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Seunggu J. Han, Dario J. Englot, Helen Kim and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECT

The surgical management of brainstem arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) might benefit from the definition of anatomical subtypes and refinements of resection techniques. Many brainstem AVMs sit extrinsically on pia mater rather than intrinsically in the parenchyma, allowing treatment by occluding feeding arteries circumferentially, interrupting draining veins after arteriovenous shunting is eliminated, and leaving the obliterated nidus behind. The authors report here the largest series of brainstem AVMs to define 6 subtypes, assess this “occlusion in situ” technique, and analyze the microsurgical results.

METHODS

Brainstem AVMs were categorized as 1 of 6 types: anterior midbrain, posterior midbrain, anterior pontine, lateral pontine, anterior medullary, and lateral medullary AVMs. Data from a prospectively maintained AVM registry were reviewed to evaluate multidisciplinary treatment results.

RESULTS

During a 15-year period, the authors treated 29 patients with brainstem AVMs located in the midbrain (1 anterior and 6 posterior), pons (6 anterior and 7 lateral), and medulla (1 anterior and 8 lateral). The nidus was pial in 26 cases and parenchymal in 3 cases. Twenty-three patients (79%) presented with hemorrhage. Brainstem AVMs were either resected (18 patients, 62%) or occluded in situ (11 patients, 38%). All lateral pontine AVMs were resected, and the occlusion in situ rate was highest with anterior pontine AVMs (83%). Angiography confirmed complete obliteration in 26 patients (89.6%). The surgical mortality rate was 6.9%, and the rate of permanent neurological deterioration was 13.8%. At follow-up (mean 1.3 years), good outcomes (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score ≤ 2) were observed in 18 patients (66.7%) and poor outcomes (mRS score of 3–5) were observed in 9 patients (33.3%). The mRS scores in 21 patients (77.8%) were unchanged or improved. The best outcomes were observed with lateral pontine (100%) and lateral medullary (75%) AVMs, and the rate of worsening/death was greatest with posterior midbrain and anterior pontine AVMs (50% each).

CONCLUSIONS

Brainstem AVMs can be differentiated by their location in the brainstem (midbrain, pons, or medulla) and the surface on which they are based (anterior, posterior, or lateral). Anatomical subtypes can help the neurosurgeon determine how to advise patients, with lateral subtypes being a favorable surgical indication along with extrinsic pial location and hemorrhagic presentation. Most AVMs are dissected with the intention to resect them, and occlusion in situ is reserved for those AVMs that do not separate cleanly from the brainstem, that penetrate into the parenchyma, or are more anterior in location, where it is difficult to visualize and preserve perforating arteries (anterior pontine and lateral medullary AVMs). Although surgical morbidity is considerable, surgery results in a better obliteration rate than nonoperative management and is indicated in highly selected patients with high rerupture risks.

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Dario J. Englot, Seunggu J. Han, Michael T. Lawton and Edward F. Chang

Object

Seizures are the most common presenting symptom of supratentorial cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) and progress to medically refractory epilepsy in 40% of patients. Predictors of seizure freedom in the resection of CCMs are incompletely understood.

Methods

The authors systematically reviewed the published literature on seizure freedom following the resection of supratentorial CCMs in patients presenting with seizures. Seizure outcomes were stratified across 12 potential prognostic variables. A total of 1226 patients with supratentorial CCMs causing seizures were identified across 31 predominantly retrospective studies; 361 patients had medically refractory epilepsy.

Results

Seventy-five percent of the patients were seizure free after microsurgical lesion removal, whereas 25% continued to have seizures. All patients had had preoperative seizures and > 6 months of postoperative follow-up. Modifiable predictors of postoperative seizure freedom included gross-total resection (OR 36.6, 95% CI 8.5–157.5) and surgery within 1 year of symptom onset (OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.30–2.58). Additional prognostic indicators of a favorable outcome were a CCM size < 1.5 cm (OR 15.4, 95% CI 5.2–45.4), the absence of multiple CCMs (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.13–3.60), medically controlled seizures (OR 2.38, 95% CI 1.29–4.39), and the lack of secondarily generalized seizures (OR 3.33, 95% CI 2.09–5.30). Other factors, including extended resection of the hemosiderin ring, were not significantly predictive.

