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Xiao Wu, Sam Payabvash, Charles C. Matouk, Michael H. Lev, Max Wintermark, Pina Sanelli, Dheeraj Gandhi, and Ajay Malhotra

OBJECTIVE

The utility of endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) in patients with acute ischemic stroke, large vessel occlusion (LVO), and low Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Scores (ASPECTS) remains uncertain. The objective of this study was to determine the health outcomes and cost-effectiveness of EVT versus medical management in patients with ASPECTS < 6.

METHODS

A decision-analytical study was performed with Markov modeling to estimate the lifetime quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and associated costs of EVT-treated patients compared to medical management. The study was performed over a lifetime horizon with a societal perspective in the US setting.

RESULTS

The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were $412,411/QALY and $1,022,985/QALY for 55- and 65-year-old groups in the short-term model. EVT was the long-term cost-effective strategy in 96.16% of the iterations and resulted in differences in health benefit of 2.21 QALYs and 0.79 QALYs in the 55- and 65-year-old age groups, respectively, equivalent to 807 days and 288 days in perfect health. EVT remained the more cost-effective strategy when the probability of good outcome with EVT was above 16.8% or as long as the good outcome associated with the procedure was at least 1.6% higher in absolute value than that of medical management. EVT remained cost-effective even when its cost exceeded $100,000 (threshold was $108,036). Although the cost-effectiveness decreased with age, EVT was cost-effective for 75-year-old patients as well.

CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests that EVT is the more cost-effective approach compared to medical management in patients with ASPECTS < 6 in the long term (lifetime horizon), considering the poor outcomes and significant disability associated with nonreperfusion.

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Leif Østergaard, Fred H. Hochberg, James D. Rabinov, A. Gregory Sorensen, Michael Lev, Lyndon Kim, Robert M. Weisskoff, R. Gilberto Gonzalez, Carsten Gyldensted, and Bruce R. Rosen

Object. In this study the authors assessed the early changes in brain tumor physiology associated with glucocorticoid administration. Glucocorticoids have a dramatic effect on symptoms in patients with brain tumors over a time scale ranging from minutes to a few hours. Previous studies have indicated that glucocorticoids may act either by decreasing cerebral blood volume (CBV) or blood-tumor barrier (BTB) permeability and thereby the degree of vasogenic edema.

Methods. Using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, the authors examined the acute changes in CBV, cerebral blood flow (CBF), and BTB permeability to gadolinium-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid after administration of dexamethasone in six patients with brain tumors. In patients with acute decreases in BTB permeability after dexamethasone administration, changes in the degree of edema were assessed using the apparent diffusion coefficient of water.

Conclusions. Dexamethasone was found to cause a dramatic decrease in BTB permeability and regional CBV but no significant changes in CBF or the degree of edema. The authors found that MR imaging provides a powerful tool for investigating the pathophysiological changes associated with the clinical effects of glucocorticoids.

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Markus M. Fitzek, Allan F. Thornton, James D. Rabinov, Michael H. Lev, Francisco S. Pardo, John E. Munzenrider, Paul Okunieff, Marc Bussière, Ilana Braun, Fred H. Hochberg, E. Tessa Hedley-Whyte, Norbert J. Liebsch, and Griffith R. Harsh IV

Object. After conventional doses of 55 to 65 Gy of fractionated irradiation, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) usually recurs at its original location. This institutional phase II study was designed to assess whether dose escalation to 90 cobalt gray equivalent (CGE) with conformal protons and photons in accelerated fractionation would improve local tumor control and patient survival.

Methods. Twenty-three patients were enrolled in this study. Eligibility criteria included age between 18 and 70 years, Karnofsky Performance Scale score of greater than or equal to 70, residual tumor volume of less than 60 ml, and a supratentorial, unilateral tumor.

Actuarial survival rates at 2 and 3 years were 34% and 18%, respectively. The median survival time was 20 months, with four patients alive 22 to 60 months postdiagnosis. Analysis by Radiation Therapy Oncology Group prognostic criteria or Medical Research Council indices showed a 5- to 11-month increase in median survival time over those of comparable conventionally treated patients. All patients developed new areas of gadolinium enhancement during the follow-up period. Histological examination of tissues obtained at biopsy, resection, or autopsy was conducted in 15 of 23 patients. Radiation necrosis only was demonstrated in seven patients, and their survival was significantly longer than that of patients with recurrent tumor (p = 0.01). Tumor regrowth occurred most commonly in areas that received doses of 60 to 70 CGE or less; recurrent tumor was found in only one case in the 90-CGE volume.

Conclusions. A dose of 90 CGE in accelerated fractionation prevented central recurrence in almost all cases. The median survival time was extended to 20 months, likely as a result of central control. Tumors will usually recur in areas immediately peripheral to this 90-CGE volume, but attempts to extend local control by enlarging the central volume are likely to be limited by difficulties with radiation necrosis.