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Cormac O. Maher

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Kévin Beccaria, Michael Canney, Guillaume Bouchoux, Stéphanie Puget, Jacques Grill, and Alexandre Carpentier

Pediatric brain tumors are the most common solid tumor and the first cause of cancer death in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Current treatments are far from optimal in most of these tumors and the prognosis remains dismal for many of them. One of the main causes of the failure of current medical treatments is in part due to the existence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which limits drug delivery to tumors. Opening of the BBB with low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPU) has emerged during the last 2 decades as a promising technique for enhancing drug delivery to the brain. In preclinical models, enhanced delivery of a wide range of therapeutic agents, from low-molecular-weight drugs, to antibodies and immune cells, has been observed as well as tumor control and increased survival. This technique has recently entered clinical trials with extracranial and intracranial devices. The safety and feasibility of this technique has furthermore been shown in patients treated monthly for recurrent glioblastoma receiving carboplatin chemotherapy. In this review, the characteristics of the BBB in the most common pediatric brain tumors are reviewed. Then, principles and mechanisms of BBB disruption with ultrasound (US) are summarized and described at the histological and biological levels. Lastly, preclinical studies that have used US-induced BBB opening in tumor models, recent clinical trials, and the potential use of this technology in pediatrics are provided.

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Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale and Matthias Schulz

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Pierre-Aurelien Beuriat, Stephanie Puget, Giuseppe Cinalli, Thomas Blauwblomme, Kevin Beccaria, Michel Zerah, and Christian Sainte-Rose

OBJECTIVE

Hydrocephalus remains one of the more common pathologies managed in pediatric neurosurgical units. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) has an advantage over ventriculoperitoneal shunting as it enables patients to remain device free. Multiple shunt devices with various valve designs exist, with no one valve proven to be superior to another. The aim of this study was to describe the management of hydrocephalus and its long-term outcome.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all patients who had been treated for hydrocephalus at the Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades in the period from 1985 to 1995.

RESULTS

Nine hundred seventy-five children had been treated for hydrocephalus. The mean follow-up was 11 ± 7.4 years (mean ± standard deviation). The most common cause of hydrocephalus was tumor related (32.3%), followed by malformative (24.5%) and inflammatory (20.9%) causes. Two hundred eighty patients underwent ETV as the first-line treatment. The procedure was effective in controlling hydrocephalus due to posterior fossa tumors and aqueductal stenosis. Six hundred ninety-five children had initial shunt insertion, with the majority receiving an Orbis-Sigma valve (OSV). The overall OSV shunt survival was 70% at 1 year, 58% at 10 years, and 49% at 20 years. The most common cause for mechanical shunt failure was obstruction (50.7%). Overall shunt survival was statistically different between the OSV and the differential-pressure valve (p = 0.009).

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy is effective in the management of childhood hydrocephalus. Its success is directly related to the underlying pathology. In the long term, the OSV has significantly higher event-free shunt survival than the classic differential-pressure valve systems

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Aymeric Amelot, Kevin Beccaria, Thomas Blauwblomme, Marie Bourgeois, Giovanna Paternoster, Marie-Laure Cuny, Michel Zerah, Christian Sainte-Rose, and Stephanie Puget

OBJECTIVE

Arachnoid cysts (ACs) are most frequently located in the middle cranial fossa. Some patients are asymptomatic whereas others exhibit signs of increased intracranial pressure, seizures, or cognitive and behavioral symptoms. When ACs do require treatment, the optimal surgical technique remains controversial. This study was conducted to assess the most effective surgical treatment for these cysts.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed 240 temporal intracranial ACs managed over a 25-year period in their pediatric neurosurgical unit. Pre- and posttreatment results were clinically and radiologically assessed.

RESULTS

A majority of male patients (74.6%) with an overall median age of 6.9 years were included. The mean cyst size was 107 cm3; the Galassi classification showed 99 (41.3%) type I, 77 (32.1%) type II, and 64 (26.7%) type III cysts. Forty-four ACs (18.3%) were diagnosed after rupture. Surgical management was performed by microsurgery (28.3%), endoscopic cyst fenestration (14.6%), cystoperitoneal shunting (CPS; 16.2%), or subdural shunting (10%). Furthermore, 74 children (30.8%) did not undergo operations. After a mean follow-up of 4.1 years, the mean percentage decrease in cyst volume and the overall rate of clinical improvement did not significantly differ. The endoscopy group had earlier complications and a shorter event-free survival (EFS) time (EFS at 3 years = 67.7%, vs 71.5% and 90.5% for CPS and microsurgery, respectively; p < 0.007) and presented with more subdural hematomas compared to the microsurgery group (p < 0.005). The microsurgery group also showed a tendency for longer cystocisternostomy permeability than the endoscopy group.

CONCLUSIONS

Concerning the management of unruptured symptomatic temporal ACs, microsurgery appears to be the most effective treatment, with longer EFS and fewer complications compared to shunting or endoscopy.

