✓Despite recent successes in the treatment of cancer with multidisciplinary multimodal treatment approaches, the duration of survival for patients with malignant glioma remains limited. Malignant gliomas represent a class of infiltrative, aggressive neoplasms that are generally resistant to combination therapies. The basic approach to treatment has involved a combination of surgery and radiotherapy. The use of chemotherapy has been met with skepticism because of its limited efficacy and the significant side effects demonstrated in clinical trials. Nevertheless, based on findings in randomized trials of new agents, it has been suggested that further evaluation of the role of chemotherapy is warranted. Temozolomide and Gliadel (carmustine wafers) are generally well tolerated due to their limited systemic toxicity. These agents appear particularly well suited for incorporation into multimodal treatment strategies. Proposed investigations and ongoing clinical trials will be conducted to assess the use of these agents in novel combination therapies. Future treatment strategies may include a wide variety of biological response modifiers, but will need to continue to address local control with surgery, radiation, and adjuvant chemotherapy.
Lynn S. Ashby and Timothy C. Ryken
Marcus F. Keep, Paul A. DeMare and Lynn S. Ashby
Object. The authors tested the hypothesis that two targets are needed to treat postherpetic trigeminal neuralgia (TN): one in the trigeminal nerve for the direct sharp pain and one in the thalamus for the diffuse burning pain.
Methods. Three patients with refractory postherpetic TN were treated with gamma knife surgery (GKS) through a novel two-target approach. In a single treatment session, both the trigeminal nerve and centromedian nucleus were targeted. First, the trigeminal nerve, ipsilateral to the facial pain, was treated with 60 to 80 Gy. Second, the centromedian nucleus was localized using standard coordinates and by comparing magnetic resonance images with a stereotactic atlas. A single dose of 120 to 140 Gy was delivered to the target point with a single 4-mm isocenter. Patients were followed clinically and with neuroimaging studies. Pain relief was scored as excellent (75–100%), good (50–75%), poor (25–50%), or none (0–25%). Follow up ranged from 6 to 53 months.
There were no GKS-related complications. Two patients died of unrelated medical illnesses but had good or excellent pain relief until death. One patient continues to survive with 44 months follow up and no decrease in pain intensity, but with a decreased area of pain.
Conclusions. Combined GKS of the centromedian nucleus and trigeminal nerve in a single treatment session is feasible and safe, and the effect was promising. A larger study is required to confirm and expand these results.
Marcus F. Keep, Lois Mastrofrancesco, Daniel Erdman, Brent Murphy and Lynn S. Ashby
✓ The authors present the neuroimaging, treatment planning, and radiosurgical technique for the first reported case of unilateral radiosurgical subthalamotomy, which was performed to control motor symptoms associated with advanced Parkinson disease (PD) in a patient who had undergone previous contralateral radiofrequency (RF) pallidotomy.
A 73-year-old woman with end-stage PD had undergone RF pallidotomy of the right globus pallidus with resolution of symptoms. Two years following this procedure, due to the natural progression of her disease, she suffered recurrent motor fluctuations, dyskinesia, and worsening bradykinesia of the right side. Her Parkinson's Disease Disability Rating (PDDR) score was 28. Computerized tomography and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging were used to localize the left subthalamic nucleus (STN). The patient underwent gamma knife radiosurgery—a single shot of 120 Gy was administered using the 4-mm collimator helmet.
The patient was evaluated up to 42 months after the procedure. The dyskinesia became minimal. Right-sided motor control improved as did her balance. At 3 months after treatment MR imaging demonstrated the radiosurgical lesion in the left STN. At 3.5 years postradiosurgery, she experienced minimal focal (oral) dyskinesia, no bradykinesia or rigidity, and her PDDR score was 11.
Radiosurgery of the STN in this case was safe and effective. The STN is a readily localized anatomical target with neuroimaging. Radiosurgery avoids the risks of open procedures.
Marcus F. Keep, Lois Mastrofrancesco, Arthur D. Craig and Lynn S. Ashby
✓The authors report the neuroimaging features, treatment planning, and outcome in a case of radiosurgical thalamotomy targeting the centromedian nucleus (CMN) for stroke-induced thalamic pain.
