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Andrew J. Gogos, Jacob S. Young, Matheus P. Pereira, Ramin A. Morshed, Matthew B. Potts, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

Although most patients with low-grade glioma (LGG) present after a seizure, a small proportion is diagnosed after neuroimaging is performed for a sign or symptom unrelated to the tumor. While these tumors invariably grow, some surgeons argue for a watchful waiting approach. Here, the authors report on their experience in the surgical treatment of patients with incidental LGG (iLGG) and describe the neurological outcomes, survival, and complications.

METHODS

Relevant cases were identified from a prospective registry of patients undergoing glioma resection at the University of California, San Francisco, between 1997 and 2019. Cases were considered iLGG when the lesion was noted on imaging performed for a reason unrelated to the tumor. Demographic, clinical, pathological, and imaging data were extracted from the electronic medical record. Tumor volumes, growth, and extent of resection were calculated from pre- and postoperative volumetric FLAIR sequences.

RESULTS

One hundred thirteen of 657 (17.2%) first-time resections for LGG were for incidental lesions. The most common reasons for the discovery of an iLGG were headaches (without mass effect, 34.5%) or trauma (16.8%). Incidental tumors were no different from symptomatic lesions in terms of laterality or location, but they were significantly smaller (22.5 vs 57.5 cm3, p < 0.0001). There was no difference in diagnosis between patients with iLGG and those with symptomatic LGG (sLGG), incorporating both molecular and pathological data. The median preoperative observation time for iLGG was 3.1 months (range 1 month–12 years), and there was a median growth rate of 3.9 cm3/year. Complete resection of the FLAIR abnormality was achieved in 57% of patients with incidental lesions but only 23.8% of symptomatic lesions (p < 0.001), and the residual volumes were smaller for iLGGs (2.9 vs 13.5 cm3, p < 0.0001). Overall survival was significantly longer for patients with incidental tumors (median survival not reached for patients with iLGG vs 14.6 years for those with sLGG, p < 0.0001). There was a 4.4% rate of neurological deficits at 6 months.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors present the largest cohort of iLGGs. Patient age, tumor location, and molecular genetics were not different between iLGGs and sLGGs. Incidental tumors were smaller, a greater extent of resection could be achieved, and overall survival was improved compared to those for patients with sLGG. Operative morbidity and rates of neurological deficit were acceptably low; thus, the authors advocate upfront surgical intervention aimed at maximal safe resection for these incidentally discovered lesions.

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Matheus P. Pereira, Taemin Oh, Rushikesh S. Joshi, Alexander F. Haddad, Kaitlyn M. Pereira, Robert C. Osorio, Kevin C. Donohue, Zain Peeran, Sweta Sudhir, Saket Jain, Angad Beniwal, José Gurrola II, Ivan H. El-Sayed, Lewis S. Blevins Jr., Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Sandeep Kunwar and Manish K. Aghi

OBJECTIVE

Life expectancy has increased over the past century, causing a shift in the demographic distribution toward older age groups. Elderly patients comprise up to 14% of all patients with pituitary tumors, with most lesions being nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs). Here, the authors evaluated demographics, outcomes, and postoperative complications between nonelderly adult and elderly NFPA patients.

METHODS

A retrospective review of 908 patients undergoing transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) for NFPA at a single institution from 2007 to 2019 was conducted. Clinical and surgical outcomes and postoperative complications were compared between nonelderly adult (age ≥ 18 and ≤ 65 years) and elderly patients (age > 65 years).