Conclusions

In the surgical treatment of supratentorial CCMs, gross-total resection and early operative intervention may improve seizure outcome. While surgery should not be considered the first-line treatment for CCM-related epilepsy, it is important to understand the variables associated with seizure freedom in CCM resection given the considerable morbidity and diminished quality of life associated with epilepsy.

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Seunggu J. Han, Isaac Yang, Tarik Tihan, Susan M. Chang and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Although secondary gliosarcoma after treatment of primary glioblastoma multiforme has been described, little is known of these rare tumors. In this article the authors review the literature on secondary gliosarcoma, with attention to clinical course and pathological features.

Methods

A PubMed search of the key word intracranial “gliosarcoma” with and without “radiation” or “radiotherapy” in humans was performed. The 204 citations yielded were screened for relevancy to gliosarcomas that occur after treatment of previous intracranial neoplasms.

Results

A search of the literature yielded 24 relevant articles, combined for a total of only 12 cases of secondary gliosarcoma and 12 cases of radiation-induced gliosarcoma. Of the 12 cases of secondary gliosarcoma, all were previously treated with surgery and radiotherapy (mean dose 50.7 Gy), with a mean survival of 13 months since time of gliosarcoma diagnosis (range 6.9–19.4 months). In the cases of radiation-induced gliosarcoma, the mean dose of previous radiotherapy was 51.3 Gy (median 54 Gy, range 24–60 Gy), and the mean survival since gliosarcoma diagnosis was 6.7 months (median 6 months, range 2–10 months).

Conclusions

Secondary gliosarcoma and radiation-induced gliosarcoma are exceedingly rare. The literature on secondary gliosarcoma illustrates a more favorable survival than for primary gliosarcoma but remains limited regarding clinical and radiographic presentation, response to treatment, and pathogenesis. The results of the present review also support the notion that secondary gliosarcomas and radiation-induced gliosarcomas are distinct entities, with longer survival and shorter latency of gliosarcoma induction seen in the former. Efforts to elucidate the role of radiotherapy in the induction of gliosarcomas may yield new insights into therapeutic risks of cranial radiation and CNS tumor pathogenesis.

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Stephen T. Magill, Seunggu J. Han, Jing Li and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

Brain tumors involving the primary motor cortex are often deemed unresectable due to the potential neurological consequences that result from injury to this region. Nevertheless, we have challenged this dogma for many years and used asleep, as well as awake, intraoperative stimulation mapping to maximize extent of resection. It remains unclear whether these tumors can be resected with acceptable morbidity, whether performing the surgery with the patient awake or asleep impacts extent of resection, and how stimulation mapping influences outcomes.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was performed on the senior author’s cohort to identify patients treated between 1998 and 2016 who underwent resection of tumors that were located within the primary motor cortex. Clinical notes, operative reports, and radiographic images were reviewed to identify intraoperative stimulation mapping findings and functional outcomes following tumor resection. Extent of resection was quantified volumetrically. Characteristics of patients were analyzed to identify factors associated with postoperative motor deficits.

RESULTS

Forty-nine patients underwent 53 resections of tumors located primarily within the motor cortex. Stimulation mapping was performed in all cases. Positive cortical sites for motor response were identified in 91% of cases, and subcortical sites in 74%. Awake craniotomy was performed in 65% of cases, while 35% were done under general anesthesia. The mean extent of resection was 91%. There was no statistically significant difference in extent of resection in cases done awake compared with those done under general anesthesia. New or worsened postoperative motor deficits occurred in 32 patients (60%), and 20 patients (38%) had a permanent deficit. Of the permanent deficits, 14 were mild, 4 were moderate, and 2 were severe (3.8% of cases). Decreased intraoperative motor response and diffusion restriction on postoperative MRI were associated with permanent deficit. Awake motor mapping surgery was associated with increased diffusion signal on postoperative MRI.

