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Ilya Lekht, Noah Brauner, Joshua Bakhsheshian, Ki-Eun Chang, Mittul Gulati, Mark S. Shiroishi, Edward G. Grant, Eisha Christian, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Intraoperative contrast-enhanced ultrasound (iCEUS) offers dynamic imaging and provides functional data in real time. However, no standardized protocols or validated quantitative data exist to guide its routine use in neurosurgery. The authors aimed to provide further clinical data on the versatile application of iCEUS through a technical note and illustrative case series.

METHODS

Five patients undergoing craniotomies for suspected tumors were included. iCEUS was performed using a contrast agent composed of lipid shell microspheres enclosing perflutren (octafluoropropane) gas. Perfusion data were acquired through a time-intensity curve analysis protocol obtained using iCEUS prior to biopsy and/or resection of all lesions.

RESULTS

Three primary tumors (gemistocytic astrocytoma, glioblastoma multiforme, and meningioma), 1 metastatic lesion (melanoma), and 1 tumefactive demyelinating lesion (multiple sclerosis) were assessed using real-time iCEUS. No intraoperative complications occurred following multiple administrations of contrast agent in all cases. In all neoplastic cases, iCEUS replicated enhancement patterns observed on preoperative Gd-enhanced MRI, facilitated safe tumor debulking by differentiating neoplastic tissue from normal brain parenchyma, and helped identify arterial feeders and draining veins in and around the surgical cavity. Intraoperative CEUS was also useful in guiding a successful intraoperative needle biopsy of a cerebellar tumefactive demyelinating lesion obtained during real-time perfusion analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative CEUS has potential for safe, real-time, dynamic contrast-based imaging for routine use in neurooncological surgery and image-guided biopsy. Intraoperative CEUS eliminates the effect of anatomical distortions associated with standard neuronavigation and provides quantitative perfusion data in real time, which may hold major implications for intraoperative diagnosis, tissue differentiation, and quantification of extent of resection. Further prospective studies will help standardize the role of iCEUS in neurosurgery.

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Meng Law, Regina Wang, Chia-Shang J. Liu, Mark S. Shiroishi, John D. Carmichael, William J. Mack, Martin Weiss, Danny J. J. Wang, Arthur W. Toga, and Gabriel Zada

Cushing’s disease is caused by adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)–secreting pituitary adenomas, which are often difficult to identify on standard 1.5-T or 3-T MRI, including dynamic contrast imaging. Inferior petrosal and cavernous sinus sampling remains the gold standard for MRI-negative Cushing’s disease.

The authors report on a 27-year-old woman with Cushing’s disease in whom the results of standard 1.5-T and 3-T MRI, including 1.5-T dynamic contrast imaging, were negative. Inferior petrosal sinus sampling showed a high central-to-peripheral ACTH ratio (148:1) as well as a right-to-left ACTH gradient (19:1), suggesting a right-sided pituitary microadenoma. The patient underwent 7-T MRI, which showed evidence of a right-sided pituitary lesion with focal hypoenhancement not visualized on 1.5-T or 3-T MRI. The patient underwent an endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal operation, with resection of a right-sided pituitary mass. Postoperatively, she developed clinical symptoms suggestive of adrenal insufficiency and a nadir cortisol level of 1.6 μg/dl on postoperative day 3, and hydrocortisone therapy was initiated. Permanent histopathology specimens showed Crooke’s hyaline change and ACTH-positive cells suggestive of an adenoma.

MRI at 7 T may be beneficial in identifying pituitary microadenoma location in cases of standard 1.5-T and 3-T MRI-negative Cushing’s disease. In the future, 7-T MRI may preempt inferior petrosal sinus sampling and help in cases of standard and dynamic contrast 1.5-T and 3-T MRI-negative Cushing’s disease.

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Ben A. Strickland, Shane Shahrestani, Robert G. Briggs, Anna Jackanich, Sherwin Tavakol, Kyle Hurth, Mark S. Shiroishi, Chia-Shang J. Liu, John D. Carmichael, Martin Weiss, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Silent corticotroph adenomas (SCAs) are a distinct subtype of nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFAs) that demonstrate positive immunohistochemistry for adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) without causing Cushing’s disease. SCAs are hypothesized to exhibit more aggressive behavior than standard NFAs. The authors analyzed their institution’s surgical experience with SCAs in an effort to characterize rates of invasion, postoperative clinical outcomes, and patterns of disease recurrence and progression. The secondary objectives were to define the best treatment strategies in the event of tumor recurrence and progression.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of patients treated at the authors’ institution identified 100 patients with SCAs and 841 patients with NFAs of other subtypes who were treated surgically from 2000 to 2019. Patient demographics, tumor characteristics, surgical and neuroimaging data, rates of endocrinopathy, and neurological outcomes were recorded. Cohorts of patients with SCAs and patients with standard NFAs were compared with regard to these characteristics and outcomes.