RESULTS

There were 614 and 294 patients in the nonelderly and elderly groups, respectively. Both groups were similar in sex (57.3% vs 60.5% males; p = 0.4), tumor size (2.56 vs 2.46 cm; p = 0.2), and cavernous sinus invasion (35.8% vs 33.7%; p = 0.6). Regarding postoperative outcomes, length of stay (1 vs 2 days; p = 0.5), extent of resection (59.8% vs 64.8% gross-total resection; p = 0.2), CSF leak requiring surgical revision (4.3% vs 1.4%; p = 0.06), 30-day readmission (8.1% vs 7.3%; p = 0.7), infection (3.1% vs 2.0%; p = 0.5), and new hypopituitarism (13.9% vs 12.0%; p = 0.3) were similar between both groups. Elderly patients were less likely to receive adjuvant radiation (8.7% vs 16.3%; p = 0.009), undergo future reoperation (3.8% vs 9.5%; p = 0.003), and experience postoperative diabetes insipidus (DI) (3.7% vs 9.4%; p = 0.002), and more likely to have postoperative hyponatremia (26.7% vs 16.4%; p < 0.001) and new cranial nerve deficit (1.9% vs 0.0%; p = 0.01). Subanalysis of elderly patients showed that patients with higher Charlson Comorbidity Index scores had comparable outcomes other than higher DI rates (8.1% vs 0.0%; p = 0.006). Elderly patients’ postoperative sodium peaked and troughed on postoperative day 3 (POD3) (mean 138.7 mEq/L) and POD9 (mean 130.8 mEq/L), respectively, compared with nonelderly patients (peak POD2: mean 139.9 mEq/L; trough POD8: mean 131.3 mEq/L).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ analysis revealed that TSS for NFPA in elderly patients is safe with low complication rates. In this cohort, more elderly patients experienced postoperative hyponatremia, while more nonelderly patients experienced postoperative DI. These findings, combined with the observation of higher DI in patients with more comorbidities and elderly patients experiencing later peaks and troughs in serum sodium, suggest age-related differences in sodium regulation after NFPA resection. The authors hope that their results will help guide discussions with elderly patients regarding risks and outcomes of TSS.

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Alexander F. Haddad, Jacob S. Young, Taemin Oh, Matheus P. Pereira, Rushikesh S. Joshi, Kaitlyn M. Pereira, Robert C. Osorio, Kevin C. Donohue, Zain Peeran, Sweta Sudhir, Saket Jain, Angad Beniwal, Ashley S. Chopra, Narpal S. Sandhu, Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Sandeep Kunwar, Ivan H. El-Sayed, José Gurrola II, Lewis S. Blevins Jr. and Manish K. Aghi

OBJECTIVE

Nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas present without biochemical or clinical signs of hormone excess and are the second most common type of pituitary adenomas. The 2017 WHO classification scheme of pituitary adenomas differentiates null-cell adenomas (NCAs) and silent gonadotroph adenomas (SGAs). The present study sought to highlight the differences in patient characteristics and clinical outcomes between NCAs and SGAs.

METHODS

The records of 1166 patients who underwent transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenoma between 2012 and 2019 at a single institution were retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographics and clinical outcomes were collected.

RESULTS

Of the overall pituitary adenoma cohort, 12.8% (n = 149) were SGAs and 9.2% (n = 107) NCAs. NCAs were significantly more common in female patients than SGAs (61.7% vs 26.8%, p < 0.001). There were no differences in patient demographics, initial tumor size, or perioperative and short-term clinical outcomes. There was no significant difference in the amount of follow-up between patients with NCAs and those with SGAs (33.8 months vs 29.1 months, p = 0.237). Patients with NCAs had significantly higher recurrence (p = 0.021), adjuvant radiation therapy usage (p = 0.002), and postoperative diabetes insipidus (p = 0.028). NCA pathology was independently associated with tumor recurrence (HR 3.64, 95% CI 1.07–12.30; p = 0.038), as were cavernous sinus invasion (HR 3.97, 95% CI 1.04–15.14; p = 0.043) and anteroposterior dimension of the tumor (HR 2.23, 95% CI 1.09–4.59; p = 0.030).

CONCLUSIONS

This study supports the definition of NCAs and SGAs as separate subgroups of nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas, and it highlights significant differences in long-term clinical outcomes, including tumor recurrence and the associated need for adjuvant radiation therapy, as well as postoperative diabetes insipidus. The authors also provide insight into independent risk factors for these outcomes in the adenoma population studied, providing clinicians with additional predictors of patient outcomes. Follow-up studies will hopefully uncover mechanisms of biological aggressiveness in NCAs and associated molecular targets.