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Pascal O. Zinn, Oliver Bozinov, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Robert Reisch, M. Gazi Yaşargil and Helmut Bertalanffy

Mechanical obstruction is a severe complication of ventricular catheter use. Its incidence was shown to be high in the 1960s and 1970s, with up to 41% of the catheters becoming obstructed within 10 years after surgery. The authors present what is to their knowledge the first reported case of a patient with failure of a Torkildsen shunt after 50 years of functioning. A 60-year-old woman presented with increasing gait ataxia, decline in cognitive functions (including short-term memory loss), and slight urinary incontinence. The diagnosis of hydrocephalus and thus malfunction of the Torkildsen shunt implanted 50 years previously was confirmed by MR images, which revealed a prominent triventricular hydrocephalus. The patient subsequently underwent endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), the current surgical treatment of choice, resulting in total resolution of her neurological symptoms and amelioration of cerebral tissue distension. Decrease in ventricle dilation and success of the ETV were confirmed on postoperative follow-up MR images.

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Marta Rossetto, Luca Persano, Renato Scienza and Alessandro Della Puppa

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Kristopher T. Kahle, David Kozono, Kimberly Ng, Grace Hsieh, Pascal O. Zinn, Masayuki Nitta and Clark C. Chen

Our understanding of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common form of primary brain cancer, has been significantly advanced by recent efforts to characterize the cancer genome using unbiased high-throughput sequencing analyses. While these studies have documented hundreds of mutations, gene copy alterations, and chromosomal abnormalities, only a subset of these alterations are likely to impact tumor initiation or maintenance. Furthermore, genes that are not altered at the genomic level may play essential roles in tumor initiation and maintenance. Identification of these genes is critical for therapeutic development and investigative methodologies that afford insight into biological function. This requirement has largely been fulfilled with the emergence of RNA interference (RNAi) and high-throughput screening technology. In this article, the authors discuss the application of genome-wide, high-throughput RNAi-based genetic screening as a powerful tool for the rapid and cost-effective identification of genes essential for cancer proliferation and survival. They describe how these technologies have been used to identify genes that are themselves selectively lethal to cancer cells, or synthetically lethal with other oncogenic mutations. The article is intended to provide a platform for how RNAi libraries might contribute to uncovering glioma cell vulnerabilities and provide information that is highly complementary to the structural characterization of the glioblastoma genome. The authors emphasize that unbiased, systems-level structural and functional genetic approaches are complementary efforts that should facilitate the identification of genes involved in the pathogenesis of GBM and permit the identification of novel drug targets.

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Arvind Rao, Ganesh Rao, David A. Gutman, Adam E. Flanders, Scott N. Hwang, Daniel L. Rubin, Rivka R. Colen, Pascal O. Zinn, Rajan Jain, Max Wintermark, Justin S. Kirby, C. Carl Jaffe, John Freymann and TCGA Glioma Phenotype Research Group

OBJECT

Individual MRI characteristics (e.g., volume) are routinely used to identify survival-associated phenotypes for glioblastoma (GBM). This study investigated whether combinations of MRI features can also stratify survival. Furthermore, the molecular differences between phenotype-induced groups were investigated.

METHODS

Ninety-two patients with imaging, molecular, and survival data from the TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas)-GBM collection were included in this study. For combinatorial phenotype analysis, hierarchical clustering was used. Groups were defined based on a cutpoint obtained via tree-based partitioning. Furthermore, differential expression analysis of microRNA (miRNA) and mRNA expression data was performed using GenePattern Suite. Functional analysis of the resulting genes and miRNAs was performed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. Pathway analysis was performed using Gene Set Enrichment Analysis.

RESULTS

Clustering analysis reveals that image-based grouping of the patients is driven by 3 features: volume-class, hemorrhage, and T1/FLAIR-envelope ratio. A combination of these features stratifies survival in a statistically significant manner. A cutpoint analysis yields a significant survival difference in the training set (median survival difference: 12 months, p = 0.004) as well as a validation set (p = 0.0001). Specifically, a low value for any of these 3 features indicates favorable survival characteristics. Differential expression analysis between cutpoint-induced groups suggests that several immune-associated (natural killer cell activity, T-cell lymphocyte differentiation) and metabolism-associated (mitochondrial activity, oxidative phosphorylation) pathways underlie the transition of this phenotype. Integrating data for mRNA and miRNA suggests the roles of several genes regulating proliferation and invasion.

CONCLUSIONS

A 3-way combination of MRI phenotypes may be capable of stratifying survival in GBM. Examination of molecular processes associated with groups created by this combinatorial phenotype suggests the role of biological processes associated with growth and invasion characteristics.

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Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Pascal O. Zinn, Muriel Graenicher, Alejandro Santillan, Oliver Bozinov, Ekkehard M. Kasper and Niklaus Krayenbühl

Object

Some patients develop communicating hydrocephalus after meningioma surgery, and this can develop into a serious clinical condition. However, this has rarely been addressed in the literature. Therefore, the authors sought to determine predictive patient variables for the occurrence of postoperative hydrocephalus following skull base meningioma surgery.

