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  • Author or Editor: Pablo A. Valdés x
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S. Scott Lollis, Pablo A. Valdes, Zhongze Li, Perry A. Ball and David W. Roberts

Object

The authors sought to determine a cause-specific mortality profile for US neurosurgeons during the period 1979–2005.

Methods

Neurosurgeons who died during the study period were identified from the Physician Master File database. Using the National Death Index, the reported cause of death was identified for 93.7% of decedents. Standardized mortality ratios were used to compare mortality risk in the study cohort to that of the US population.

Results

There was a marked reduction in mortality from virtually all causes in comparison with the control population. This finding is consistent with prior studies of mortality in physicians. The small number of deaths among female neurosurgeons precluded meaningful analysis for this group. Increased mortality risk for male neurosurgeons was seen from leukemia, nervous system disease (particularly Alzheimer disease), and aircraft accidents. Deaths from viral hepatitis and HIV infection, considered to be occupational hazards for surgeons, were less frequent than in the general population. Suicide, drug-related deaths, and alcohol-related deaths were less frequent than in the general population.

Conclusions

Neurosurgeons may be at higher risk for death from leukemia, aircraft accidents, and diseases of the nervous system, particularly Alzheimer disease; however, the mortality profile of neurosurgeons is favorable when compared with the general population.

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Pablo A. Valdés, David W. Roberts, Fa-Ke Lu, PhD and Alexandra Golby

Biomedical optics is a broadly interdisciplinary field at the interface of optical engineering, biophysics, computer science, medicine, biology, and chemistry, helping us understand light–tissue interactions to create applications with diagnostic and therapeutic value in medicine. Implementation of biomedical optics tools and principles has had a notable scientific and clinical resurgence in recent years in the neurosurgical community. This is in great part due to work in fluorescence-guided surgery of brain tumors leading to reports of significant improvement in maximizing the rates of gross-total resection. Multiple additional optical technologies have been implemented clinically, including diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and imaging, optical coherence tomography, Raman spectroscopy and imaging, and advanced quantitative methods, including quantitative fluorescence and lifetime imaging. Here we present a clinically relevant and technologically informed overview and discussion of some of the major clinical implementations of optical technologies as intraoperative guidance tools in neurosurgery.

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Maya Harary, Walid I. Essayed, Pablo A. Valdes, Nathan McDannold and G. Rees Cosgrove

OBJECTIVE

Magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) thalamotomy was recently approved for use in the treatment of medication-refractory essential tremor (ET). Previous work has described lesion appearance and volume on MRI up to 6 months after treatment. Here, the authors report on the volumetric segmentation of the thalamotomy lesion and associated edema in the immediate postoperative period and 1 year following treatment, and relate these radiographic characteristics with clinical outcome.

METHODS

Seven patients with medication-refractory ET underwent MRgFUS thalamotomy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and were monitored clinically for 1 year posttreatment. Treatment effect was measured using the Clinical Rating Scale for Tremor (CRST). MRI was performed immediately postoperatively, 24 hours posttreatment, and at 1 year. Lesion location and the volumes of the necrotic core (zone I) and surrounding edema (cytotoxic, zone II; vasogenic, zone III) were measured on thin-slice T2-weighted images using Slicer 3D software.

RESULTS

Patients had significant improvement in overall CRST scores (baseline 51.4 ± 10.8 to 24.9 ± 11.0 at 1 year, p = 0.001). The most common adverse events (AEs) in the 1-month posttreatment period were transient gait disturbance (6 patients) and paresthesia (3 patients). The center of zone I immediately posttreatment was 5.61 ± 0.9 mm anterior to the posterior commissure, 14.6 ± 0.8 mm lateral to midline, and 11.0 ± 0.5 mm lateral to the border of the third ventricle on the anterior commissure–posterior commissure plane. Zone I, II, and III volumes immediately posttreatment were 0.01 ± 0.01, 0.05 ± 0.02, and 0.33 ± 0.21 cm3, respectively. These volumes increased significantly over the first 24 hours following surgery. The edema did not spread evenly, with more notable expansion in the superoinferior and lateral directions. The spread of edema inferiorly was associated with the incidence of gait disturbance. At 1 year, the remaining lesion location and size were comparable to those of zone I immediately posttreatment. Zone volumes were not associated with clinical efficacy in a statistically significant way.

