratio [HR] 1.445, p = 0.041), prior hemorrhage (HR 1.277, p = 0.029), and perilesional edema (HR 1.830, p = 0.002). Overall, neurological function at the most recent assessment was improved compared with neurological function at diagnosis. Additionally, 307 patients (92.7%) improved or stabilized, 268 (81.0%) lived independently, and 95 (28.7%) completely recovered. Predictors favoring complete recovery were no prospective hemorrhage (HR 1.958, p = 0.001), younger age (HR 1.268, p = 0.001), and small lesion size (HR 1.578, p = 0.004).

Conclusions

Patients' initial presentation predicts their prospective annual hemorrhage rate. This study suggests that several strong risk factors for hemorrhage and predictors of brainstem CM outcomes may enable clinicians to evaluate the potential hemorrhage risks of their patients and design personalized treatments.

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Da Li and Jun-Ting Zhang

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James Schuster, Jun Zhang and Maria Longo

Object

One of the major difficulties of conducting bone metastasis research is the lack of adequate models for studying the bone–tumor microenvironment. The limitations of current in vivo models include the following: non-human tumor or bone, variable reproducibility, limited supply, and an inability to be easily manipulated. The objective of the present study was to develop a uniform and reproducible model of bone/spine metastasis by utilizing bone derived from human osteoblasts grown subcutaneously in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice with subsequent introduction of human carcinoma cell lines.

Methods

Human osteoblasts were serially passed in culture and induced to differentiate into mature osteoblasts. They were subsequently loaded on hydroxyapatite-coated collagen sponges and implanted subcutaneously into the SCID mice. After allowing the bone to mature for 8 weeks, tumor cell suspensions were implanted percutaneously into the bone. The bone–tumor complexes were subsequently harvested, decalcified, and prepared for histological examination.

Conclusions

The authors have developed a novel, reproducible SCID mouse model of bone/spine metastasis by using bone derived from human osteoblasts and subsequently introduced human tumor lines. They believe this model will be useful for studying the basic biology of bone metastases.

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Chao-hu Wang, Song-Tao Qi, Jun Fan, Jun Pan, Jun-Xiang Peng, Jing Nie, Yun Bao, Ya-Wei Liu, Xi’an Zhang and Yi Liu

OBJECTIVE

Nuclear β-catenin, a hallmark of active canonical Wnt signaling, can be histologically detected in a subset of cells and cell clusters in up to 94% of adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma (ACP) samples. However, it is unclear whether nuclear β-catenin–containing cells within human ACPs possess the characteristics of tumor stem cells, and it is unknown what role these cells have in ACP.

METHODS

Primary ACP cells were cultured from 12 human ACP samples. Adamantinomatous CP stem cell–like cells (CSLCs) showing CD44 positivity were isolated from the cultured primary ACP cells by performing magnetic-activated cell sorting. The tumor sphere formation, cell cycle distribution, stemness marker expression, and multidifferentiation potential of the CD44− cells and the CSLCs were analyzed.

RESULTS

Compared with the CD44− cells, the cultured human CSLCs formed tumor spheres and expressed CD44 and CD133; moreover, these cells demonstrated nuclear translocation of β-catenin. In addition, the CSLCs demonstrated osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation capacities compared with the CD44− cells. The CSLCs also displayed the capacity for tumor initiation in human–mouse xenografts.

CONCLUSIONS

These results indicate that CSLCs play an important role in ACP development, calcification, and cystic degeneration.