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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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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.

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Ajay K. Bindal, Rajesh K. Bindal, Harry van Loveren and Raymond Sawaya

✓ The authors report on a study of eight cases of intracranial plasmacytoma to identify the risk of progression to multiple myeloma and suggest the treatment required for cure of solitary lesions. The diagnosis of multiple myeloma or myelomatous changes was made in the immediate postoperative period in four patients (50%), two of whom had skull base lesions. Of the four remaining patients, three were treated with complete surgical resection and radiation therapy and had no recurrence of plasmacytoma or progression to multiple myeloma during mean follow up of 12 years (range 2–25 years); one patient underwent subtotal surgical resection and had recurrence of the tumor despite radiation therapy.

It is concluded that multiple myeloma is unlikely to develop during the long term in patients with intracranial plasmacytoma who do not develop multiple myeloma or myelomatous changes in the early postoperative period. However, lesions that infiltrate the skull base are not likely to be solitary, and patients who harbor these neoplasms should undergo complete evaluation and close follow-up review to exclude multiple myeloma. A recurrence of solitary intracranial plasmacytoma is possible with subtotal surgical resection despite radiation therapy. Definitive treatment should consist of complete surgical resection with adjuvant radiation therapy.

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Editorial

Neurosurgical “pearls” and neurosurgical evidence

E. Antonio Chiocca