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Yun Bao, Jun Pan, Song-tao Qi, Yun-tao Lu, and Jun-xiang Peng

OBJECT

Craniopharyngiomas are associated with a high rate of recurrence. The surgical management of recurrent lesions has been among the most challenging neurosurgical procedures because of the craniopharyngioma's complex topographical relationship with surrounding structures. The aim of this study was to define the determinative role of the site of origin on the growth pattern and clinical features of recurrent craniopharyngiomas.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 52 patients who had undergone uniform treatment by a single surgeon. For each patient, data concerning symptoms and signs, imaging features, hypothalamic-pituitary function, and recurrence-free survival rate were collected.

RESULTS

For children, delayed puberty was more frequent in the group with Type I (infradiaphragmatic) craniopharyngioma than in the group with Type TS (tuberoinfundibular and suprasellar extraventricular) lesions (p < 0.05). For adults, blindness was more frequent in the Type I group than in the Type TS group (p < 0.05). Nausea or vomiting, delayed puberty, and growth retardation were more frequent in children than in adults (p < 0.05). Overall clinical outcome was good in 48.07% of the patients and poor in 51.92%. Patients with Type TS recurrent tumors had significantly worse functional outcomes and hypothalamic function than patients with the Type I recurrent tumors but better pituitary function especially in children.

CONCLUSIONS

The origin of recurrent craniopharyngiomas significantly affected the symptoms, signs, functional outcomes, and hypothalamic-pituitary functions of patients undergoing repeated surgery. Differences in tumor growth patterns and site of origin should be considered when one is comparing outcomes and survival across treatment paradigms in patients with recurrent craniopharyngiomas.

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Jun Fan, Yi Liu, Jun Pan, Yuping Peng, Junxiang Peng, Yun Bao, Jing Nie, Chaohu Wang, Binghui Qiu, and Songtao Qi

OBJECTIVE

An assessment of the transcranial approach (TCA) and the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for craniopharyngiomas (CPs) according to tumor types has not been reported. The aim of this study was to evaluate both surgical approaches for different types of CPs.

METHODS

A retrospective review of primary resected CPs was performed. A QST classification system based on tumor origin was used to classify tumors into 3 types as follows: infrasellar/subdiaphragmatic CPs (Q-CPs), subarachnoidal CPs (S-CPs), and pars tuberalis CPs (T-CPs). Within each tumor type, patients were further arranged into two groups: those treated via the TCA and those treated via the EEA. Patient and tumor characteristics, surgical outcomes, and postoperative complications were obtained. All variables were statistically analyzed between surgical groups for each tumor type.

RESULTS

A total of 315 patients were included in this series, of whom 87 were identified with Q-CPs (49 treated via TCA and 38 via EEA); 56 with S-CPs (36 treated via TCA and 20 via EEA); and 172 with T-CPs (105 treated via TCA and 67 via EEA). Patient and tumor characteristics were equivalent between both surgical groups in each tumor type. The overall gross-total resection rate (90.5% TCA vs 91.2% EEA, p = 0.85) and recurrence rate (8.9% TCA vs 6.4% EEA, p = 0.35) were similar between surgical groups. The EEA group had a greater chance of visual improvement (61.6% vs 35.8%, p = 0.01) and a decreased risk of visual deterioration (1.6% vs 11.0%, p < 0.001). Of the patients with T-CPs, postoperative hypothalamic status was better in the TCA group than in the EEA group (p = 0.016). Postoperative CSF leaks and nasal complication rates occurred more frequently in the EEA group (12.0% vs 0.5%, and 9.6% vs 0.5%; both p < 0.001). For Q-CPs, EEA was associated with an increased gross-total resection rate (97.4% vs 85.7%, p = 0.017), decreased recurrence rate (2.6% vs 12.2%, p = 0.001), and lower new hypopituitarism rate (28.9% vs 57.1%, p = 0.008). The recurrence-free survival in patients with Q-CPs was also significantly different between surgical groups (log-rank test, p = 0.037). The EEA required longer surgical time for T-CPs (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

CPs could be effectively treated by radical surgery with favorable results. Both TCA and EEA have their advantages and limitations when used to manage different types of tumors. Individualized surgical strategies based on tumor growth patterns are mandatory to achieve optimal outcomes.

