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  • Author or Editor: Kaisorn L. Chaichana x
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Andrew E. Sloan

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Editorial

Metastatic spinal cord tumors

Mark N. Hadley

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Debraj Mukherjee, Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Oran Aaronson, Joseph S. Cheng and Matthew J. McGirt

Object

Malignant primary osseous spinal neoplasms are aggressive tumors that remain associated with poor outcomes despite aggressive multidisciplinary treatment measures. To date, prognosis for patients with these tumors is based on results from small single-center patient series and controlled trials. Large population-based observational studies are lacking. To assess national trends in histology-specific survival, the authors reviewed patient survival data spanning 30 years (1973–2003) from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry, a US population-based cancer registry.

Methods

The SEER registry was queried to identify cases of histologically confirmed primary spinal chordoma, chondrosarcoma, osteosarcoma, or Ewing sarcoma using coding from the International Classification of Disease for Oncology, Third Edition. Association of survival with histology, metastasis status, tumor site, and year of diagnosis was assessed using Cox proportional-hazards regression analysis.

Results

A total of 1892 patients were identified with primary osseous spinal neoplasms (414 with chordomas, 579 with chondrosarcomas, 430 with osteosarcomas, and 469 with Ewing sarcomas). Chordomas presented in older patients (60 ± 17 years; p < 0.01) whereas Ewing sarcoma presented in younger patients (19 ± 11 years; p < 0.01) compared with patients with all other tumors. The relative incidence of each tumor type remained similar per decade from 1973 to 2003. African Americans comprised a significantly greater proportion of patients with osteosarcomas than other tumors (9.6% vs 3.5%, respectively; p < 0.01). Compared with the sacrum, the mobile spine was more likely to be the site of tumor location for chordomas than for all other tumors (47% vs 23%, respectively; p < 0.05). Osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma were 3 times more likely than chondrosarcoma and chordoma to present with metastasis (31% vs 8%, respectively). Resection was performed more frequently for chordoma (88%) and chondrosarcoma (89%) than for osteosarcoma (61%) and Ewing sarcoma (53%). Overall median survival was histology-specific (osteosarcoma, 11 months; Ewing sarcoma, 26 months; chondrosarcoma, 37 months; chordoma, 50 months) and significantly worse in patients with metastasis at presentation for all tumor types. Survival did not significantly differ as a function of site (mobile spine vs sacrum/pelvis) for any tumor type, but more recent year of diagnosis was associated with improved survival for isolated spinal Ewing sarcoma (hazard ration [HR] 0.95; p = 0.001), chondrosarcoma (HR 0.98; p = 0.009), and chordoma (HR 0.98; p = 0.10), but not osteosarcoma.

Conclusions

In this analysis of a 30-year, US population-based cancer registry (SEER), the authors provide nationally representative prognosis and survival data for patients with malignant primary spinal osseous neoplasms. Overall patient survival has improved for isolated spine tumors with advancements in care over the past 4 decades. These results may be helpful in providing historical controls for understanding the efficacy of new treatment paradigms, patient education, and guiding level of aggressiveness in treatment strategies.

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Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Scott L. Parker, Alessandro Olivi and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Object

Seizures are a common presenting symptom and cause of morbidity for patients with malignant astrocytomas. The authors set out to determine preoperative seizure characteristics, effects of surgery on seizure control, and factors associated with prolonged seizure control in patients with malignant astrocytomas.

Methods

Cases involving adult patients who underwent primary resection of a hemispheric anaplastic astrocytoma (AA) or glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions between 1996 and 2006 were retrospectively reviewed. Multivariate logistical regression analysis was used to identify associations with pre-operative seizures, and multivariate proportional hazards regression analyses were used to identify associations with prolonged seizure control following resection.

Results

Of the 648 patients (505 with GBM, 143 with AA) in this series, 153 (24%) presented with seizures. The factors more commonly associated with preoperative seizures were AA pathology (p = 0.03), temporal lobe involvement (p = 0.04), and cortical location (p = 0.04), while the factors less commonly associated with preoperative seizures were greater age (p = 0.03) and larger tumor size (p ≤ 0.001). Among those patients with a history of seizures, outcome 12 months after surgery was Engel Class I (seizure free) in 77%, Class II (rare seizures) in 12%, Class III (meaningful improvement) in 6%, and Class IV (no improvement) in 5%. Postoperative seizures were rare in patients without a history of preoperative seizures. The factor positively associated with prolonged seizure control was increased Karnofsky Performance Scale score (p = 0.002), while the factors negatively associated with seizure control were preoperative uncontrolled seizures (p = 0.03) and parietal lobe involvement (p = 0.005). Seizure recurrence in patients with postoperative seizure control was independently associated with tumor recurrence (p = 0.006).

