Cushing's disease (CD) is a state of excess glucocorticoid production resulting from an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)–secreting pituitary adenoma. The gold-standard treatment for CD is transsphenoidal adenomectomy. In the hands of an experienced neurosurgeon, gross-total resection is possible in the majority of ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas, with early postoperative remission rates ranging from 67% to 95%. In contrast to the strong data in support of resection, the clinical course of postsurgical persistent or recurrent disease remains unclear. There is significant variability in recurrence rates, with reports as high as 36% with a mean time to recurrence of 15–50 months. It is therefore important to develop biochemical criteria that define postsurgical remission and that may provide prognosis for long-term recurrence. Despite the use of a number of biochemical assessments, there is debate regarding the accuracy of these tests in predicting recurrence. Here, the authors review the various biochemical criteria and assess their utility in predicting CD recurrence after resection.
Arjun V. Pendharkar, Eric S. Sussman, Allen L. Ho, Melanie G. Hayden Gephart and Laurence Katznelson
Layton Lamsam, Eli Johnson, Ian D. Connolly, Max Wintermark and Melanie Hayden Gephart
Magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) has been used extensively to ablate brain tissue in movement disorders, such as essential tremor. At a lower energy, MRgFUS can disrupt the blood-brain barrier (BBB) to allow passage of drugs. This focal disruption of the BBB can target systemic medications to specific portions of the brain, such as for brain tumors. Current methods to bypass the BBB are invasive, as the BBB is relatively impermeable to systemically delivered antineoplastic agents. Multiple healthy and brain tumor animal models have suggested that MRgFUS disrupts the BBB and focally increases the concentration of systemically delivered antitumor chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and gene therapy. In animal tumor models, combining MRgFUS with systemic drug delivery increases median survival times and delays tumor progression. Liposomes, modified microbubbles, and magnetic nanoparticles, combined with MRgFUS, more effectively deliver chemotherapy to brain tumors. MRgFUS has great potential to enhance brain tumor drug delivery, while limiting treatment toxicity to the healthy brain.
Melanie G. Hayden Gephart, Bonnie P. Taft, Anne-Katrin Giese, Raphael Guzman and Michael S. B. Edwards
Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) has been described in pediatric neurooncology patients, although it has not been documented perioperatively in pediatric neurosurgery patients not actively receiving chemotherapy. Recently at the authors' facility, 2 cases of PRES were diagnosed perioperatively in children with brainstem ependymoma. Both patients had presented with hypertension, altered mental status, and seizures and demonstrated MR imaging features consistent with PRES. The patients were treated with antiseizure and antihypertension medications, leading to improvement in both clinical symptoms and neuroimaging findings. These cases are the first to document PRES in perioperative pediatric neurosurgery patients not actively receiving chemotherapy. Both patients had ependymoma involving the brainstem, which may have led to intra- and perioperative hemodynamic instability (including hypertension) and predisposed them to this syndrome. An awareness of PRES in similar scenarios will aid in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of pediatric neurosurgery patients with this syndrome.
Melanie G. Hayden Gephart, Robert M. Lober, Robert T. Arrigo, Corinna C. Zygourakis, Raphael Guzman, Maxwell Boakye, Michael S. B. Edwards and Paul G. Fisher
Pediatric primary spinal cord tumors (PSCTs) are rare, with limited comprehensive data regarding incidence and patterns of diagnosis and treatment. The authors evaluated trends in the diagnosis and treatment of PSCTs using a nationwide database.
The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry was queried for the years 1975–2007, evaluating clinical patterns in 330 patients 19 years of age or younger in whom a pediatric PSCT had been diagnosed. Histological diagnoses were grouped into pilocytic astrocytoma, other low-grade astrocytoma, ependymoma, and high-grade glioma. Patient demographics, tumor pathology, use of external beam radiation (EBR), and overall survival were analyzed.
The incidence of pediatric PSCT was 0.09 case per 100,000 person-years and did not change over time. Males were more commonly affected than females (58% vs 42%, respectively; p < 0.006). Over the last 3 decades, the specific diagnoses of pilocytic astrocytoma and ependymoma increased, whereas the use of EBR decreased (60.6% from 1975 to 1989 vs 31.3% from 1990 to 2007; p < 0.0001). The 5- and 10-year survival rates did not differ between these time periods.
While the incidence of pediatric PSCT has not changed over time, the pattern of pathological diagnoses has shifted, and pilocytic astrocytoma and ependymoma have been increasingly diagnosed. The use of EBR over time has declined. Relative survival of patients with low-grade PSCT has remained high regardless of the pathological diagnosis.