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David Satzer, James X. Tao, and Peter C. Warnke

OBJECTIVE

The authors aimed to examine the relationship between mesial temporal subregion ablation volume and seizure outcome in a diverse cohort of patients who underwent stereotactic laser amygdalohippocampotomy (SLAH) for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE).

METHODS

Seizure outcomes and pre- and postoperative images were retrospectively reviewed in patients with MTLE who underwent SLAH at a single institution. Mesial temporal subregions and the contrast-enhancing ablation volume were manually segmented. Pre- and postoperative MR images were coregistered to assess anatomical ablation. Postoperative MRI and ablation volumes were also spatially normalized, enabling the assessment of seizure outcome with heat maps.

RESULTS

Twenty-eight patients with MTLE underwent SLAH, 15 of whom had mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS). The rate of Engel class I outcome at 1 year after SLAH was 39% overall: 47% in patients with MTS and 31% in patients without MTS. The percentage of parahippocampal gyrus (PHG) ablated was higher in patients with an Engel class I outcome (40% vs 25%, p = 0.04). Subregion analysis revealed that extent of ablation in the parahippocampal cortex (35% vs 19%, p = 0.03) and angular bundle (64% vs 43%, p = 0.02) was positively associated with Engel class I outcome. The degree of amygdalohippocampal complex (AHC) ablated was not associated with seizure outcome (p = 0.30).

CONCLUSIONS

Although the AHC was the described target of SLAH, seizure outcome in this cohort was associated with degree of ablation for the PHG, not the AHC. Complete coverage of both the AHC and PHG is technically challenging, and more work is needed to optimize seizure outcome after SLAH.

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Friedrich W. Kreth, Peter C. Warnke, Rudolf Scheremet, and Christoph B. Ostertag

✓ There has been considerable controversy over the concept of treating glioblastoma multiforme with cytoreductive surgery. Therefore, a retrospective study of cases treated between 1986 and 1991 was conducted to analyze and compare the results of stereotactic biopsy followed by radiation therapy performed in 58 patients with those of surgical resection plus radiation therapy in 57 patients. In both groups, conventionally fractionated radiation (1.7 to 2.0 Gy/day) was delivered, with a total dose of 50 to 60 Gy. Biopsy was performed only in patients with tumors judged to be inoperable. These patients carried a higher surgical risk and were in worse neurological condition than the patients in the resection group.

The median survival time for the resection group was 39.5 weeks, as compared with 32 weeks for the biopsy group. This difference was not significant. The most important prognostic factor was the patient's age. The treatment variable biopsy versus resection did not reach prognostic relevance. In patients with midline shift who underwent biopsy, the Karnofsky Performance Scale score decreased in more patients during radiation therapy. The clinical status 6 weeks after surgery, however, showed no significant differences between the two groups. The comparable survival times for the two groups place doubt on the concept of treating glioblastoma multiforme with cytoreductive surgery. Presently, radiation therapy is the most effective treatment for patients with glioblastoma. There is no question that decompressive surgery followed by radiation therapy should be performed whenever necessary for severe space-occupying lesions and when it will not cause new neurological deficits.

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Friedrich W. Kreth, Michael Faist, Peter C. Warnke, Reinhard Roβner, Benedikt Volk, and Christoph B. Ostertag

✓ The treatment of patients with low-grade gliomas remains a subject of controversy, especially with respect to new treatment modalities such as interstitial radiosurgery (brachytherapy), radiosurgery, and stereotactic radiotherapy. In a retrospective analysis conducted between 1979 and 1991, the authors studied the results of interstitial radiosurgery in 455 patients with low-grade gliomas (World Health Organization (WHO) Grade I + WHO Grade II) with regard to survival time, quality of life, the risk of malignant transformation, and the risk profile of the treatment concept. Interstitial radiosurgery with iodine-125 was performed using permanent (1979–1985) or temporary implants (after 1985) with low-dose rates (≤ 10 cGy/hr) and a reference dose of 60 to 100 Gy calculated to the outer rim of the tumor.

The 5- and 10-year survival rates in patients with pilocytic astrocytomas (97 patients) were 84.9% and 83%, and in patients with WHO Grade II astrocytomas (250 patients) 61% and 51%, respectively. Five-year survival rates for patients with oligoastrocytomas (60 patients), oligodendrogliomas (27 patients), and gemistocytic astrocytomas (21 patients) were 49%, 50%, and 32%, respectively. In the group with WHO Grade II gliomas, young age and a good performance status were associated with a better prognosis. Unfavorable factors were midline shift, enhancement on computerized tomography (CT) scan, and tumor recurrence after previous radiotherapy or surgery. Tumor location had no influence on the prognosis (247 patients in this series had deep-seated tumors). Malignant transformation was the major cause of death. Important risk factors for malignancy were the patient's age, tumor enhancement in CT scan, and tumor recurrence after previous surgery or radiotherapy. Perioperative mortality was 0.9% and perioperative morbidity was 1.7%. Radiogenic complications were observed in 2.7% of all patients, most often in larger tumors and after using permanent implants. The authors conclude that interstitial radiosurgery represents a specific treatment modality for selected patients with unifocal circumscribed low-grade gliomas with a diameter of less than 4 cm in any location. The efficacy of this treatment lies in the same range as the best results after surgery and radiotherapy.

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David Satzer, James X. Tao, Naoum P. Issa, Ziyi Chen, Shasha Wu, Sandra Rose, John Collins, Issam A. Awad, and Peter C. Warnke

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to perform a preliminary assessment of the safety and effectiveness of stereotactic laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) for patients with cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM)–related epilepsy.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed 6 patients with CCM-related epilepsy who underwent LITT. Pre-, intra-, and postoperative brain MRI studies were used to characterize preoperative CCM volume, ablation volume, and postablation hemosiderin volume. Clinical outcomes were assessed postoperatively during clinic follow-up visits or phone interviews.

RESULTS

LITT was performed in 7 CCMs in 6 patients. Two patients had familial CCM disease with multifocal lesions. Four treated CCMs were extratemporal, and 3 were in or near the visual pathways. The median follow-up was 25 (range 12–39) months. Five of 6 (83%) patients achieved seizure freedom (Engel I classification), of whom 4 (67%) were Engel IA and 1 was Engel IC after a single seizure on postoperative day 4. The remaining patient had rare seizures (Engel II). One patient had a nondisabling visual field deficit. There were no hemorrhagic complications. All patients were discharged within 24 hours postablation. MRI 3–11 months after ablation demonstrated expected focal necrosis and trace hemosiderin-related T2 hypointensity measuring 9%–44% (median 24%) of the original lesion volume, with significant (p = 0.04) volume reduction.

CONCLUSIONS

LITT is a minimally invasive option for treating CCM-related epilepsy with seizure outcomes comparable to those achieved with open lesionectomy. The precision of LITT allows for the obliteration of eloquent, deep, small, and multifocal lesions with low complication rates, minimal postoperative discomfort, and short hospital stays. In this study the feasibility and benefits of this method were demonstrated in 2 patients with multifocal lesions.