A 79-year-old man, with embolic occlusion of the left middle cerebral artery and large hemispheric infarction involving the thalamus, suffered a right hemiplegia and expressive aphasia. One year poststroke, severe right-sided facial, scalp, arm, and trunk pain developed and was exacerbated by any tactile contact. Medical treatment had failed. Medical illness, including mandatory anticoagulation therapy for atrial fibrillation, precluded surgical procedures. Minimally invasive radiosurgery was offered as an alternative. Magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography were used to localize the left CMN. A single shot of 140 Gy was delivered to the 100% isodose line by using the 4-mm collimator helmet.
The patient was evaluated at regular intervals. By 12 weeks posttreatment, he had significant improvements in pain control and his ability to tolerate physical contact during activities of daily living. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated baseline encephalomalacia from his prior stroke, and signal changes in the left CMN consistent with gamma irradiation–based thalamotomy. Currently, nearly 7 years after radiosurgery, he continues to enjoy a marked reduction in pain without the need of analgesic medications.
Thalamic pain syndrome is generally refractory to conventional treatment. Neurosurgical interventions provide modest benefit and carry associated risks of invasive surgery and anesthesia. The CMN is readily localized with neuroimaging and is an approximate target to reduce the suffering aspect of pain. In this case, radiosurgery was a safe and effective treatment, providing durable symptom control and improved quality of life.
David S. Xu, Al-Wala Awad, Chad Mehalechko, Jeffrey R. Wilson, Lynn S. Ashby, Stephen W. Coons and Nader Sanai
Seizures are the most common presenting symptom of newly diagnosed WHO Grade II gliomas (low-grade glioma [LGG]) and significantly impair quality of life. Although gross-total resection of LGG is associated with better seizure control, it remains unclear whether an extent of resection (EOR) “threshold” exists for long-term seizure control. Specifically, what proportion of FLAIR-positive tissue in patients with newly diagnosed LGG must be removed to achieve Engel Class I seizure freedom? To clarify the EOR threshold for long-term seizure control, the authors analyzed data from a consecutive series of patients with newly diagnosed LGG who presented with seizures and subsequently underwent microsurgical resection.
The authors identified consecutive patients with newly diagnosed LGG who presented with seizures and were treated at the Barrow Neurological Institute between 2002 and 2012. Patients were dichotomized into those who were seizure free postoperatively and those who were not. The EOR was calculated by quantitative comparison of pre- and postoperative MRI. Univariate analysis of these 2 groups included the chi-square test and the Mann-Whitney U-test, and a multivariate logistic regression was constructed to predict the impact of multiple independent variables on the likelihood of postoperative seizure freedom. To determine a threshold of EOR that optimizes seizure freedom, a receiver operating characteristic curve was plotted and the optimal point of discrimination was determined.
Data from 128 patients were analyzed (male/female ratio 1.37:1; mean age 40.8 years). All 128 patients presented with seizures, usually generalized (n = 57, 44.5%) or simple partial (n = 57, 44.5%). The median EOR was 90.0%. Of 128 patients, 46 (35.9%) had 100% volumetric tumor resection, 64 (50.0%) had 90%–99% volumetric tumor resection, and 11 (8.6%) had 80%–89% volumetric tumor resection. Postoperatively, 105 (82%) patients were seizure free (Engel Class I); 23 (18%) were not (Engel Classes II–IV). The proportion of seizure-free patients increased in proportion to the EOR. Predictive variables included in the regression model were preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale score, seizure type, time from diagnosis to surgery, preoperative number of antiepileptic drugs, and EOR. Only EOR significantly affected the likelihood of postoperative Engel Class I status (OR 11.5, 95% CI 2.4–55.6; p = 0.002). The receiver operating characteristic curve generated based on Engel Class I status showed a sensitivity of 0.65 and 1 – specificity of 0.175, corresponding to an EOR of 80%.
For adult patients with LGG who suffer seizures, the results suggest that seizure freedom can be attained when EOR > 80% is achieved. Improvements in both the proportion of seizure-free patients and the durability of seizure freedom were observed beyond this 80% threshold. Interestingly, this putative EOR seizure-freedom threshold closely approximates that reported for the overall survival benefit in newly diagnosed hemispheric LGGs, suggesting that a minimum level of residual tumor burden is necessary for both disease and symptomatic progression.