Methods

For this purpose, the authors retrospectively analyzed all patients who underwent resection of intracranial meningiomas between 1998 and 2009 at the Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland. Of 594 patients with meningioma, 227 (38%) had a lesion located at the skull base, and thus were included for analysis. The following patient variables were examined: demographic data (age and sex); tumor number (solitary vs multiple); tumor side and localization within the skull base region (anterior, medial, posterior); infiltration of the cavernous sinus; compression of the optic channel/optic nerve; tumor volume; preoperative embolization (yes/no); duration of surgery; Simpson grade of resection; histopathological features (WHO grade); number of surgeries (single vs multiple); preoperative embolization; duration of hospital stay; tumor recurrence; use of an artificial dural substitute; postoperative infection rate; and clinical outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale score at discharge and at 3 months, and vital status at last follow-up). Hierarchical clustering, factor analysis, and stepwise regression models revealed a ranking list for the top predictive variables for the occurrence of postoperative hydrocephalus.

Results

A total of 35 patients (5.9%) of the cohort of 594 developed communicating postoperative hydrocephalus, with no patient manifesting obstructive hydrocephalus. Of these 35 patients, 18 had a meningioma located at the skull base (18 [7.9%] of 227), in contrast to 17 patients with meningiomas in other locations (17 [4.6%] of 367). The following patient variables correlated with the occurrence of hydrocephalus, as defined by factor analysis: age, duration of surgery, duration of hospital stay, tumor volume, postoperative infection, and preoperative embolization. A stepwise regression analysis of the latter variables identified 2 variables as significantly predictive: age (p = 0.0012) and duration of surgery (p = 0.0013).

Conclusions

In this study, the incidence of communicating postoperative hydrocephalus was almost twice as high in patients with skull base lesions as in patients with meningiomas in other locations. Patient age, duration of surgery, duration of hospital stay, tumor volume, postoperative infection, and preoperative embolization were associated with the occurrence of hydrocephalus. In the statistical prediction model, patient age and duration of surgery were the most significant predictors of postoperative hydrocephalus after skull base meningioma surgery.

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Markus M. Luedi, Sanjay K. Singh, Jennifer C. Mosley, Islam S. A. Hassan, Masumeh Hatami, Joy Gumin, Lukas Andereggen, Erik P. Sulman, Frederick F. Lang, Frank Stueber, Gregory N. Fuller, Rivka R. Colen and Pascal O. Zinn

OBJECTIVE

Dexamethasone, a known regulator of mesenchymal programming in glioblastoma (GBM), is routinely used to manage edema in GBM patients. Dexamethasone also activates the expression of genes, such as CEBPB, in GBM stem cells (GSCs). However, the drug’s impact on invasion, proliferation, and angiogenesis in GBM remains unclear. To determine whether dexamethasone induces invasion, proliferation, and angiogenesis in GBM, the authors investigated the drug’s impact in vitro, in vivo, and in clinical information derived from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) cohort.

METHODS

Expression profiles of patients from the TCGA cohort with mesenchymal GBM (n = 155) were compared with patients with proneural GBM by comparative marker selection. To obtain robust data, GSCs with IDH1 wild-type (GSC3) and with IDH1 mutant (GSC6) status were exposed to dexamethasone in vitro and in vivo and analyzed for invasion (Boyden chamber, human-specific nucleolin), proliferation (Ki-67), and angiogenesis (CD31). Ex vivo tumor cells from dexamethasone-treated and control mice were isolated by fluorescence activated cell sorting and profiled using Affymetrix chips for mRNA (HTA 2.0) and microRNAs (miRNA 4.0). A pathway analysis was performed to identify a dexamethasone-regulated gene signature, and its relationship with overall survival (OS) was assessed using Kaplan-Meier analysis in the entire GBM TCGA cohort (n = 520).

RESULTS

The mesenchymal subgroup, when compared with the proneural subgroup, had significant upregulation of a dexamethasone-regulated gene network, as well as canonical pathways of proliferation, invasion, and angiogenesis. Dexamethasone-treated GSC3 demonstrated a significant increase in invasion, both in vitro and in vivo, whereas GSC6 demonstrated a modest increase. Furthermore, dexamethasone treatment of both GSC3 and GSC6 lines resulted in significantly elevated cell proliferation and angiogenesis in vivo. Patients with mesenchymal GBM had significant upregulation of dexamethasone-regulated pathways when compared with patients with proneural GBM. A prognostic (p = 0.0007) 33-gene signature was derived from the ex vivo expression profile analyses and used to dichotomize the entire TCGA cohort by high (median OS 12.65 months) or low (median OS 14.91 months) dexamethasone signature.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors present evidence that furthers the understanding of the complex effects of dexamethasone on biological characteristics of GBM. The results suggest that the drug increases invasion, proliferation, and angiogenesis in human GSC-derived orthotopic tumors, potentially worsening GBM patients’ prognoses. The authors believe that careful investigation is needed to determine how to minimize these deleterious dexamethasone-associated side effects in GBM.