RESULTS

The SCA cohort presented with cranial neuropathy (13% vs 5.7%, p = 0.0051) and headache (53% vs 42.3%, p = 0.042) compared to the NFA cohort, despite similar rates of apoplexy. The SCA cohort included a higher proportion of women (SCA 60% vs NFA 45.8%, p = 0.0071) and younger age at presentation (SCA 50.5 ± 13.3 vs NFA 54.6 ± 14.9 years of age, p = 0.0082). Reoperations were comparable between the cohorts (SCA 16% vs NFA 15.7%, p = 0.98). Preoperative pituitary function was comparable between the cohorts with the exception of higher rates of preoperative panhypopituitarism in NFA patients (2% vs 6.1%, respectively; p = 0.0033). The mean tumor diameter in SCA patients was 24 ± 10.8 mm compared to 26 ± 11.3 mm in NFA patients (p = 0.05). Rates of cavernous sinus invasion were higher in the SCA group (56% vs 49.7%), although this result did not reach statistical significance. There were no significant differences in extent of resection, intraoperative CSF leak rates, endocrine or neurological outcomes, or postoperative complications. Ki-67 rates were significantly increased in the SCA cohort (2.88 ± 2.79) compared to the NFA cohort (1.94 ± 1.99) (p = 0.015). Although no differences in overall rates of progression or recurrence were noted, SCAs had a significantly lower progression-free survival (24.5 vs 51.1 months, p = 0.0011). Among the SCA cohort, progression was noted despite the use of adjuvant radiosurgery in 33% (n = 4/12) of treated tumors. Adequate tumor control was not achieved in half (n = 6) of the SCA progression cohort despite radiosurgery or multiple resections.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, to the authors’ knowledge the largest surgical series to assess outcomes in SCAs to date, the findings suggest that SCAs are more biologically aggressive tumors than standard NFAs. The progression-free survival duration of patients with SCAs is only about half that of patients with other NFAs. Therefore, close neuroimaging and clinical follow-up are warranted in patients with SCAs, and residual disease should be considered for early postoperative adjuvant radiosurgery, particularly in younger patients.

Free access

Martin J. Rutkowski, Ki-Eun Chang, Tyler Cardinal, Robin Du, Ali R. Tafreshi, Daniel A. Donoho, Andrew Brunswick, Alexander Micko, Chia-Shang J. Liu, Mark S. Shiroishi, John D. Carmichael, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary adenoma (PA) consistency, or texture, is an important intraoperative characteristic that may dictate operative dissection techniques and/or instruments used for tumor removal during endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs). The impact of PA consistency on surgical outcomes has yet to be elucidated.

METHODS

The authors developed an objective 5-point grading scale for PA consistency based on intraoperative characteristics, including ease of tumor debulking, manipulation, and instrument selection, ranging from cystic/hemorrhagic tumors (grade 1) to calcified tumors (grade 5). The proposed grading system was prospectively assessed in 306 consecutive patients who underwent an EEA for PAs, and who were subsequently analyzed for associations with surgical outcomes, including extent of resection (EOR) and complication profiles.

RESULTS

Institutional database review identified 306 patients who underwent intraoperative assessment of PA consistency, of which 96% were macroadenomas, 70% had suprasellar extension, and 44% had cavernous sinus invasion (CSI). There were 214 (69.9%) nonfunctional PAs and 92 functional PAs (31.1%). Distribution of scores included 15 grade 1 tumors (4.9%), 112 grade 2 tumors (36.6%), 125 grade 3 tumors (40.8%), 52 grade 4 tumors (17%), and 2 grade 5 tumors (0.7%). Compared to grade 1/2 and grade 3 PAs, grade 4/5 PAs were significantly larger (22.5 vs 26.6 vs 27.4 mm, p < 0.01), more likely to exhibit CSI (39% vs 42% vs 59%, p < 0.05), and trended toward nonfunctionality (67% vs 68% vs 82%, p = 0.086). Although there was no association between PA consistency and preoperative headaches or visual dysfunction, grade 4/5 PAs trended toward preoperative (p = 0.058) and postoperative panhypopituitarism (p = 0.066). Patients with preoperative visual dysfunction experienced greater improvement if they had a grade 1/2 PA (p < 0.05). Intraoperative CSF leaks were noted in 32% of cases and were more common with higher-consistency-grade tumors (p = 0.048), although this difference did not translate to postoperative CSF leaks. Gross-total resection (%) was more likely with lower PA consistency score as follows: grade 1/2 (60%), grade 3 (50%), grade 4/5 (44%; p = 0.045). Extracapsular techniques were almost exclusively performed in grade 4/5 PAs. Assignment of scores showed low variance and high reproducibility, with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.905 (95% CI 0.815–0.958), indicating excellent interrater reliability.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings demonstrate clinical validity of the proposed intraoperative grading scale with respect to PA subtype, neuroimaging features, EOR, and endocrine complications. Future studies will assess the relation of PA consistency to preoperative MRI findings to accurately predict consistency, thereby allowing the surgeon to tailor the exposure and prepare for varying resection strategies.