CONCLUSIONS

MRgFUS thalamotomy demonstrates sustained clinical efficacy at 1 year for the treatment of medication-refractory ET. This technology can create accurate, predictable, and small-volume lesions that are stable over time. Instances of AEs are transient and are associated with the pattern of perilesional edema expansion. Additional analysis of a larger MRgFUS thalamotomy cohort could provide more information to maximize clinical effect and reduce the rate of long-lasting AEs.

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Pablo A. Valdés, Valerie Jacobs, Brent T. Harris, Brian C. Wilson, Frederic Leblond, Keith D. Paulsen and David W. Roberts

OBJECT

Previous studies in high-grade gliomas (HGGs) have indicated that protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) accumulates in higher concentrations in tumor tissue, and, when used to guide surgery, it has enabled improved resection leading to increased progression-free survival. Despite the benefits of complete resection and the advances in fluorescence-guided surgery, few studies have investigated the use of PpIX in low-grade gliomas (LGGs). Here, the authors describe their initial experience with 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA)-induced PpIX fluorescence in a series of patients with LGG.

METHODS

Twelve patients with presumed LGGs underwent resection of their tumors after receiving 20 mg/kg of ALA approximately 3 hours prior to surgery under an institutional review board-approved protocol. Intraoperative assessments of the resulting PpIX emissions using both qualitative, visible fluorescence and quantitative measurements of PpIX concentration were obtained from tissue locations that were subsequently biopsied and evaluated histopathologically. Mixed models for random effects and receiver operating characteristic curve analysis for diagnostic performance were performed on the fluorescence data relative to the gold-standard histopathology.

RESULTS

Five of the 12 LGGs (1 ganglioglioma, 1 oligoastrocytoma, 1 pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma, 1 oligodendroglioma, and 1 ependymoma) demonstrated at least 1 instance of visible fluorescence during surgery. Visible fluorescence evaluated on a specimen-by-specimen basis yielded a diagnostic accuracy of 38.0% (cutoff threshold: visible fluorescence score ≥ 1, area under the curve = 0.514). Quantitative fluorescence yielded a diagnostic accuracy of 67% (for a cutoff threshold of the concentration of PpIX [CPpIX] > 0.0056 μg/ml, area under the curve = 0.66). The authors found that 45% (9/20) of nonvisibly fluorescent tumor specimens, which would have otherwise gone undetected, accumulated diagnostically significant levels of CPpIX that were detected quantitatively.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ initial experience with ALA-induced PpIX fluorescence in LGGs concurs with other literature reports that the resulting visual fluorescence has poor diagnostic accuracy. However, the authors also found that diagnostically significant levels of CPpIX do accumulate in LGGs, and the resulting fluorescence emissions are very often below the detection threshold of current visual fluorescence imaging methods. Indeed, at least in the authors’ initial experience reported here, if quantitative detection methods are deployed, the diagnostic performance of ALA-induced PpIX fluorescence in LGGs approaches the accuracy associated with visual fluorescence in HGGs.

