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Michael Karsy, Mohammed A. Azab, Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Jian Guan, Ilyas Eli, Randy L. Jensen and D. Ryan Ormond

Meningiomas are among the most common intracranial pathological conditions, accounting for 36% of intracranial lesions treated by neurosurgeons. Although the majority of these lesions are benign, the classical categorization of tumors by histological type or World Health Organization (WHO) grade has not fully captured the potential for meningioma progression and recurrence. Many targeted treatments have failed to generate a long-lasting effect on these tumors. Recently, several seminal studies evaluating the genomics of intracranial meningiomas have rapidly changed the understanding of the disease. The importance of NF2 (neurofibromin 2), TRAF7 (tumor necrosis factor [TNF] receptor–associated factor 7), KLF4 (Kruppel-like factor 4), AKT1, SMO (smoothened), PIK3CA (phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha), and POLR2 (RNA polymerase II subunit A) demonstrates that there are at least 6 distinct mutational classes of meningiomas. In addition, 6 methylation classes of meningioma have been appreciated, enabling improved prediction of prognosis compared with traditional WHO grades. Genomic studies have shed light on the nature of recurrent meningioma, distinct intracranial locations and mutational patterns, and a potential embryonic cancer stem cell–like origin. However, despite these exciting findings, the clinical relevance of these findings remains elusive. The authors review the key findings from recent genomic studies in meningiomas, specifically focusing on how these findings relate to clinical insights for the practicing neurosurgeon.

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Yair M. Gozal, Gmaan Alzhrani, Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Mohammed A. Azab, Michael T. Walsh and William T. Couldwell

OBJECTIVE

Cavernous sinus meningiomas are complex tumors that offer a perpetual challenge to skull base surgeons. The senior author has employed a management strategy for these lesions aimed at maximizing tumor control while minimizing neurological morbidity. This approach emphasizes combining “safe” tumor resection and direct decompression of the roof and lateral wall of the cavernous sinus as well as the optic nerve. Here, the authors review their experience with the application of this technique for the management of cavernous sinus meningiomas over the past 15 years.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis was performed for patients with cavernous sinus meningiomas treated over a 15-year period (2002–2017) with this approach. Patient outcomes, including cranial nerve function, tumor control, and surgical complications were recorded.

RESULTS

The authors identified 50 patients who underwent subtotal resection via frontotemporal craniotomy concurrently with decompression of the cavernous sinus and ipsilateral optic nerve. Of these, 25 (50%) underwent adjuvant radiation to the remaining tumor within the cavernous sinus. Patients most commonly presented with a cranial nerve (CN) palsy involving CN III–VI (70%), a visual deficit (62%), headaches (52%), or proptosis (44%). Thirty-five patients had cranial nerve deficits preoperatively. In 52% of these cases, the neuropathy improved postoperatively; it remained stable in 46%; and it worsened in only 2%. Similarly, 97% of preoperative visual deficits either improved or were stable postoperatively. Notably, 12 new cranial nerve deficits occurred postoperatively in 10 patients. Of these, half were transient and ultimately resolved. Finally, radiographic recurrence was noted in 5 patients (10%), with a median time to recurrence of 4.6 years.

CONCLUSIONS

The treatment of cavernous sinus meningiomas using surgical decompression with or without adjuvant radiation is an effective oncological strategy, achieving excellent tumor control rates with low risk of neurological morbidity.

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Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Mohammed A. Azab, Michael Karsy, Jian Guan, Gmaan Alzhrani, Yair M. Gozal, Randy L. Jensen and William T. Couldwell

OBJECTIVE

Microsurgical resection and radiosurgery remain the most widely used interventions in the treatment of vestibular schwannomas. There is a growing demand for cost-effectiveness analyses to evaluate these two treatment modalities and delineate the factors that drive their total costs. Here, the authors evaluated specific cost drivers for microsurgical and radiosurgical management of vestibular schwannoma by using the Value Driven Outcomes system available at the University of Utah.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed all cases involving microsurgical and radiosurgical treatment of vestibular schwannomas at their institution between November 2011 and September 2017. Patient and tumor characteristics, subcategory costs, and potential cost drivers were analyzed.

RESULTS

The authors identified 163 vestibular schwannoma cases, including 116 managed microsurgically and 47 addressed with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). There were significant differences between the two groups in age, tumor size, and preoperative Koos grade (p < 0.05), suggesting that indications for treatment were markedly different. Length of stay (LOS) and length of follow-up were also significantly different. Facility costs were the most significant contributor to both microsurgical and SRS groups (58.3% and 99.4%, respectively); however, physician professional fees were not specifically analyzed. As expected, microsurgical treatment resulted in an average 4-fold greater overall cost of treatment than for SRS cases (p < 0.05), and there was a greater variation in costs for open cases as well. Costs remained stable over time for both open resection and SRS. Multivariable analysis showed that LOS (β = 0.7, p = 0.0001), discharge disposition (β = 0.2, p = 0.004), nonserviceable hearing (β = 0.1, p = 0.02), and complications (β = 0.2, p = 0.005) affected cost for open surgery, whereas no specifically examined factor could be identified as driving costs for SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

This analysis identified the fact that facility utilization constitutes the majority of total costs for both microsurgery and SRS treatment modalities of vestibular schwannomas. LOS, discharge disposition, nonserviceable hearing, and complications contributed significantly to the total costs for the microsurgical group, whereas none of the factors could be identified as driving total costs for the SRS group. This information may be used to establish policies and protocols to reduce facility costs, with the goal of decreasing the total costs without jeopardizing patient care.

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Herschel Wilde, Mohammed A. Azab, Abdullah M. Abunimer, Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Michael Karsy, Jian Guan, Sarah T. Menacho and Randy L. Jensen

OBJECTIVE

Gliomas occur in 3–4 individuals per 100,000 individuals and are one of the most common primary brain tumors. Treatment options are limited for gliomas despite the progressive nature of the disease. The authors used the Value Driven Outcomes (VDO) database to identify cost drivers and subgroups that are involved in the surgical treatment of gliomas.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort of patients with gliomas treated at the authors’ institution from August 2011 to February 2018 was evaluated using medical records and the VDO database.

RESULTS

A total of 263 patients with intracranial gliomas met the authors’ inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis (WHO grade I: 2.0%; grade II: 18.5%; grade III: 18.1%; and grade IV: 61.4%). Facility costs were the major (64.4%) cost driver followed by supplies (16.2%), pharmacy (10.1%), imaging (4.5%), and laboratory (4.7%). Univariate analysis of cost contributors demonstrated that American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status (p = 0.002), tumor recurrence (p = 0.06), Karnofsky Performance Scale score (p = 0.002), length of stay (LOS) (p = 0.0001), and maximal tumor size (p = 0.03) contributed significantly to the total costs. However, on multivariate analysis, only LOS (p = 0.0001) contributed significantly to total costs. More extensive tumor resection in WHO grade III and IV tumors was associated with significant improvement in survival (p = 0.004 and p = 0.02, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Understanding care costs is challenging because of the highly complex, fragmented, and variable nature of healthcare delivery. Adopting effective strategies that would reduce facility costs and limit LOS is likely the most important aspect in reducing intracranial glioma treatment costs.