Kris A. Smith, Lynn S. Ashby, L. Fernando Gonzalez, David G. Brachman, Terry Thomas, Stephen W. Coons, Matthew Battaglia and Adrienne C. Scheck
The purpose of this study was to determine whether increased local control and improved survival can be achieved in patients with glioblastoma multiformes (GBMs) who undergo aggressive resection, Gliadel wafer implantation, Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKS), and fractionated radiotherapy (RT) as the initial treatment.
Thirty patients with radiographically suspected GBMs were screened for enrollment in a Phase I/II prospective clinical trial. Twenty-seven patients were eligible and underwent gross-total resection and Gliadel wafer implantation. Gamma Knife radiosurgery (12 Gy at 50%) was administered to the resection cavity within 2 weeks of surgery. Patients then received standard fractionated RT (total dose 60 Gy over 6 weeks). Temozolomide was prescribed for patients at the time of recurrence. Surveillance MR imaging, neurological examination, and quality-of-life evaluations were performed at 2-month intervals. To estimate the potential effects on the DNA repair mechanism, tumor tissue was analyzed with methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction analysis and immunohistochemical assays for MGMT gene promoter methylation and protein expression.
The median survival for all patients was 50 weeks and the 2-year survival rate was 22%. When stratified into standard and high-risk patient groups, the median survivals were 76 and 33 weeks, respectively. Two patients remain alive at the time of this report with no clinical or radiographic evidence of disease at > 189 and 239 weeks posttreatment and excellent performance status. Local tumor control was achieved in 53% of patients, and local failure occurred in 47%. No acute early toxicity was noted; however, delayed symptomatic radionecrosis occurred in 47% of patients, which required repeated operations 9–24 months after the initial treatment. Delayed hydrocephalus requiring ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement occurred in 47% of patients. There was a significant difference in survival between patients whose tumors contained the methylated and unmethylated MGMT promoter, 103 versus 45 weeks, respectively (p = 0.0009, log-rank test).
The combination of aggressive resection, Gliadel wafer implantation, and GKS in addition to standard fractionated RT in selected patients resulted in increased local control and increased survival compared with a historical control group treated with surgery and involved-field RT alone. Delayed focal radionecrosis was increased to 47% in this series and was managed with steroids and repeated resection. Aggressive local tumor control with these multimodal therapies should be approached judiciously for a select group of high performance patients and the probability of developing symptomatic radionecrosis requiring surgery should be anticipated and fully disclosed to patients who undergo this treatment.
Laura A. Snyder, Andrew B. Wolf, Mark E. Oppenlander, Robert Bina, Jeffrey R. Wilson, Lynn Ashby, David Brachman, Stephen W. Coons, Robert F. Spetzler and Nader Sanai
Recent evidence suggests that a greater extent of resection (EOR) extends malignant progression-free survival among patients with low-grade gliomas (LGGs). These studies, however, rely on the combined analysis of oligodendrogliomas, astrocytomas, and mixed oligoastrocytomas—3 histological subtypes with distinct genetic and molecular compositions. To assess the value of EOR in a homogeneous LGG patient population and delineate its impact on LGG transformation, the authors examined its effect on newly diagnosed supratentorial oligodendrogliomas.
The authors identified 93 newly diagnosed adult patients with WHO Grade II oligodendrogliomas treated with microsurgical resection at Barrow Neurological Institute. Clinical, laboratory, and radiographic data were collected retrospectively, including 1p/19q codeletion status and volumetric analysis based on T2-weighted MRI.
The median preoperative and postoperative tumor volumes and EOR were 29.0 cm3 (range 1.3–222.7 cm3), 5.2 cm3 (range 0–156.1 cm3), and 85% (range 6%–100%), respectively. Median follow-up was 75.4 months, and there were 14 deaths (15%). Progression and malignant progression were identified in 31 (33%) and 20 (22%) cases, respectively. A greater EOR was associated with longer overall survival (p = 0.005) and progression-free survival (p = 0.004); however, a greater EOR did not prolong the interval to malignant progression, even when controlling for 1p/19q codeletion.
A greater EOR is associated with an improved survival profile for patients with WHO Grade II oligodendrogliomas. However, for this particular LGG patient population, the interval to tumor transformation is not influenced by cytoreduction. These data raise the possibility that the capacity for microsurgical resection to modulate malignant progression is mediated through biological mechanisms specific to nonoligodendroglioma LGG histologies.