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Kevin Beccaria, Michael Canney, Lauriane Goldwirt, Christine Fernandez, Julie Piquet, Marie-Cécile Perier, Cyril Lafon, Jean-Yves Chapelon, and Alexandre Carpentier

OBJECT

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) limits the intracerebral penetration of drugs and brain tumor treatment efficacy. The effect of ultrasound-induced BBB opening on the intracerebral concentration of temozolomide (TMZ) and irinotecan (CPT-11) was assessed.

METHODS

This study was performed using 34 healthy New Zealand rabbits. Half had unilateral BBB opening, and half served as controls. Sonications were performed by pulsing a 1.05-MHz planar ultrasound transducer with a duty cycle of 2.5% and an in situ acoustic pressure level of 0.6 MPa after injection of a microbubble ultrasound contrast agent. Drugs were injected either 5 minutes before (ChemoPreUS) or 15 minutes after (ChemoPostUS) the ultrasound sonication. The plasma and intracerebral concentrations of both drugs were quantified using ultra-performance liquid chromatography.

RESULTS

The mean intracerebral tissue-to-plasma drug concentration ratio in the control hemispheres was 34% for TMZ and 2% for CPT-11. After BBB opening, these values increased by up to 21% for TMZ and up to 178% for CPT-11. Intracerebral concentrations of drugs were enhanced in regions where the BBB was opened compared with the contralateral hemisphere (p < 0.01 and p < 0.0001 for CPT-11, p = 0.02 and p = 0.03 for TMZ, in ChemoPreUS and ChemoPostUS, respectively) and compared with the control group (p < 0.001 and p < 0.0001 for CPT-11, p < 0.01 and p = 0.02 for TMZ, in ChemoPreUS and ChemoPostUS, respectively). The intracerebral distribution of drugs was heterogeneous, depending on the distance from the ultrasound source.

CONCLUSIONS

Ultrasound-induced opening of the BBB significantly enhances the intracerebral concentration of both TMZ and CPT-11 in rabbits.

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Alexandre Roux, Kévin Beccaria, Thomas Blauwblomme, Nizar Mahlaoui, Fabrice Chretien, Pascale Varlet, Stéphanie Puget, and Johan Pallud

OBJECTIVE

Transitional care in surgical neurooncology is poorly studied. However, this period is pivotal, since it allows the patient to be empowered in his or her disease management. Here, the authors describe the experience of the Necker-Enfants Malades and the Sainte-Anne Hospital collaboration.

METHODS

The mixed transitional consultations started in September 2019 in a dedicated space for transitional care, named the “La Suite” department, located in the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital, Paris, France. The authors organized planned consultations to schedule the clinical and radiological follow-up in the adult neurosurgical department but also emergency consultations to manage tumor recurrence in young adult patients. Transitional care was performed jointly by pediatric and adult neurosurgeons who have developed clinical and research skills in the field of surgical neurooncology. Neuropathological analysis was performed by a neuropathologist who is specialized in pediatric and adult neurooncology.

RESULTS

Fourteen patients benefited from a mixed transitional consultation. All of them accepted to start their management in an adult neurosurgical environment. Eleven patients (78.6%) for whom the disease was controlled benefited from a planned consultation. Three patients (21.4%) required rapid neurosurgical management for a tumor recurrence (n = 2) or for a new primary CNS tumor (n = 1) and benefited from an emergency consultation.

CONCLUSIONS

For adult patients harboring a brain tumor during childhood or adolescence, the authors suggest that neurosurgeons specialized in adult surgical neurooncology with a full knowledge in pediatric neurooncology will combine the required skills to optimize care management for these patients within a dedicated multidisciplinary organization framework.

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Lelio Guida, Kevin Beccaria, Sandro Benichi, Anaïs Chivet, Timothée de Saint Denis, Syril James, Giovanna Paternoster, Michel Zerah, Stéphanie Puget, and Thomas Blauwblomme

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric patients with long-term shunts may experience specific complications related to the segregation of the supra- and infratentorial spaces along with different pressure regimens, leading to either mesencephalic syndromes during shunt dysfunction or isolated fourth ventricle (IFV). An accepted treatment to reestablish normal CSF pathways and reequilibrate the transtentorial pressures is endoscopic aqueductal stenting (EAS) to avoid restenosis. In the present paper, the authors studied children treated with EAS during the last decade for both IFV and obstructive hydrocephalus, evaluated its impact on the course of the disease, and identified prognostic factors for EAS success.

METHODS

A noninterventional retrospective study of routinely acquired data was performed, including all hydrocephalic children undergoing EAS between 2011 and 2019 at Hôpital Necker, Paris, France. The following variables were analyzed: etiology of hydrocephalus; number of surgeries before and after stent placement; indication for EAS; type of stent connection (i.e., connected or not to a ventriculoperitoneal shunt); and the stent position. Stent failure was defined as the need to perform further shunt revision. Univariate and multivariate analyses were run to identify factors associated with stent failure.