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Maya Harary, David J. Segar, Kevin T. Huang, Ian J. Tafel, Pablo A. Valdes and G. Rees Cosgrove

Focused ultrasound (FUS) has been under investigation for neurosurgical applications since the 1940s. Early experiments demonstrated ultrasound as an effective tool for the creation of intracranial lesions; however, they were limited by the need for craniotomy to avoid trajectory damage and wave distortion by the skull, and they also lacked effective techniques for monitoring. Since then, the development and hemispheric distribution of phased arrays has resolved the issue of the skull and allowed for a completely transcranial procedure. Similarly, advances in MR technology have allowed for the real-time guidance of FUS procedures using MR thermometry. MR-guided FUS (MRgFUS) has primarily been investigated for its thermal lesioning capabilities and was recently approved for use in essential tremor. In this capacity, the use of MRgFUS is being investigated for other ablative indications in functional neurosurgery and neurooncology. Other applications of MRgFUS that are under active investigation include opening of the blood-brain barrier to facilitate delivery of therapeutic agents, neuromodulation, and thrombolysis. These recent advances suggest a promising future for MRgFUS as a viable and noninvasive neurosurgical tool, with strong potential for yet-unrealized applications.

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Pablo A. Valdés, Frederic Leblond, Anthony Kim, Brent T. Harris, Brian C. Wilson, Xiaoyao Fan, Tor D. Tosteson, Alex Hartov, Songbai Ji, Kadir Erkmen, Nathan E. Simmons, Keith D. Paulsen and David W. Roberts

Object

Accurate discrimination between tumor and normal tissue is crucial for optimal tumor resection. Qualitative fluorescence of protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), synthesized endogenously following δ-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) administration, has been used for this purpose in high-grade glioma (HGG). The authors show that diagnostically significant but visually imperceptible concentrations of PpIX can be quantitatively measured in vivo and used to discriminate normal from neoplastic brain tissue across a range of tumor histologies.

Methods

The authors studied 14 patients with diagnoses of low-grade glioma (LGG), HGG, meningioma, and metastasis under an institutional review board–approved protocol for fluorescence-guided resection. The primary aim of the study was to compare the diagnostic capabilities of a highly sensitive, spectrally resolved quantitative fluorescence approach to conventional fluorescence imaging for detection of neoplastic tissue in vivo.

Results

A significant difference in the quantitative measurements of PpIX concentration occurred in all tumor groups compared with normal brain tissue. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis of PpIX concentration as a diagnostic variable for detection of neoplastic tissue yielded a classification efficiency of 87% (AUC = 0.95, specificity = 92%, sensitivity = 84%) compared with 66% (AUC = 0.73, specificity = 100%, sensitivity = 47%) for conventional fluorescence imaging (p < 0.0001). More than 81% (57 of 70) of the quantitative fluorescence measurements that were below the threshold of the surgeon's visual perception were classified correctly in an analysis of all tumors.

Conclusions

These findings are clinically profound because they demonstrate that ALA-induced PpIX is a targeting biomarker for a variety of intracranial tumors beyond HGGs. This study is the first to measure quantitative ALA-induced PpIX concentrations in vivo, and the results have broad implications for guidance during resection of intracranial tumors.

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Daniel Ikeda and E. Antonio Chiocca

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David W. Roberts, Pablo A. Valdés, Brent T. Harris, Kathryn M. Fontaine, Alexander Hartov, Xiaoyao Fan, Songbai Ji, S. Scott Lollis, Brian W. Pogue, Frederic Leblond, Tor D. Tosteson, Brian C. Wilson and Keith D. Paulsen

Object

The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between intraoperative fluorescence, features on MR imaging, and neuropathological parameters in 11 cases of newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) treated using protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) fluorescence-guided resection.

Methods

In 11 patients with a newly diagnosed GBM, δ-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) was administered to enhance endogenous synthesis of the fluorophore PpIX. The patients then underwent fluorescence-guided resection, coregistered with conventional neuronavigational image guidance. Biopsy specimens were collected at different times during surgery and assigned a fluorescence level of 0–3 (0, no fluorescence; 1, low fluorescence; 2, moderate fluorescence; or 3, high fluorescence). Contrast enhancement on MR imaging was quantified using two image metrics: 1) Gd-enhanced signal intensity (GdE) on T1-weighted subtraction MR image volumes, and 2) normalized contrast ratios (nCRs) in T1-weighted, postGd-injection MR image volumes for each biopsy specimen, using the biopsy-specific image-space coordinate transformation provided by the navigation system. Subsequently, each GdE and nCR value was grouped into one of two fluorescence categories, defined by its corresponding biopsy specimen fluorescence assessment as negative fluorescence (fluorescence level 0) or positive fluorescence (fluorescence level 1, 2, or 3). A single neuropathologist analyzed the H & E–stained tissue slides of each biopsy specimen and measured three neuropathological parameters: 1) histopathological score (0–IV); 2) tumor burden score (0–III); and 3) necrotic burden score (0–III).