Tejas Sankar, Nina Z. Moore, Joshua Johnson, Lynn S. Ashby, Adrienne C. Scheck, William R. Shapiro, Kris A. Smith, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul
Oligodendrogliomas that enhance on MR images are associated with poor prognosis. However, the importance of the volume of enhancing tumor tissue, and the extent of its resection, is uncertain. The authors examined the prognostic significance of preoperative and residual postoperative enhancing tissue volumes in a large single-center series of patients with oligodendroglioma. They also examined the relationship between enhancement and characteristic genetic signatures in oligodendroglial tumors, specifically deletion of 1p and 19q (del 1p/19q).
The authors retrospectively analyzed 100 consecutive cases of oligodendroglioma involving patients who had undergone T1-weighted gadolinium-enhanced MRI at diagnosis and immediately after initial surgical intervention. The presence of preoperative enhancement was determined by consensus. Preoperative and residual postoperative volumes were measured using a quantitative, semiautomated method by a single blinded observer. Intrarater reliability for preoperative volumes was confirmed by remeasurement in a subset of patients 3 months later. Intrarater and interrater reliability for residual postoperative volumes was confirmed by remeasurement of these volumes by both the original and a second blinded observer. Multivariate analysis was used to assess the influence of contrast enhancement at diagnosis and the volume of pre- and postoperative contrast-enhancing tumor tissue on time to relapse (TTR) and overall survival (OS), while controlling for confounding clinical, pathological, and genetic factors.
Sixty-three of 100 patients had enhancing tumors at initial presentation. Presence of contrast enhancement at diagnosis was related to reduced TTR and OS on univariate analysis but was not significantly related on multivariate analysis. In enhancing tumors, however, greater initial volume of enhancing tissue correlated with shortened TTR (p = 0.00070). Reduced postoperative residual enhancing volume and a relatively greater resection of enhancing tissue correlated with longer OS (p = 0.0012 and 0.0041, respectively). Interestingly, patients in whom 100% of enhancing tumor was resected had significantly longer TTR (174 vs 64 weeks) and OS (392 vs 135 weeks) than those with any residual enhancing tumor postoperatively. This prognostic benefit was not consistently maintained with greater than 90% or even greater than 95% resection of enhancing tissue. There was no relationship between presence or volume of enhancement and del 1p/19q.
In enhancing oligodendrogliomas, completely resecting enhancing tissue independently improves outcome, irrespective of histological grade or genetic status. This finding supports aggressive resection and may impact treatment planning for patients with these tumors.
Leland Rogers, Peixin Zhang, Michael A. Vogelbaum, Arie Perry, Lynn S. Ashby, Jignesh M. Modi, Anthony M. Alleman, James Galvin, David Brachman, Joseph M. Jenrette, John De Groot, Joseph A. Bovi, Maria Werner-Wasik, Jonathan P. S. Knisely and Minesh P. Mehta
This is the first clinical outcomes report of NRG Oncology RTOG 0539, detailing the primary endpoint, 3-year progression-free survival (PFS), compared with a predefined historical control for intermediate-risk meningioma, and secondarily evaluating overall survival (OS), local failure, and prospectively scored adverse events (AEs).
NRG Oncology RTOG 0539 was a Phase II clinical trial allocating meningioma patients to 1 of 3 prognostic groups and management strategies according to WHO grade, recurrence status, and resection extent. For the intermediate-risk group (Group 2), eligible patients had either newly diagnosed WHO Grade II meningioma that had been treated with gross-total resection (GTR; Simpson Grades I–III) or recurrent WHO Grade I meningioma with any resection extent. Pathology and imaging were centrally reviewed. Patients were treated with radiation therapy (RT), either intensity modulated (IMRT) or 3D conformal (3DCRT), 54 Gy in 30 fractions. The RT target volume was defined as the tumor bed and any nodular enhancement (e.g., in patients with recurrent WHO Grade I tumors) with a minimum 8-mm and maximum 15-mm margin, depending on tumor location and setup reproducibility of the RT method. The primary endpoint was 3-year PFS. Results were compared with historical controls (3-year PFS: 70% following GTR alone and 90% with GTR + RT). AEs were scored using NCI Common Toxicity Criteria.