CONCLUSIONS

Resection of tumors from the primary motor cortex is associated with an increased risk of motor deficit, but most of these deficits are transient or mild and have little functional impact. Excellent extent of resection can be achieved with intraoperative stimulation mapping, suggesting that these tumors are indeed amenable to resection and should not be labeled unresectable. Injury to small perforating or en passage blood vessels was the most common cause of infarction that led to moderate or severe deficits. Awake motor mapping was not superior to mapping done under general anesthesia with regard to long-term functional outcome.

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Isaac Yang, Seunggu J. Han, Michael E. Sughrue, Tarik Tihan and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

The tumor microenvironment in astrocytomas is composed of a variety of cell types, including infiltrative inflammatory cells that are dynamic in nature, potentially reflecting tumor biology. In this paper the authors demonstrate that characterization of the intratumoral inflammatory infiltrate can distinguish high-grade glioblastoma from low-grade pilocytic astrocytoma.

Methods

Tumor specimens from ninety-one patients with either glioblastoma or pilocytic astrocytoma were analyzed at the University of California, San Francisco. A systematic neuropathology analysis was performed. All tissue was collected at the time of the initial surgery prior to adjuvant treatment. Immune cell infiltrate not associated with necrosis or hemorrhage was analyzed on serial 4-μm sections. Analysis was performed for 10 consecutive hpfs and in 3 separate regions (total 30 × 0.237 mm2). Using immunohistochemistry for markers of infiltrating cytotoxic T cells (CD8), natural killer cells (CD56), and macrophages (CD68), the inflammatory infiltrates in these tumors were graded quantitatively and classified based on microanatomical location (perivascular vs intratumoral). Control markers included CD3, CD20, and human leukocyte antigen.

Results

Glioblastomas exhibited significantly higher perivascular (CD8) T-cell infiltration than pilocytic astrocytomas (62% vs 29%, p = 0.0005). Perivascular (49%) and intratumoral (89%; p = 0.004) CD56-positive cells were more commonly associated with glioblastoma. The CD68-positive cells also were more prevalent in the perivascular and intratumoral space in glioblastoma. In the intratumoral space, all glioblastomas exhibited CD68-positive cells compared with 86% of pilocytic astrocytomas (p = 0.0014). Perivascularly, CD68-positive infiltrate was also more prevalent in glioblastoma when compared with pilocytic astrocytoma (97% vs 86%, respectively; p = 0.0003). The CD3-positive, CD20-positive, and human leukocyte antigen-positive infiltrates did not differ between glioblastoma and pilocytic astrocytoma.

Conclusions

This analysis suggests a significantly distinct immune profile in the microenvironment of high-grade glioblastoma versus low-grade pilocytic astrocytoma. This difference in tumor microenvironment may reflect an important difference in the tumor biology of glioblastoma.

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Darryl Lau, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Seunggu J. Han and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

There is ample evidence that extent of resection (EOR) is associated with improved outcomes for glioma surgery. However, it is often difficult to accurately estimate EOR intraoperatively, and surgeon accuracy has yet to be reviewed. In this study, the authors quantitatively assessed the accuracy of intraoperative perception of EOR during awake craniotomy for tumor resection.

METHODS

A single-surgeon experience of performing awake craniotomies for tumor resection over a 17-year period was examined. Retrospective review of operative reports for quantitative estimation of EOR was recorded. Definitive EOR was based on postoperative MRI. Analysis of accuracy of EOR estimation was examined both as a general outcome (gross-total resection [GTR] or subtotal resection [STR]), and quantitatively (5% within EOR on postoperative MRI). Patient demographics, tumor characteristics, and surgeon experience were examined. The effects of accuracy on motor and language outcomes were assessed.