Results

Mixed-model analyses with random effects for individuals show a highly statistically significant difference between fluorescing and nonfluorescing tissue in GdE (mean difference 8.33, p = 0.018) and nCRs (mean difference 5.15, p < 0.001). An analysis of association demonstrated a significant relationship between the levels of intraoperative fluorescence and histopathological score (χ2 = 58.8, p < 0.001), between fluorescence levels and tumor burden (χ2 = 42.7, p < 0.001), and between fluorescence levels and necrotic burden (χ2 = 30.9, p < 0.001). The corresponding Spearman rank correlation coefficients were 0.51 (p < 0.001) for fluorescence and histopathological score, and 0.49 (p < 0.001) for fluorescence and tumor burden, suggesting a strongly positive relationship for each of these variables.

Conclusions

These results demonstrate a significant relationship between contrast enhancement on preoperative MR imaging and observable intraoperative PpIX fluorescence. The finding that preoperative MR image signatures are predictive of intraoperative PpIX fluorescence is of practical importance for identifying candidates for the procedure. Furthermore, this study provides evidence that a strong relationship exists between tumor aggressiveness and the degree of tissue fluorescence that is observable intraoperatively, and that observable fluorescence has an excellent positive predictive value but a low negative predictive value.

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Kimon Bekelis, Pablo A. Valdés, Kadir Erkmen, Frederic Leblond, Anthony Kim, Brian C. Wilson, Brent T. Harris, Keith D. Paulsen and David W. Roberts

Object

Complete resection of skull base meningiomas provides patients with the best chance for a cure; however, surgery is frequently difficult given the proximity of lesions to vital structures, such as cranial nerves, major vessels, and venous sinuses. Accurate discrimination between tumor and normal tissue is crucial for optimal tumor resection. Qualitative assessment of protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) fluorescence following the exogenous administration of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) has demonstrated utility in malignant glioma resection but limited use in meningiomas. Here the authors demonstrate the use of ALA-induced PpIX fluorescence guidance in resecting a skull base meningioma and elaborate on the advantages and disadvantages provided by both quantitative and qualitative fluorescence methodologies in skull base meningioma resection.

Methods

A 52-year-old patient with a sphenoid wing WHO Grade I meningioma underwent tumor resection as part of an institutional review board–approved prospective study of fluorescence-guided resection. A surgical microscope modified for fluorescence imaging was used for the qualitative assessment of visible fluorescence, and an intraoperative probe for in situ fluorescence detection was utilized for quantitative measurements of PpIX. The authors assessed the detection capabilities of both the qualitative and quantitative fluorescence approaches.

Results

The patient harboring a sphenoid wing meningioma with intraorbital extension underwent radical resection of the tumor with both visibly and nonvisibly fluorescent regions. The patient underwent a complete resection without any complications. Some areas of the tumor demonstrated visible fluorescence. The quantitative probe detected neoplastic tissue better than the qualitative modified surgical microscope. The intraoperative probe was particularly useful in areas that did not reveal visible fluorescence, and tissue from these areas was confirmed as tumor following histopathological analysis.

Conclusions

Fluorescence-guided resection may be a useful adjunct in the resection of skull base meningiomas. The use of a quantitative intraoperative probe to detect PpIX concentration allows more accurate determination of neoplastic tissue in meningiomas than visible fluorescence and is readily applicable in areas, such as the skull base, where complete resection is critical but difficult because of the vital structures surrounding the pathology.