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Dandy-Walker syndrome

Clinical analysis of 23 cases

Raymond Sawaya and Robert L. McLaurin

✓ A clinical analysis of 23 patients with Dandy-Walker malformation indicates that more than 85% of them were diagnosed at or before 1 year of age, and that the incidence of associated anomalies is approximately 50%, with a 17% incidence for agenesis of the corpus callosum. The significance of the presence of these anomalies is substantiated by the fact that of the seven deaths recorded, six were related to this disease and five were affected by associated anomalies. The high mortality rate (26%) is comparable to that of other series. The differential diagnosis with posterior fossa extra-axial cysts is discussed.

Ten patients were primarily treated with excision of the cyst membrane; all of them required subsequent shunting to control the intracranial pressure, demonstrating the futility of this approach. None of the patients treated with lateral ventricle shunting suffered an upward herniation of the posterior fossa contents, suggesting that combined shunting of the lateral and fourth ventricles is rarely necessary. The technical advantages of posterior fossa shunting alone are outlined. Of the 16 survivors, 14 were assessed for their mental development by means of standard psychometric testing. The results of the intelligence quotient (IQ) scoring have indicated that 71% of the patients have subnormal mental development (IQ < 83). There was no significant relationship between retardation and associated anomalies, although agenesis of the corpus callosum was related to poor intellectual development in the two patients so affected (IQ's of 50 and 73).

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Raymond Sawaya and Robert Highsmith

✓ Fresh human brain-tumor samples were assayed for their plasminogen activator (PA) content. Specific molecular weight patterns were identified for each of five common brain tumors and for normal brain, suggesting a cell-specific origin of the various PA forms. Malignant tumors contained higher PA activity and a larger number of molecular weight patterns than benign tumors, with the exception of acoustic neurinomas. Irradiated tumors contained lower PA activity than nonirradiated tumors. Finally, a slight but definite correlation between brain edema and PA activity was detected. The future role of brain-tumor PA's for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes is discussed.

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Raymond Sawaya, Mario Zuccarello, and Robert Highsmith

✓ This study was undertaken to confirm the presence of alpha-1-antitrypsin (α 1-AT) in human brain tumors and to attempt to elucidate its significance. Seventy-seven consecutive unselected patients with various brain tumors were entered in this study. The α 1-AT and α 2-macroglobulin contents of the tumor extracts were qualitatively assessed by Ouchterlony immunodiffusion techniques. Plasminogen activator (PA) activity was assayed electrophoretically on sodium dodecyl sulfate gels. The patients were divided into two groups according to the positivity of their tumors to α 1-AT. Sixty-eight percent of the tumors were positive for α 1-AT, and all specimens were negative for α 2-macroglobulin. Clinical and biological parameters obtained in all study patients failed to show statistically significant differences between the two groups with the exception of PA activity (p = 0.001), the peritumoral edema as seen on computerized tomography, and the preoperative serum fibrinogen level. These three parameters were higher in the group with specimens positive to α 1-AT.

This study supports the hypothesis that α 1-AT is produced primarily by tumor cells in proportion to the regional proteolytic and inflammatory activity, and may protect the tumor cells.

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J. Stuart Crutchfield, Raymond Sawaya, Christina A. Meyers, and Bartlett D. Moore III

✓ Mutism is defined as a state in which a patient is conscious but unwilling or unable to speak. It has been reported to occur in association with a multitude of conditions, including trauma, epilepsy, tumors, stroke, psychoses, and brain surgery. The cases of two patients who became mute in the immediate postoperative period are presented. The first patient developed mutism following removal of a parasagittal meningioma, and the second following removal of a posterior fossa medulloblastoma. It is believed that transient injury may have occurred to the supplementary motor cortex in the first case and to the dentate nuclei in the second case. It is interesting that these two areas are connected via pathways involving the ventrolateral nucleus of the thalamus, and that lesions of this thalamic nucleus can also lead to mutism. It therefore appears plausible that interruption of these pathways may be involved in the pathogenesis of mutism. Although mutism is an infrequent complication of brain surgery, neurosurgeons should be aware that it may occur following removal of lesions in these areas and that it is generally a transient condition.

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Rajesh K. Bindal, Raymond Sawaya, Milam E. Leavens, and J. Jack Lee

✓ The authors conducted a retrospective review of the charts of 56 patients who underwent resection for multiple brain metastases. Of these, 30 had one or more lesions left unresected (Group A) and 26 underwent resection of all lesions (Group B). Twenty-six other patients with a single metastasis who underwent resection (Group C) were selected to match Group B by type of primary tumor, time from first diagnosis of cancer to diagnosis of brain metastases, and presence or absence of systemic cancer at the time of surgery. Statistical analysis indicated that Groups A and B were also homogeneous for these prognostic indicators. Median survival duration was 6 months for Group A, 14 months for Group B, and 14 months for Group C. There was a statistically significant difference in survival time between Groups A and B (p = 0.003) and Groups A and C (p = 0.012) but not between Groups B and C (p > 0.5). Brain metastasis recurred in 31% of patients in Group B and in 35% of those in Group C; this difference was not significant (p > 0.5). Symptoms improved after surgery in 65% of patients in Group A, 83% in Group B, and 84% in Group C. Symptoms worsened in 13% of patients in Group A, 6% in Group B, and 0% in Group C. Groups A, B, and C had complication rates per craniotomy of 8%, 9%, and 8%, and 30-day mortality rates of 3%, 4%, and 0%, respectively. Guidelines for management of patients with multiple brain metastases are discussed. The authors conclude that surgical removal of all lesions in selected patients with multiple brain metastases results in significantly increased survival time and gives a prognosis similar to that of patients undergoing surgery for a single metastasis.

