William B. Feldman, Aaron J. Clark, Michael Safaee, Christopher P. Ames and Andrew T. Parsa
Myxopapillary ependymomas (MPEs) are rare WHO Grade I tumors found in the conus medullaris, cauda equina, and filum terminale. Treatment generally consists of resection with or without adjuvant radiotherapy. Evidence-based guidelines for surgical management are lacking due to the rarity of this tumor.
An English-language PubMed search was performed using the key words “myxopapillary” and “ependymoma.” Reports describing fewer than 3 patients or those lacking data on the extent of resection or radiotherapy were excluded. A total of 28 articles describing 475 patients met the authors' inclusion criteria. Patients were grouped by extent of resection and whether or not they underwent adjuvant radiotherapy. Differences in recurrence rates were assessed by chi-square test.
The overall recurrence rate was 15.5% in patients treated by gross-total resection (GTR) and 32.6% in patients treated by subtotal resection (STR), irrespective of whether they underwent adjuvant therapy (p < 0.001). Regardless of the extent of resection, adjuvant radiotherapy was not associated with a decrease in recurrence rates. The overall recurrence rate was 15.6% in patients who underwent GTR and radiotherapy compared with 15.9% in patients who underwent GTR alone (p = 0.58), and it was 29.3% in patients who underwent STR and radiotherapy compared with 35.1% in those who underwent STR alone (p = 0.53). The difference between recurrence rates for patients who underwent GTR alone versus STR and radiotherapy was statistically significant (p = 0.02). Subgroup analysis demonstrated significantly higher recurrence rates in pediatric patients compared with adults (40.5% vs 23.4%, respectively; p = 0.02). Even in the setting of GTR alone, recurrence rates were higher in pediatric patients (65% vs 7.6%; p < 0.001).
Gross-total resection alone is associated with decreased recurrence rates compared with STR with or without radiotherapy. The authors' results suggest that treatment goals should include attempted GTR whenever possible. The observation that children benefitted from radiation therapy to a greater extent than did adults suggests that biological differences between tumors in these patient populations warrants more rigorous scientific studies.
Nicholas M. Boulis, Danielle E. Turner, Michael J. Imperiale and Eva L. Feldman
Object. Virus-mediated central nervous system gene delivery is a promising means of treating traumatized tissue or degenerative diseases. In the present study, the authors examined gene expression and neuronal survival in the spinal cord after sciatic nerve administration of an adenovirus vector expressing a LacZ reporter gene.
Methods. The time course of adenovirus gene expression, DNA fragmentation, and neuronal density were quantified in rat lumbar spinal cord by staining for β-galactosidase (β-Gal), terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase, and cresyl violet after microinjection of either saline or the reporter virus into rat sciatic nerve. The expression of β-Gal following remote vector delivery peaked at 7 days and declined thereafter but was not accompanied by neuronal cell death, as measured by DNA fragmentation. No significant difference in spinal motor neuron density was detected between virus-treated and control rats at any time point examined. Although the spinal cords removed from rats treated with cyclosporine prior to adenovirus injection contained substantially more neurons staining for β-Gal at 7 days (67% of total neurons), the decay in the number of stained neurons was not paralleled by a decline in motor neuron density.
Conclusions. The authors conclude that remote gene expression is suppressed by a noncytolytic process.
Gautam U. Mehta, Michael J. Feldman, Herui Wang, Dale Ding and Prashant Chittiboina
The presence of vestibular schwannomas has long been considered an exclusion criterion for the diagnosis of schwannomatosis. Recently, 2 cases of vestibular schwannoma were reported in patients with schwannomatosis, leading to a revision of the diagnostic criteria for this genetic disorder. Overall, the relative infrequency of vestibular schwannomas in schwannomatosis is unexplained, and the genetics of this uncommon phenomenon have not been described. The authors report on a family with clinical manifestations consistent with schwannomatosis, including 4 affected members, that was identified as having an affected member harboring a unilateral cerebellopontine angle mass with extension into the internal auditory canal. Radiologically, this mass was consistent with a vestibular schwannoma and resulted in a symptomatic change in ipsilateral hearing (word recognition 86% at 52 dB) and increased latency of the wave I–V interval on auditory brainstem response testing. The patient was found to be negative for a germline mutation of NF2 and LZTR1, and her affected mother was found to harbor neither NF2 nor SMARCB1 mutations on genetic testing. Although vestibular schwannomas have been classically considered to not occur in the setting of schwannomatosis, this patient with schwannomatosis and a vestibular schwannoma further confirms that schwannomas can occur on the vestibular nerve in this syndrome. Further, this is the first such case found to be negative for a mutation on the LZTR1 gene.
Zeev Feldman, Malcolm J. Kanter, Claudia S. Robertson, Charles F. Contant, Christopher Hayes, Michael A. Sheinberg, Cynthia A. Villareal, Raj K. Narayan and Robert G. Grossman
✓ The traditional practice of elevating the head in order to lower intracranial pressure (ICP) in head-injured patients has been challenged in recent years. Some investigators argue that patients with intracranial hypertension should be placed in a horizontal position, the rationale being that this will increase the cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) and thereby improve cerebral blood flow (CBF). However, ICP is generally significantly higher when the patient is in the horizontal position. This study was undertaken to clarify the issue of optimal head position in the care of head-injured patients. The effect of 0° and 30° head elevation on ICP, CPP, CBF, mean carotid pressure, and other cerebral and systemic physiological parameters was studied in 22 head-injured patients. The mean carotid pressure was significantly lower when the patient's head was elevated at 30° than at 0° (84.3 ± 14.5 mm Hg vs. 89.5 ± 14.6 mm Hg), as was the mean ICP (14.1 ± 6.7 mm Hg vs. 19.7 ± 8.3 mm Hg). There was no statistically significant change in CPP, CBF, cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen, arteriovenous difference of lactate, or cerebrovascular resistance associated with the change in head position. The data indicate that head elevation to 30° significantly reduced ICP in the majority of the 22 patients without reducing CPP or CBF.