RESULTS

Seventeen patients with a mean age at stent placement of 6 years (SD 6.5 years, range 1 month–18 years) and with a mean follow-up after EAS of 47.5 months (SD 33.7 months, range 5–120 months) were included in the analysis. The etiology of hydrocephalus was as follows: obstructive tumoral (41%), posthemorrhagic (35%), postinfectious (12%), and dysraphism related (12%). The indication for EAS was IFV (47%), rostral midbrain dysfunction syndrome (35%), prevention of secondary aqueductal stenosis after debulking surgery (12%), or primary aqueductal stenosis (6%). No transient or permanent neurological deficits related to the procedure were observed. After EAS, 10 patients did not require further surgeries (59%), and for the others the number of hydrocephalus-related surgeries significantly decreased after stenting. In univariate analysis posthemorrhagic etiology and prevention of aqueductal stenosis were identified as predictors of a good outcome, whereas in multivariate analysis posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus was found to predict a favorable outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

The results confirm EAS as a first-line treatment for IFV and suggest its efficacy in changing the history of hydrocephalic patients who have undergone multiple operations and who experience rostral midbrain dysfunction syndrome, as well as efficacy in the prevention of aqueductal stenosis in selected cases of obstructive tumoral hydrocephalus.

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Alexandre Roux, Kévin Beccaria, Thomas Blauwblomme, Nizar Mahlaoui, Fabrice Chretien, Pascale Varlet, Stéphanie Puget, and Johan Pallud

OBJECTIVE

Transitional care in surgical neurooncology is poorly studied. However, this period is pivotal, since it allows the patient to be empowered in his or her disease management. Here, the authors describe the experience of the Necker-Enfants Malades and the Sainte-Anne Hospital collaboration.

METHODS

The mixed transitional consultations started in September 2019 in a dedicated space for transitional care, named the “La Suite” department, located in the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital, Paris, France. The authors organized planned consultations to schedule the clinical and radiological follow-up in the adult neurosurgical department but also emergency consultations to manage tumor recurrence in young adult patients. Transitional care was performed jointly by pediatric and adult neurosurgeons who have developed clinical and research skills in the field of surgical neurooncology. Neuropathological analysis was performed by a neuropathologist who is specialized in pediatric and adult neurooncology.

RESULTS

Fourteen patients benefited from a mixed transitional consultation. All of them accepted to start their management in an adult neurosurgical environment. Eleven patients (78.6%) for whom the disease was controlled benefited from a planned consultation. Three patients (21.4%) required rapid neurosurgical management for a tumor recurrence (n = 2) or for a new primary CNS tumor (n = 1) and benefited from an emergency consultation.

CONCLUSIONS

For adult patients harboring a brain tumor during childhood or adolescence, the authors suggest that neurosurgeons specialized in adult surgical neurooncology with a full knowledge in pediatric neurooncology will combine the required skills to optimize care management for these patients within a dedicated multidisciplinary organization framework.

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Kevin Beccaria, Michael Canney, Lauriane Goldwirt, Christine Fernandez, Clovis Adam, Julie Piquet, Gwennhael Autret, Olivier Clément, Cyril Lafon, Jean-Yves Chapelon, and Alexandre Carpentier

Object

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a major impediment to the intracerebral diffusion of drugs used in the treatment of gliomas. Previous studies have demonstrated that pulsed focused ultrasound (US) in conjunction with a microbubble contrast agent can be used to open the BBB. To apply the US-induced opening of the BBB in clinical practice, the authors designed an innovative unfocused US device that can be implanted in the skull and used to transiently and repeatedly open the BBB during a standard chemotherapy protocol. The goal of this preliminary work was to study the opening of the BBB induced by the authors' small unfocused US transducer and to evaluate the effects of the sonications on brain parenchyma.

Methods

Craniectomy was performed in 16 healthy New Zealand White rabbits; epidural application of a single-element planar ultrasonic transducer operating at 1 MHz was then used with a pulse-repetition frequency of 1 Hz, pulse lengths of 10–35 msec, in situ acoustic pressure levels of 0.3–0.8 MPa, and sonication for 60–120 seconds. SonoVue was intravenously injected during the US applications, and opening of the BBB was determined by detecting extravasation of Evans blue dye (EBD) in brain tissues, quantitative measurement of EBD with UV-visible spectrophotometry, and contrast enhancement after Gd injection in 4.7-T MRI. A histological study was performed to determine adverse effects.

Results

An opening of the BBB was observed over a large extent of the US beam in the brain corresponding to in situ pressures of greater than 0.2 MPa. The BBB opening observed was highly significant for both EBD (p < 0.01) and MRI Gd enhancement (p < 0.0001). The BBB opening was associated with minor adverse effects that included perivascular red blood cell extravasations that were less than 150 μm in size and not visible on MR images. Moderate edema was visible on FLAIR sequences and limited to the extent of the sonication field.

Conclusions

The results demonstrate that the BBB can be opened in large areas of the brain in rabbits with lowpower, pulsed, and unfocused US with limited damage to healthy tissue.