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Fadi Hanbali, Gregory N. Fuller, Norman E. Leeds, and Raymond Sawaya

Several types of mass lesions may occur in the third and lateral ventricles. Typically they arise from the lining of the ventricular cavity or from contiguous structures, by extension into the ventricle. The authors describe two patients, each of whom presented with a different rare lesion of the ventricular system. The first was a 53-year-old woman with a history of hypertension who sustained a blunt traumatic injury to the occipital region and subsequently developed a progressively worsening right-sided headache. Radiological examinations over the next 2 years revealed an enlarged right lateral ventricle and, ultimately, a choroid plexus cyst in its anterior and middle third, near the foramen of Monro, which is a rare location for these lesions. The cyst was removed en bloc, and follow-up examinations showed a significant improvement in her headache and a minimal differences in size between right and left ventricles. The authors also describe a 57-year-old man with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and an old mycardial infarct, who presented to an outside institution with a progressively worsening headache, generalized malaise, and loss of olfactory sensation. Diagnostic imaging revealed a 1.5-cm oval lesion centered in the lamina terminalis region, an open craniotomy was performed, and evaluation of a biopsy sample demonstrated the mass to be a chordoid glioma of the third ventricle, a recently described glioma subtype. Two days after surgery, he suffered a left parietal stroke and an anterior mycardial infarction. After convalescing, he presented to The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center for radiotherapy and follow up; 7 months later he was readmitted complaining of headache, short-term memory loss, and worsening confusion and disorientation. Neuroimaging revealed progression of the tumor (now 2 cm in diameter), which was removed by gross-total resection. His headache resolved immediately, and 2 months later his only complaint was of episodes of confusion. Three weeks later he died of a massive myocardial infarction. These two patients represent the sixth case of an adult with a choroid plexus cyst in the anterior lateral ventricle and the 19th case of an adult with a chordoid glioma of the third ventricle, respectively.

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Yan Michael Li, Dima Suki, Kenneth Hess, and Raymond Sawaya

OBJECT

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and deadliest primary brain tumor. The value of extent of resection (EOR) in improving survival in patients with GBM has been repeatedly confirmed, with more extensive resections providing added advantages. The authors reviewed the survival of patients with significant EORs and assessed the relative benefit/risk of resecting 100% of the MRI region showing contrast-enhancement with or without additional resection of the surrounding FLAIR abnormality region, and they assessed the relative benefit/risk of performing this additional resection.

METHODS

The study cohort included 1229 patients with histologically verified GBM in whom ≥ 78% resection was achieved at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center between June 1993 and December 2012. Patients with > 1 tumor and those 80 years old or older were excluded. The survival of patients having 100% removal of the contrast-enhancing tumor, with or without additional resection of the surrounding FLAIR abnormality region, was compared with that of patients undergoing 78% to < 100% EOR of the enhancing mass. Within the first subgroup, the survival durations of patients with and without resection of the surrounding FLAIR abnormality were subsequently compared. The data on patients and their tumor characteristics were collected prospectively. The incidence of 30-day postoperative complications (overall and neurological) was noted.

RESULTS

Complete resection of the T1 contrast-enhancing tumor volume was achieved in 876 patients (71%). The median survival time for these patients (15.2 months) was significantly longer than that for patients undergoing less than complete resection (9.8 months; p < 0.001). This survival advantage was achieved without an increase in the risk of overall or neurological postoperative deficits and after correcting for established prognostic factors including age, Karnofsky Performance Scale score, preoperative contrast-enhancing tumor volume, presence of cyst, and prior treatment status (HR 1.53, 95% CI 1.33–1.77, p < 0.001). The effect remained essentially unchanged when data from previously treated and previously untreated groups of patients were analyzed separately. Additional analyses showed that the resection of ≥ 53.21% of the surrounding FLAIR abnormality beyond the 100% contrast-enhancing resection was associated with a significant prolongation of survival compared with that following less extensive resections (median survival times 20.7 and 15.5 months, respectively; p < 0.001). In the multivariate analysis, the previously treated group with < 53.21% resection had significantly shorter survival than the 3 other groups (that is, previously treated patients who underwent FLAIR resection ≥ 53.21%, previously untreated patients who underwent FLAIR resection < 53.21%, and previously untreated patients who underwent FLAIR resection ≥ 53.21%); the previously untreated group with ≥ 53.21% resection had the longest survival.

CONCLUSIONS

What is believed to be the largest single-center series of GBM patients with extensive tumor resections, this study supports the established association between EOR and survival and presents additional data that pushing the boundary of a conventional 100% resection by the additional removal of a significant portion of the FLAIR abnormality region, when safely feasible, may result in the prolongation of survival without significant increases in overall or neurological postoperative morbidity. Additional supportive evidence is warranted.