RESULTS

A total of 451 patients were included in the study. Overall accuracy of intraoperative perception of whether GTR or STR was achieved was 79.6%, and overall accuracy of quantitative perception of resection (within 5% of postoperative MRI) was 81.4%. There was a significant difference (p = 0.049) in accuracy for gross perception over the 17-year period, with improvement over the later years: 1997–2000 (72.6%), 2001–2004 (78.5%), 2005–2008 (80.7%), and 2009–2013 (84.4%). Similarly, there was a significant improvement (p = 0.015) in accuracy of quantitative perception of EOR over the 17-year period: 1997–2000 (72.2%), 2001–2004 (69.8%), 2005–2008 (84.8%), and 2009–2013 (93.4%). This improvement in accuracy is demonstrated by the significantly higher odds of correctly estimating quantitative EOR in the later years of the series on multivariate logistic regression. Insular tumors were associated with the highest accuracy of gross perception (89.3%; p = 0.034), but lowest accuracy of quantitative perception (61.1% correct; p < 0.001) compared with tumors in other locations. Even after adjusting for surgeon experience, this particular trend for insular tumors remained true. The absence of 1p19q co-deletion was associated with higher quantitative perception accuracy (96.9% vs 81.5%; p = 0.051). Tumor grade, recurrence, diagnosis, and isocitrate dehydrogenase-1 (IDH-1) status were not associated with accurate perception of EOR. Overall, new neurological deficits occurred in 8.4% of cases, and 42.1% of those new neurological deficits persisted after the 3-month follow-up. Correct quantitative perception was associated with lower postoperative motor deficits (2.4%) compared with incorrect perceptions (8.0%; p = 0.029). There were no detectable differences in language outcomes based on perception of EOR.

CONCLUSIONS

The findings from this study suggest that there is a learning curve associated with the ability to accurately assess intraoperative EOR during glioma surgery, and it may take more than a decade to be truly proficient. Understanding the factors associated with this ability to accurately assess EOR will provide safer surgeries while maximizing tumor resection.

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Ramin A. Morshed, Seunggu J. Han, Darryl Lau and Mitchel S. Berger

Surgery guided by 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) fluorescence has become a valuable adjunct in the resection of malignant intracranial gliomas. Furthermore, the fluorescence intensity of biopsied areas of a resection cavity correlates with histological identification of tumor cells. However, in the case of lesions deep within a resection cavity, light penetration may be suboptimal, resulting in less excitation of 5-ALA metabolites, leading to decreased fluorescence emission. To address this obstacle, the authors report on the use of a 400-nm wavelength fiber-optic lighted suction instrument that can be used both during resection of a tumor and to provide direct light to deeper areas of a resection cavity. In the presented case, this wavelength-specific lighted suction instrument improved the fluorescence intensity of patches of malignant tissue within the resection cavity. This technique may further improve the utility of 5-ALA in identifying tumor-infiltrated tissue for deep-seated lesions. Additionally, this tool may have implications for scoring systems that correlate 5-ALA fluorescence intensity with histological identification of malignant cells.

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John D. Rolston, Seunggu J. Han, Orin Bloch and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Venous thromboembolisms (VTEs) occur frequently in surgical patients and can manifest as pulmonary emboli (PEs) or deep venous thromboses (DVTs). While many medical therapies have been shown to prevent VTEs, neurosurgeons are concerned about the use of anticoagulants in the postoperative setting. To better understand the prevalence of and the patient-level risk factors for VTE, the authors analyzed data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP).

Methods

Retrospective data on 1,777,035 patients for the years from 2006 to 2011 were acquired from the American College of Surgeons NSQIP database. Neurosurgical cases were extracted by querying the data for which the surgical specialty was listed as “neurological surgery.” Univariate statistics were calculated using the chi-square test, with 95% confidence intervals used for the resultant risk ratios. Multivariate models were constructed using binary logistic regression with a maximum number of 20 iterations.

Results

Venous thromboembolisms were found in 1.7% of neurosurgical patients, with DVTs roughly twice as common as PEs (1.3% vs 0.6%, respectively). Significant independent predictors included ventilator dependence, immobility (that is, quadriparesis, hemiparesis, or paraparesis), chronic steroid use, and sepsis. The risk of VTE was significantly higher in patients who had undergone cranial procedures (3.4%) than in those who had undergone spinal procedures (1.1%).

Conclusions

Venous thromboembolism is a common complication in neurosurgical patients, and the frequency has not changed appreciably over the past several years. Many factors were identified as independently predictive of VTEs in this population: ventilator dependence, immobility, and malignancy. Less anticipated predictors included chronic steroid use and sepsis. Venous thromboembolisms appear significantly more likely to occur in patients undergoing cranial procedures than in those undergoing spinal procedures. A better appreciation of the prevalence of and the risk factors for VTEs in neurosurgical patients will allow targeting of interventions and a better understanding of which patients are most at risk.

