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Henri-Dominique Fournier, Philippe Mercier and Philippe Menei

Object. Because central nervous system white matter exerts a powerful inhibitory effect on axonal growth, implantation of nerve grafts or rootlets into the cervical spinal cord following ventral root avulsion injury should, ideally, be performed directly through the ventral root exit zone (VRExZ), which is located near the anteromedial aspect of the anterior horn; the grafts/rootlets should not be implanted into the white matter of the lateral cord. This is not possible when using a conservative posterior approach. Therefore, the authors have studied the anatomy encountered when using the anterolateral approach and evaluated the technique in the particular case of avulsed ventral nerve roots. They also present a case illustration of the procedure, which is used currently in their department.

Methods. Anterior access to the rootlets is obtained using a lateral interscalenic approach; the vertebral artery is exposed and mobilized, and oblique drilling of the vertebral bodies (VBs) is performed. Because the articular processes and half of the VBs are preserved, fusion is not required.

The approach allows the surgeon to expose the anterior aspect of the cervical dura and the entire length of the emerging spinal nerves. The anterior aspect of the dura is opened at the desired levels for VRExZ exposure, and the position is ideal for implantation of the graft/rootlets. The interscalenic dissection is mandatory so that the lesions of the supraclavicular plexus can be evaluated and repaired. If necessary, the anterior approach allows for exploration of the infraclavicular plexus during the same procedure.

Conclusions. The use of a true anterior approach to the ventral rootlets appears to be a valuable and appropriate approach that avoids extensive laminectomy/facetectomy while reimplantation is performed through the anterolateral sulcus itself. In this approach, however, reimplantation of dorsal roots into the spinal cord remains impossible.

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Damien Petit, Philippe Menei and Henri-Dominique Fournier

The authors describe the first case of spindle cell lipoma of the posterior neck invading the upper cervical spinal canal and the posterior cranial fossa. Spindle cell lipoma is an extremely rare variant of benign lipoma. It usually occurs as a solitary subcutaneous well-circumscribed lesion in the posterior neck or shoulders of adult men. Local aggressiveness is unusual. This 61-year-old man presented with an increased left cerebellar syndrome and headaches. He also had a posterior neck tumefaction, which had been known about for a long time. Computed tomography and MR imaging studies revealed a voluminous mass extending to the upper cervical canal and posterior cranial fossa and eroding the neighboring bones. The lesion was well delimited, and contrast enhancement was intense and heterogeneous. The tumor, which had initially developed under the muscles of the posterior neck, was totally resected. Histological assessment revealed numerous fat cells with spindle cells secreting collagen. The large size of the tumor and the submuscular location, bone erosion, and compression of the CNS were unusual in this rare subtype of benign adipose tumor. Its presentation could simulate a sarcoma.

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Joëlle Veziers, Maurice Lesourd, Christophe Jollivet, Claudia Montero-Menei, Jean-Pierre Benoit and Philippe Menei

Object. Stereotactically guided implantation of biodegradable microspheres is a promising strategy for delivery of neurotrophic factors in a precise and spatially defined brain area. The goal in this study was to show the biocompatibility of poly(D,L,lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres with brain tissue at the ultrastructural level and to analyze the three-dimensional (3D) ultrastructure after intrastriatal implantation of these microparticles.

Methods. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy were used to study the microspheres and their environment after implantation in an inert material (gelatin) and in the rat striatum. Observations were made at different time periods, ranging from 24 hours to 2 months postimplantation.

Conclusions. The progressive degradation of the microspheres, with vacuolization, deformation, and shrinkage, was well visualized. This degradation was identical in microspheres implanted in the inert material and in the rat brain tissue, independent of the presence of macrophages. The studies preformed in the striatum permitted the authors to demonstrate the structural integrity of axons in contact with microspheres, confirming the biocompatibility of the polymer. Furthermore, scanning electron microscopy showed the preservation of the 3D ultrastructure of the striatum around the microparticles. These microparticles, which can be stereotactically implanted in functional areas of the brain and can release neurotrophic factors, could represent, for some indications, an alternative to gene therapy.

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Florian Bernard, Jean-Michel Lemée, Olivier Lucas and Philippe Menei

OBJECTIVE

In recent decades, progress in the medical management of cancer has been significant, resulting in considerable extension of survival for patients with metastatic disease. This has, in turn, led to increased attention to the optimal surgical management of bone lesions, including metastases to the spine. In addition, there has been a shift in focus toward improving quality of life and reducing hospital stay for these patients, and many minimally invasive techniques have been introduced with the aim of reducing the morbidity associated with more traditional open approaches. The goal of this study was to assess the efficacy of long-segment percutaneous pedicle screw stabilization for the treatment of instability associated with thoracolumbar spine metastases in neurologically intact patients.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of data from a prospective database. The authors analyzed cases in which long-segment percutaneous pedicle screw fixation was performed for the palliative treatment of thoracolumbar spinal instability due to spinal metastases in neurologically intact patients. All of the patients included in the study underwent surgery between January 2014 and May 2015 at the authors' institution. Postoperative radiation therapy was planned within 10 days following the stabilization in all cases. Clinical and radiological follow-up assessments were planned for 3 days, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year after surgery. Outcome was assessed by means of standard postoperative evaluation and oncological and spinal quality of life measures (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Version 3.0 [EORTC QLQ-C30] and Oswestry Disability Index [ODI], respectively). Moreover, 5 patients were given an activity monitoring device for recording the distance walked daily; preoperative and postoperative daily distances were compared.