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Jun Pan, Songtao Qi, Yi Liu, Yuntao Lu, Junxiang Peng, XiAn Zhang, YiKai Xu, Guang-long Huang, and Jun Fan

OBJECT

Craniopharyngiomas (CPs) are rare epithelial tumors that are often associated with an enigmatic and unpredictable growth pattern. Understanding the growth patterns of these tumors has a direct impact on surgical planning and may enhance the safety of radical tumor removal. The aim of this study was to analyze the growth patterns and surgical treatment of CPs with a focus on the involvement of the hypothalamopituitary axis and the relationship of the tumor to the arachnoid membrane and surrounding structures.

METHODS

Clinical data from 226 consecutive patients with primary CP were retrospectively reviewed. Tumor location and the relationship of the tumor to the third ventricle floor and the pituitary stalk were evaluated using preoperative MRI and intraoperative findings. A topographic classification scheme was proposed based on the site of tumor origin and tumor development. The clinical relevance of this classification on patient presentation and outcomes was also analyzed.

RESULTS

The growth of CPs can be broadly divided into 3 groups based on the site of tumor origin and on tumor-meningeal relationships: Group I, infrasellar/infradiaphragmatic CPs (Id-CPs), which mainly occurred in children; Group II, suprasellar subarachnoid extraventricular CPs (Sa-CPs), which were mainly observed in adults and rarely occurred in children; and Group III, suprasellar subpial ventricular CPs (Sp-CPs), which commonly occurred in both adults and children. Tumors in each group may develop complex growth patterns during vertical expansion along the pituitary stalk. Tumor growth patterns were closely related to both clinical presentation and outcomes. Patients with Sp-CPs had more prevalent weight gain than patients with Id-CPs or Sa-CPs; the rates of significant weight gain were 41.7% for children and 16.7% for adults with Sp-CPs, 2.2% and 7.1% for those with Id-CPs, and 12.5% and 2.6% for those with Sa-CPs (p < 0.001). Moreover, patients with Sp-CPs had increased hypothalamic dysfunction after radical removal; 39% of patients with Sp-CPs, 14.5% with Id-CPs, and 17.4% with Sa-CPs had high-grade hypothalamic dysfunction in the first 2 postoperative years (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The classification of CPs based on growth pattern may elucidate the best course of treatment for this formidable tumor. More tailored, individualized surgical strategies based on tumor growth patterns are mandatory to provide long-term tumor control and to minimize damage to hypothalamic structures. Differences in the distribution of growth patterns between children and adults imply that hierarchical comparison is necessary when investigating outcomes and survival across treatment paradigms in patients with CP.

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Xi-an Zhang, Song-tao Qi, Jun Fan, Guang-long Huang, and Jun-xiang Peng

Object

The aim of this study was to describe the similarity of configuration between the arachnoid complex in the posterior half of the incisural space and the Liliequist membrane.

Methods

Microsurgical dissection and anatomical observation were performed in 20 formalin-fixed adult cadaver heads. The origin, distribution, and configuration of the arachnoid membranes and their relationships with the vascular structures in the posterior half of the incisural space were examined.

Results

The posterior perimesencephalic membrane and the cerebellar precentral membrane have a common origin at the tentorial edge and form an arachnoid complex strikingly resembling an inverted Liliequist membrane. Asymmetry between sides is not uncommon. If the cerebellar precentral membrane is hypoplastic on one side or both, the well-developed quadrigeminal membrane plays a prominent part in partitioning the subarachnoid space in the posterior half of the incisural space.

Conclusions

The arachnoid complex in the posterior half of the incisural space can be regarded as an inverted Liliequist membrane. This concept can help neurosurgeons to gain better understanding of the surgical anatomy at the level of the tentorial incisura.

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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.