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Miran Skrap, Dario Marin, Tamara Ius, Franco Fabbro and Barbara Tomasino


Awake surgery and mapping are performed in patients with low-grade tumors infiltrating functional brain areas for which the greater the resection, the longer the patient survival. However, the extent of resection is subject to preservation of cognitive functions, and in the absence of proper feedback during mapping, the surgeon may be less prone to perform an extensive resection. The object of this study was to perform real-time continuous assessment of cognitive function during the resection of tumor tissue that could infiltrate eloquent tissue.


The authors evaluated the use of new, complex real-time neuropsychological testing (RTNT) in a series of 92 patients. They reported normal scoring and decrements in patient performance as well as reversible intraoperative neuropsychological dysfunctions in tasks (for example, naming) associated with different cognitive abilities.


RTNT allowed one to obtain a more defined neuropsychological picture of the impact of surgery. The influence of this monitoring on surgical strategy was expressed as the mean extent of resection: 95% (range 73%–100%). At 1 week postsurgery, the neuropsychological scores were very similar to those detected with RTNT, revealing the validity of the RTNT technique as a predictive tool. At the follow-up, the majority of neuropsychological scores were still > 70%, indicating a decrease of < 30%.


RTNT enables continuous enriched intraoperative feedback, allowing the surgeon to increase the extent of resection. In sharp contrast to classic mapping techniques, RTNT allows testing of several cognitive functions for one brain area under surgery.

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Tamara Ius, Miriam Isola, Riccardo Budai, Giada Pauletto, Barbara Tomasino, Luciano Fadiga and Miran Skrap


A growing number of published studies have recently demonstrated the role of resection in overall survival (OS) for patients with gliomas. In this retrospective study, the authors objectively investigated the role of the extent of resection (EOR) in OS in patients with low-grade gliomas (LGGs).


Between 1998 and 2011, 190 patients underwent surgery for LGGs. All surgical procedures were conducted under corticosubcortical stimulation. The EOR was established by analyzing the pre- and postoperative volumes of the gliomas on T2-weighted MRI studies. The difference between the preoperative tumor volumes was also investigated by measuring the volumetric difference between the T2- and T1-weighted MRI images (ΔVT2T1) to evaluate how the diffusive tumor-growing pattern affected the EOR achieved.


The median preoperative tumor volume was 55 cm3, and in almost half of the patients the EOR was greater than 90%. In this study, patients with an EOR of 90% or greater had an estimated 5-year OS rate of 93%, those with EOR between 70% and 89% had a 5-year OS rate of 84%, and those with EOR less than 70% had a 5-year OS rate of 41% (p < 0.001). New postoperative deficits were noted in 43.7% of cases, while permanent deficits occurred in 3.16% of cases. There were 41 deaths (21.6%), and the median follow-up was 4.7 years.

A further volumetric analysis was also conducted to compare 2 different intraoperative protocols (Series 1 [intraoperative electrical stimulation alone] vs Series 2 [intraoperative stimulation plus overlap of functional MRI/fiber tracking diffusion tensor imaging data on a neuronavigation system]). Patients in Series 1 had a median EOR of 77%, while those in Series 2 had a median EOR of 90% (p = 0.0001). Multivariate analysis showed that OS is influenced not only by EOR (p = 0.001) but also by age (p = 0.003), histological subtype (p = 0.005), and the ΔVT2T1 value (p < 0.0001). Progression-free survival is similarly influenced by histological subtype (fibrillary astrocytoma, p = 0.003), EOR (p < 0.0001), and ΔVT2T1 value (p < 0.0001), as is malignant progression–free survival (p = 0.003, p < 0.0001, and p < 0.0001, respectively). Finally, the study shows that the higher the ΔVT2T1 value, the less extensive the currently possible resection, highlighting an apparent correlation between the ΔVT2T1 value itself and EOR (p < 0.0001).


The EOR and the ΔVT2T1 values are the strongest independent predictors in improving OS as well as in delaying tumor progression and malignant transformation. Furthermore, the ΔVT2T1 value may be useful as a predictive index for EOR. Finally, due to intraoperative corticosubcortical mapping and the overlap of functional data on the neuronavigation system, major resection is possible with an acceptable risk and a significant increase in expected OS.

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Tamara Ius, Giada Pauletto, Miriam Isola, Giorgia Gregoraci, Riccardo Budai, Christian Lettieri, Roberto Eleopra, Luciano Fadiga and Miran Skrap


Although a number of recent studies on the surgical treatment of insular low-grade glioma (LGG) have demonstrated that aggressive resection leads to increased overall patient survival and decreased malignant progression, less attention has been given to the results with respect to tumor-related epilepsy. The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the impact of volumetric, histological, and intraoperative neurophysiological factors on seizure outcome in patients with insular LGG.


The authors evaluated predictors of seizure outcome with special emphasis on both the extent of tumor resection (EOR) and the tumor's infiltrative pattern quantified by computing the difference between the preoperative T2- and T1-weighted MR images (ΔVT2T1) in 52 patients with preoperative drug-resistant epilepsy.


The 12-month postoperative seizure outcome (Engel class) was as follows: seizure free (Class I), 67.31%; rare seizures (Class II), 7.69%; meaningful seizure improvement (Class III), 15.38%; and no improvement or worsening (Class IV), 9.62%. Poor seizure control was more common in patients with a longer preoperative seizure history (p < 0.002) and higher frequency of seizures (p = 0.008). Better seizure control was achieved in cases with EOR ≥ 90% (p < 0.001) and ΔVT2T1 < 30 cm3 (p < 0.001). In the final model, ΔVT2T1 proved to be the strongest independent predictor of seizure outcome in insular LGG patients (p < 0.0001).


No or little postoperative seizure improvement occurs mainly in cases with a prevalent infiltrative tumor growth pattern, expressed by high ΔVT2T1 values, which consequently reflects a smaller EOR.