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Todd Hollon, Spencer Lewis, Christian W. Freudiger, X. Sunney Xie and Daniel A. Orringer

Despite advances in the surgical management of brain tumors, achieving optimal surgical results and identification of tumor remains a challenge. Raman spectroscopy, a laser-based technique that can be used to nondestructively differentiate molecules based on the inelastic scattering of light, is being applied toward improving the accuracy of brain tumor surgery. Here, the authors systematically review the application of Raman spectroscopy for guidance during brain tumor surgery. Raman spectroscopy can differentiate normal brain from necrotic and vital glioma tissue in human specimens based on chemical differences, and has recently been shown to differentiate tumor-infiltrated tissues from noninfiltrated tissues during surgery. Raman spectroscopy also forms the basis for coherent Raman scattering (CRS) microscopy, a technique that amplifies spontaneous Raman signals by 10,000-fold, enabling real-time histological imaging without the need for tissue processing, sectioning, or staining. The authors review the relevant basic and translational studies on CRS microscopy as a means of providing real-time intraoperative guidance. Recent studies have demonstrated how CRS can be used to differentiate tumor-infiltrated tissues from noninfiltrated tissues and that it has excellent agreement with traditional histology. Under simulated operative conditions, CRS has been shown to identify tumor margins that would be undetectable using standard bright-field microscopy. In addition, CRS microscopy has been shown to detect tumor in human surgical specimens with near-perfect agreement to standard H & E microscopy. The authors suggest that as the intraoperative application and instrumentation for Raman spectroscopy and imaging matures, it will become an essential component in the neurosurgical armamentarium for identifying residual tumor and improving the surgical management of brain tumors.

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Todd Hollon, Vincent Nguyen, Brandon W. Smith, Spencer Lewis, Larry Junck and Daniel A. Orringer


Survival rates and prognostic factors for supratentorial hemispheric ependymomas have not been determined. The authors therefore designed a retrospective study to determine progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and prognostic factors for hemispheric ependymomas.


The study population consisted of 8 patients from our institution and 101 patients from the literature with disaggregated survival information (n = 109). Patient age, sex, tumor side, tumor location, extent of resection (EOR), tumor grade, postoperative chemotherapy, radiation, time to recurrence, and survival were recorded. Kaplan-Meier survival analyses and Cox proportional hazard models were completed to determine survival rates and prognostic factors.


Anaplastic histology/WHO Grade III tumors were identified in 62% of cases and correlated with older age. Three-, 5-, and 10-year PFS rates were 57%, 51%, and 42%, respectively. Three-, 5-, and 10-year OS rates were 77%, 71%, and 58%, respectively. EOR and tumor grade were identified on both Kaplan-Meier log-rank testing and univariate Cox proportional hazard models as prognostic for PFS and OS. Both EOR and tumor grade remained prognostic on multivariate analysis. Subtotal resection (STR) predicted a worse PFS (hazard ratio [HR] 4.764, p = 0.001) and OS (HR 4.216, p = 0.008). Subgroup survival analysis of patients with STR demonstrated a 5- and 10-year OS of 28% and 0%, respectively. WHO Grade III tumors also had worse PFS (HR 10.2, p = 0.004) and OS (HR 9.1, p = 0.035). Patients with WHO Grade III tumors demonstrated 5- and 10-year OS of 61% and 46%, respectively. Postoperative radiation was not prognostic for PFS or OS.


A high incidence of anaplastic histology was found in hemispheric ependymomas and was associated with older age. EOR and tumor grade were prognostic factors for PFS and OS on multivariate analysis. STR or WHO Grade III pathology, or both, predicted worse overall prognosis in patients with hemispheric ependymoma.