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John D. Rolston, Seunggu J. Han, Catherine Y. Lau, Mitchel S. Berger and Andrew T. Parsa

Object

Surgical complications increase the cost of health care worldwide and directly contribute to patient morbidity and mortality. In an effort to mitigate morbidity and incentivize best practices, stakeholders such as health insurers and the US government are linking reimbursement to patient outcomes. In this study the authors analyzed a national database to determine basic metrics of how comorbidities specifically affect the subspecialty of neurosurgery.

Methods

Data on 1,777,035 patients for the years 2006–2011 were acquired from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database. Neurosurgical cases were extracted by querying the data for which the surgical specialty was listed as “neurological surgery.” Univariate statistics were calculated using the chi-square test, and 95% confidence intervals were determined for the resultant risk ratios. A multivariate model was constructed using significant variables from the univariate analysis (p < 0.05) with binary logistic regression.

Results

Over 38,000 neurosurgical cases were analyzed, with complications occurring in 14.3%. Cranial cases were 2.6 times more likely to have complications than spine cases, and African Americans and Asians/Pacific Islanders were also at higher risk. The most frequent complications were bleeding requiring transfusion (4.5% of patients) and reoperation within 30 days of the initial operation (4.3% of patients), followed by failure to wean from mechanical ventilation postoperatively (2.5%). Significant predictors of complications included preoperative stroke, sepsis, blood transfusion, and chronic steroid use.

Conclusions

Understanding the landscape of neurosurgical complications will allow better targeting of the most costly and harmful complications of preventive measures. Data from the ACS NSQIP database provide a starting point for developing paradigms of improved care of neurosurgical patients.

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Ramin A. Morshed, Jacob S. Young, Seunggu J. Han, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

Greater extent of resection (EOR) improves overall survival and progression-free survival for patients with low- and high-grade glioma. While resection for newly diagnosed insular gliomas can be performed with minimal morbidity, perioperative morbidity is not clearly defined for patients undergoing a repeat resection for recurrent insular gliomas. In this study the authors report on tumor characteristics, tumor EOR, and functional outcomes in patients undergoing reoperation for recurrent insular glioma.

METHODS

Adult patients with insular gliomas (WHO grades II–IV) who underwent index resection followed by reoperation were identified through the University of California San Francisco Brain Tumor Center. Treatment history and functional outcomes were collected retrospectively from the electronic medical record. Pre- and postoperative tumor volumes were quantified using software with region-of-interest analysis based on FLAIR and T1-weighted postgadolinium sequences from pre- and postoperative MRI.

RESULTS

Forty-four patients (63.6% male, 36.4% female) undergoing 49 reoperations for recurrent insular tumors were identified with a median follow-up of 741 days. Left- and right-sided tumors comprised 52.3% and 47.7% of the cohort, respectively. WHO grade II, III, and IV gliomas comprised 46.9%, 28.6%, and 24.5% of the cohort, respectively. Ninety-five percent (95.9%) of cases involved language and/or motor mapping. Median EOR of the insular component of grade II, III, and IV tumors were 82.1%, 75.0%, and 94.6%, respectively. EOR during reoperation was not impacted by Berger-Sanai insular zone or tumor side. At the time of reoperation, 44.9% of tumors demonstrated malignant transformation to a higher WHO grade. Ninety-day postoperative assessment confirmed that 91.5% of patients had no new postoperative deficit attributable to surgery. Of those with new deficits, 3 (6.4%) had a visual field cut and 1 (2.1%) had hemiparesis (strength grade 1–2/5). The presence of a new postoperative deficit did not vary with EOR.

CONCLUSIONS

Recurrent insular gliomas, regardless of insular zone and pathology, may be reoperated on with an overall acceptable degree of resection and safety despite their anatomical and functional complexities. The use of intraoperative mapping utilizing asleep or awake methods may reduce morbidity to acceptable rates despite prior surgery.