Conclusions

The identification and consideration of factors associated with prolonged seizure control may help guide treatment strategies aimed at improving the quality of life for patients with malignant astrocytomas.

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Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Courtney Pendleton, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky and Ziya L. Gokaslan

Object

Metastatic epidural spinal cord compression (MESCC) is a relatively common and debilitating complication of metastatic disease that often results in neurological deficits. Recent studies have supported decompressive surgery over radiation therapy for patients who present with MESCC. These studies, however, have grouped all patients with different histological types of metastatic disease into the same study population. The differential outcomes for patients with different histological types of metastatic disease therefore remain unknown.

Methods

An institutional database of patients undergoing decompressive surgery for MESCC at an academic tertiary-care institution between 1996 and 2006 was retrospectively reviewed. Patients with primary lung, breast, prostate, kidney, or gastrointestinal (GI) cancer or melanoma were identified. Fisher exact and log-rank analyses were used to compare pre-, peri-, and postoperative variables and survival for patients with these different types of primary cancers.

Results

Twenty-seven patients with primary lung cancer, 26 with breast cancer, 20 with prostate cancer, 21 with kidney cancer, 13 with GI cancer, and 7 with melanoma were identified and categorized. All of these patients were followed up for a mean ± SD of 10.8 ± 3.8 months following surgery. Patients with primary lung and prostate cancers were typically older than patients with other types of primary cancers. Patients with prostate cancer had the shortest duration of symptoms and more commonly presented with motor deficits, while patients with breast cancer more commonly had cervical spine involvement and compression fractures. For all histological types, > 90% of patients retained the ability to ambulate following surgery. However, the group with the highest percentage of patients who regained ambulatory function after decompressive surgery was the lung cancer group. Patients with breast or kidney cancer and those with melanoma had the highest median duration of survival following decompressive surgery.

Conclusions

The present study identifies differences in presenting symptoms, operative course, perioperative complications, long-term ambulatory outcomes, and duration of survival for patients with lung, breast, prostate, kidney, and GI cancers and melanoma. This understanding may allow better risk stratification for patients with MESCC.

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Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Khan K. Chaichana, Alessandro Olivi, Jon D. Weingart, Richard Bennett, Henry Brem and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Object

As the population ages, the incidence of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) among older patients (age > 65 years) will increase. Older patients, unlike their younger counterparts, are not often offered aggressive surgery because of their age, comorbidities, and potential inability to tolerate surgery. The goal of this study was to identify preoperative factors associated with decreased survival for older patients who underwent resection of a GBM. The identification of these factors may provide insight into which patients would benefit most from aggressive surgery.

Methods

All patients older than 65 years who underwent nonbiopsy resection of an intracranial GBM at a single institution between 1997 and 2007 were retrospectively reviewed. Factors associated with overall survival were assessed using multivariate proportional hazards regression analysis after controlling for peri- and postoperative factors known to be associated with outcome (extent of resection, carmustine wafer implantation, temozolomide chemotherapy, and radiation therapy). Variables with p < 0.05 were considered statistically significant.

Results

A total of 129 patients with an average age of 73 ± 5 years met the inclusion/exclusion criteria. At last follow-up, all 129 patients had died, with a median survival of 7.9 months. The preoperative factors that were independently associated with decreased survival were Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score less than 80 (p = 0.001), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (p = 0.01), motor deficit (p = 0.01), language deficit (p = 0.005), cognitive deficit (p = 0.02), and tumor size larger than 4 cm (p = 0.002). Patients with 0–1 (Group 1), 2–3 (Group 2), and 4–6 (Group 3) of these factors had statistically different survival times, where the median survival was 9.2, 5.5, and 4.4 months, respectively. In log-rank analysis, the median survival for Group 1 was significantly longer than that for Group 2 (p = 0.004) and Group 3 (p < 0.0001), while Group 2 had longer survival than Group 3 (p = 0.02).

Conclusions

Older patients with an increasing number of these factors may not benefit as much from aggressive surgery as patients with fewer factors. This may provide insight into identifying which patients older than 65 years of age may benefit from aggressive surgery.

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Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Matthew J. McGirt, John Laterra, Alessandro Olivi and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Object

Unlike their malignant counterparts, low-grade gliomas are associated with prolonged survival. However, these tumors have a propensity to progress after resection and ultimately undergo malignant degeneration. The factors associated with recurrence and malignant degeneration remain relatively unknown. The authors set out to determine factors that were independently associated with recurrence and malignant degeneration in patients who underwent resection of a hemispheric low-grade glioma.