RESULTS

Data from 17 cases were analyzed. There were no complications, and patients showed improvement in pain level and quality of life from the early postoperative period on. The mean ODI score was 62.7 (range 40–84) preoperatively, 35.4 (range 24–59) on postoperative Day 3, and 46.1 (range 30–76) at 3 weeks, 37.6 (range 25–59) at 6 weeks, 34.0 (range 24–59) at 3 months, 39.1 (range 22–64) at 6 months, and 30.0 (range 20–55) at 1 year after screw placement. The mean ODI was significantly improved in the first 45 days (p < 0.001). Improvement was also evident in scores for functional and symptomatic scales of the EORTC QLQ-C30. All patients underwent postoperative radiation therapy within 10 days (mean 7.5). All patients (n = 5) with an activity monitoring device showed improvement in daily walking distance.

CONCLUSIONS

Less-invasive palliative treatment for advanced spinal metastases is promising as part of a multidisciplinary approach to the care of patients with metastatic disease. The results of this study indicate that percutaneous surgery may allow for rapid improvement in quality of life and walking ability for patients with thoracolumbar instability due to spine metastases. Long-segment percutaneous screw fixation followed by early radiation therapy appears to be a safe and effective treatment option for providing solid and durable stability and improved quality of life for these patients.

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Anne Sapin, Anne Clavreul, Emmanuel Garcion, Jean-Pierre Benoit and Philippe Menei

Object

Irradiated autologous tumor cells are commonly used as a source of antigens in antiglioma vaccinations to activate the immune system. As cell number is often a limiting factor in these cells’ preparation, the aim of the present study was to find a means that can lower the amount of cells required. Among strategies currently developed, adjuvant particulate systems offer a promising means to improve the antitumor immune response. In this study, the authors were interested in evaluating the role of particulate systems containing biodegradable microspheres that carry tumor cell fractions on their surfaces in the induction of a protective immunity in the 9L/Fischer 344 rat glioma model. The efficiency of these particulate systems was compared to that of irradiated 9L cells.

Methods

Particulate systems composed of poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) microspheres that support 9L cell fractions on their surfaces (cell lysates or plasma membranes) or irradiated 9L cells alone were injected subcutaneously into the flanks of syngeneic Fischer 344 rats. Eighteen days later, the rats were intracranially injected with nonirradiated 9L cells. A study of survival in these animals and an analysis of the resulting immune response were then conducted.

For the same amount of protein (50 μg) injected, irradiated 9L cells provided long-term survival in 30% of animals, whereas 9L plasma membranes adsorbed onto PLGA microspheres provided long-term survival in 10% of animals and cell lysates adsorbed onto microspheres provided long-term survival in 0%. Accordingly, particulate systems induced a lower T helper cell Type 1 (Th1) peripheral immune response than irradiated 9L cells. However, greater secretion of Th1 cytokines was observed when particulate systems were used than when cell fractions separated from microspheres were used, indicating the adjuvant property of these particulate systems.

Conclusions

Particulate systems have adjuvant properties but are still less efficient than irradiated whole tumor cells for vaccinations. Encapsulation of an activating molecule in the microsphere will be the next developmental step in the search for efficient antiglioma vaccinations.

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Sophie Peeters, Mélanie Pagès, Guillaume Gauchotte, Catherine Miquel, Stéphanie Cartalat-Carel, Jean-Sébastien Guillamo, Laurent Capelle, Jean-Yves Delattre, Patrick Beauchesne, Marc Debouverie, Denys Fontaine, Emmanuel Jouanneau, Jean Stecken, Philippe Menei, Olivier De Witte, Philippe Colin, Didier Frappaz, Thierry Lesimple, Luc Bauchet, Manuel Lopes, Laurence Bozec, Elisabeth Moyal, Christophe Deroulers, Pascale Varlet, Marc Zanello, Fabrice Chretien, Catherine Oppenheim, Hugues Duffau, Luc Taillandier and Johan Pallud

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to provide insight into the influence of gliomas on gestational outcomes, the impact of pregnancy on gliomas, and the identification of patients at risk.

METHODS

In this multiinstitutional retrospective study, the authors identified 52 pregnancies in 50 women diagnosed with a glioma.

RESULTS

For gliomas known prior to pregnancy (n = 24), we found the following: 1) An increase in the quantified imaging growth rates occurred during pregnancy in 87% of cases. 2) Clinical deterioration occurred in 38% of cases, with seizures alone resolving after delivery in 57.2% of cases. 3) Oncological treatments were immediately performed after delivery in 25% of cases. For gliomas diagnosed during pregnancy (n = 28), we demonstrated the following: 1) The tumor was discovered during the second and third trimesters in 29% and 54% of cases, respectively, with seizures being the presenting symptom in 68% of cases. 2) The quantified imaging growth rates did not significantly decrease after delivery and before oncological treatment. 3) Clinical deterioration resolved after delivery in 21.4% of cases. 4) Oncological treatments were immediately performed after delivery in 70% of cases. Gliomas with a high grade of malignancy, negative immunoexpression of alpha-internexin, or positive immunoexpression for p53 were more likely to be associated with tumor progression during pregnancy. Deliveries were all uneventful (cesarean section in 54.5% of cases and vaginal delivery in 45.5%), and the infants were developmentally normal.

CONCLUSIONS

When a woman harboring a glioma envisions a pregnancy, or when a glioma is discovered in a pregnant patient, the authors suggest informing her and her partner that pregnancy may impact the evolution of the glioma clinically and radiologically. They strongly advise a multidisciplinary approach to management.

■ CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE Type of question: association; study design: case series; evidence: Class IV.