Fifty-six patients enrolled in the intermediate-risk group, of whom 3 were ineligible and 1 did not receive RT. Of the 52 patients who received protocol therapy, 4 withdrew without a recurrence before 3 years leaving 48 patients evaluable for the primary endpoint, 3-year PFS, which was actuarially 93.8% (p = 0.0003). Within 3 years, 3 patients experienced events affecting PFS: 1 patient with a WHO Grade II tumor died of the disease, 1 patient with a WHO Grade II tumor had disease progression but remained alive, and 1 patient with recurrent WHO Grade I meningioma died of undetermined cause without tumor progression. The 3-year actuarial local failure rate was 4.1%, and the 3-year OS rate was 96%. After 3 years, progression occurred in 2 additional patients: 1 patient with recurrent WHO Grade I meningioma and 1 patient with WHO Grade II disease; both remain alive. Among 52 evaluable patients who received protocol treatment, 36 (69.2%) had WHO Grade II tumors and underwent GTR, and 16 (30.8%) had recurrent WHO Grade I tumors. There was no significant difference in PFS between these subgroups (p = 0.52, HR 0.56, 95% CI 0.09–3.35), validating their consolidation. Of the 52 evaluable patients, 44 (84.6%) received IMRT, and 50 (96.2%) were treated per protocol or with acceptable variation. AEs (definitely, probably, or possibly related to protocol treatment) were limited to Grade 1 or 2, with no reported Grade 3 events.
This is the first clinical outcomes report from NRG Oncology RTOG 0539. Patients with intermediate-risk meningioma treated with RT had excellent 3-year PFS, with a low rate of local failure and a low risk of AEs. These results support the use of postoperative RT for newly diagnosed gross-totally resected WHO Grade II or recurrent WHO Grade I meningioma irrespective of resection extent. They also document minimal toxicity and high rates of tumor control with IMRT.
Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00895622 (clinicaltrials.gov).
Mark E. Oppenlander, Andrew B. Wolf, Laura A. Snyder, Robert Bina, Jeffrey R. Wilson, Stephen W. Coons, Lynn S. Ashby, David Brachman, Peter Nakaji, Randall W. Porter, Kris A. Smith, Robert F. Spetzler and Nader Sanai
Despite improvements in the medical and surgical management of patients with glioblastoma, tumor recurrence remains inevitable. For recurrent glioblastoma, however, the clinical value of a second resection remains uncertain. Specifically, what proportion of contrast-enhancing recurrent glioblastoma tissue must be removed to improve overall survival and what is the neurological cost of incremental resection beyond this threshold?
The authors identified 170 consecutive patients with recurrent supratentorial glioblastomas treated at the Barrow Neurological Institute from 2001 to 2011. All patients previously had a de novo glioblastoma and following their initial resection received standard temozolomide and fractionated radiotherapy.
The mean clinical follow-up was 22.6 months and no patient was lost to follow-up. At the time of recurrence, the median preoperative tumor volume was 26.1 cm3. Following re-resection, median postoperative tumor volume was 3.1 cm3, equating to an 87.4% extent of resection (EOR). The median overall survival was 19.0 months, with a median progression-free survival following re-resection of 5.2 months. Using Cox proportional hazards analysis, the variables of age, Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score, and EOR were predictive of survival following repeat resection (p = 0.0001). Interestingly, a significant survival advantage was noted with as little as 80% EOR. Recursive partitioning analysis validated these findings and provided additional risk stratification at the highest levels of EOR. Overall, at 7 days after surgery, a deterioration in the NIH stroke scale score by 1 point or more was observed in 39.1% of patients with EOR ≥ 80% as compared with 16.7% for those with EOR < 80% (p = 0.0049). This disparity in neurological morbidity, however, did not endure beyond 30 days postoperatively (p = 0.1279).
For recurrent glioblastomas, an improvement in overall survival can be attained beyond an 80% EOR. This survival benefit must be balanced against the risk of neurological morbidity, which does increase with more aggressive cytoreduction, but only in the early postoperative period. Interestingly, this putative EOR threshold closely approximates that reported for newly diagnosed glioblastomas, suggesting that for a subset of patients, the survival benefit of microsurgical resection does not diminish despite biological progression.