Methods

Adult patients who underwent craniotomy and resection of a hemispheric low-grade glioma (WHO Grade II) at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution's academic tertiary-care institution between 1996 and 2006 were retrospectively reviewed. Multivariate proportional hazards regression analyses were used to identify associations with tumor recurrence and malignant degeneration.

Results

Of the 191 consecutive patients with low-grade gliomas in this series (89 fibrillary astrocytomas, 89 oligodendrogliomas, and 13 mixed gliomas), 83 (43%) and 44 (23%) experienced tumor recurrence and malignant degeneration at last follow-up, respectively. The 5-year progression-free and malignancy-free survival rates were 44 and 74%, respectively. Independent predictors of recurrence were duration of longest lasting symptom (relative risk [RR] 0.978, 95% CI 0.954–0.996, p = 0.01), tumor size (RR 1.328, 95% CI 1.109–1.602, p = 0.002), and preoperative contrast enhancement (RR 2.558, 95% CI 1.241–5.021, p = 0.01). Independent factors associated with malignant degeneration were fibrillary astrocytoma pathology (RR 1.800, 95% CI 1.008–4.928, p = 0.04), tumor size (RR 1.086, 95% CI 1.044–1.358, p = 0.04), and gross-total resection (RR 0.526, 95% CI 0.221–1.007, p = 0.05).

Conclusions

The identification and consideration of factors associated with recurrence and malignant progression may help guide treatment strategies aimed at delaying recurrence and preventing malignant degeneration for patients with hemispheric low-grade gliomas.

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Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Debraj Mukherjee, Owoicho Adogwa, Joseph S. Cheng and Matthew J. McGirt

Object

Lumbar discectomy is the most common surgical procedure performed in the US for patients experiencing back and leg pain from herniated lumbar discs. However, not all patients will benefit from lumbar discectomy. Patients with certain psychological predispositions may be especially vulnerable to poor clinical outcomes.

The goal of this study was therefore to determine the role that preoperative depression and somatic anxiety have on long-term back and leg pain, disability, and quality of life (QOL) for patients undergoing single-level lumbar discectomy.

Methods

In 67 adults undergoing discectomy for a single-level herniated lumbar disc, the authors determined quantitative measurements of leg and back pain (visual analog scale [VAS]), quality of life (36-Item Short Form Health Survey [SF-36]), and disease-specific disability (Oswestry Disability Index) preoperatively and at 6 weeks, 3, 6, and 12 months after surgery. The degree of preoperative depression and somatization was assessed using the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale and a modified somatic perception questionnaire (MSPQ). Multivariate regression analyses were performed to assess associations between Zung Scale and MSPQ scores with achievement of a minimum clinical important difference (MCID) in each outcome measure by 12 months postoperatively.

Results

All patients completed 12 months of follow-up. Overall, a significant improvement in VAS leg pain, VAS back pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and SF-36 Physical Component Summary scores was observed by 6 weeks after surgery. Improvements in all outcomes were maintained throughout the 12-month follow-up period. Increasing preoperative depression (measured using the Zung Scale) was associated with a decreased likelihood of achieving an MCID in disability (p = 0.006) and QOL (p = 0.04) but was not associated with VAS leg pain (p = 0.96) or back pain (p = 0.85) by 12 months. Increasing preoperative somatic anxiety (measured using the MSPQ) was associated with decreased likelihood of achieving an MCID in disability (p = 0.002) and QOL (p = 0.03) but was not associated with leg pain (p = 0.64) or back pain (p = 0.77) by 12 months.

Conclusions

The Zung Scale and MSPQ are valuable tools for stratifying risk in patients who may not experience clinically relevant improvement in disability and QOL after discectomy. Efforts to address these confounding and underlying contributors of depression and heightened somatic anxiety may improve overall outcomes after lumbar discectomy.

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Kevin C. Yao, Matthew J. McGirt, Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Shlomi Constantini and George I. Jallo

Object

Gross-total resection of pediatric intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs) can be achieved in the majority of cases, with preservation of long-term neurological function. However, progressive spinal deformity requiring subsequent fusion occurs in many cases. It remains unknown which subgroups of patients have the greatest risk for progressive spinal deformity.

Methods

Data for 161 patients undergoing resection of IMSCTs at a single institution were retrospectively collected and analyzed with regard to the development of progressive spinal deformity requiring fusion and patient functional status (based on the modified McCormick Scale [mMS] and Karnofsky Performance Scale [KPS]) by conducting telephone interviews corroborated by medical records. The independent association of all clinical, radiographic, and operative variables to subsequent progressive spinal deformity was assessed using multivariate logistic regression analysis.

Results

Patients were a mean of 8.6 ± 5.7 years old at the time of surgery. The tumor spanned a mean of six ± three spinal levels. Preoperative scoliotic deformity was present in 56 cases (35%). Seventy-six patients (47%) had undergone a previous biopsy procedure, and 28 (17%) a prior resection. Gross-total resection (> 95%) was achieved in 122 cases (76%). A median of 9 years (range 1–21) after surgery, progressive spinal deformity requiring fusion developed in 43 patients (27%). The median functional scores at the last follow-up were worse in patients who required fusion compared with those who did not (mMS: 3 compared with 2, p = 0.006; KPS: 80 compared with 90, p = 0.04) despite similar mMS scores between the groups at 3 months postoperatively. An age less than 13 years, preoperative scoliotic deformity (Cobb angle > 10°), involvement of the thoracolumbar junction, and tumor-associated syrinx independently increased the odds of a postoperative progressive deformity requiring fusion 4.4-, 3.2-, 2.6-, and 3.4-fold, respectively (p < 0.05). Each subsequent resection increased the odds of a progressive deformity 1.8-fold (p < 0.05). Symptoms lasting less than 1 month before resection decreased the odds of spinal deformity requiring fusion ninefold (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

Progressive spinal deformity requiring fusion occurred in 27% of children undergoing resection of an IMSCT and was associated with a decreased functional status. Preoperative scoliotic deformity, an increasing number of resections, an age less than 13 years, tumor-associated syrinx, and surgery spanning the thoracolumbar junction increased the risk for progressive spinal deformity. Patients possessing one or more of these characteristics should be monitored closely for progressive spinal deformity following surgery.

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Matthew J. McGirt, Kaisorn L. Chaichana, April Atiba, Frank Attenello, Kevin C. Yao and George I. Jallo

Object

With modern surgical advances, radical resection of pediatric intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs) can be expected to preserve long-term neurological function. Nevertheless, postoperative neurological decline is not uncommon after surgery, and many patients continue to experience long-term dysesthetic symptoms. Preoperative predictors of postoperative neurological decline and sensory syndromes have not been investigated and may serve as a guide for surgical risk stratification.

Methods

Neurological function (as determined using the modified McCormick Scale [mMS]) preoperatively, postoperatively, and 3 months after surgery was retrospectively recorded from patient charts in 164 consecutive patients undergoing resection of IMSCTs. A median 4 years (interquartile range [IQR] 1–8 years) after surgery, long-term motor and sensory symptoms were assessed by telephone interviews and corroborated by subsequent medical visits in 120 available patients. This long-term assessment was retrospectively reviewed for the purposes of this study. The authors reviewed this series to assess long-term motor, sensory, and urinary outcomes and to determine independent risk factors of postoperative neurological decline and long-term sensory dysfunction.

Results

Patients were 8.6 ± 5.7 years old and presented with a median mMS of 2 (IQR 2–4). Three months after surgery, 38 patients (23%) continued to experience decreased neurological function (1 mMS point) incurred perioperatively. Increasing age (p = 0.028), unilateral symptoms (p = 0.046), and urinary dysfunction at presentation (p = 0.004) independently predicted persistent 3-month perioperative decline. At long-term follow-up (median 4 years), 39 (33%) exhibited improvements in their mMS scores, 13 (30%) had improvement in their urinary dysfunction, and 27 (30%) had resolution of their dysesthesias. Seventy-eight patients (65%) experienced long-term dysesthetic symptoms. Increasing age (p = 0.024), preoperative symptom duration > 12 months (p = 0.027), and worsened postoperative mMS score at hospital discharge (p = 0.013) independently increased the risk of long-term dysesthesias.

Conclusions

In the authors' experience, nearly one third of patients may experience improvement in motor, sensory, and urinary dysfunction years after IMSCT resection, whereas the majority will continue to experience long-term dysesthetic symptoms. Improvement in motor deficits preceded improvement in sensory syndromes, and urinary dysfunction typically resolved much longer after surgery. The risk of persistent perioperative motor decline was increased with older age, unilateral symptoms, preoperative urinary symptoms, and less severe preoperative neurological deficit. The risk of long-term dysesthesias was increased with older age, increased duration of symptoms prior to resection, and greater postoperative neurological deficit.