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Jun-ichi Adachi, Katsumi Ohbayashi, Tomonari Suzuki and Tomio Sasaki

Object. Genetic alterations of the PTEN gene (also known as MMAC1 or TEP1) have frequently been identified in high-grade gliomas, indicating that inactivation of PTEN plays a crucial role in human glioma progression. The aim of this study was to assess the biological significance of PTEN inactivation in the development of glioma.

Methods. The authors introduced wild-type PTEN complementary DNA into four human glioma cell lines (T98G, U-251MG, U-87MG, and A172) containing endogenous aberrant PTEN alleles. The number of colonies transfected with the wild-type PTEN was reduced to 15 to 32% of those found after transfection of a control vector, suggesting growth suppression by the exogenous PTEN. To analyze phenotypic alterations produced by PTEN expression, T98G-derived clones with inducible PTEN expression were further established using a tetracycline-regulated inducible gene expression system. Induction of PTEN expression suppressed the in vitro growth of T98G cells with accumulation of G1 phase cells. Furthermore, when cells were cultured in the presence of the extracellular matrix (ECM), PTEN expression caused distinct morphological changes, with multiple and elongated cytoplasmic processes similar to those of normal astrocytes. The level of glial fibrillary acidic protein, an intermediate protein specifically expressed in differentiated astrocytes, was upregulated concomitantly.

Conclusions. These findings strongly indicate that exogenous PTEN expression inhibits the proliferation of glioma cells by inducing G1 arrest and elicits astrocytic differentiation in the presence of the ECM. Inactivation of PTEN would play an important role in the enhancement of unregulated growth of undifferentiated glioma cells.

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Kohei Fukuoka, Takaaki Yanagisawa, Tomonari Suzuki, Kenji Wakiya, Masao Matsutani, Atsushi Sasaki and Ryo Nishikawa

Congenital intracranial immature teratomas carry a dismal prognosis, and the usefulness of chemotherapy for these tumors has not been elucidated. The authors report on the successful management of a case of congenital intracranial immature teratoma by using neoadjuvant chemotherapy and surgery after the failure of an initial attempt at resection.

The patient was an infant who had begun vomiting frequently at the age of 12 days and had been admitted to a hospital at the age of 18 days with continued vomiting, increased head circumference, and disturbance of consciousness. A CT scan of the brain revealed a large mass in his posterior fossa and hydrocephalus. Surgery was performed on an emergent basis, but only minor tumor resection could be performed due to massive intraoperative hemorrhage. The histopathological diagnosis was immature teratoma. Postoperatively, the infant was in critical condition due to severe postoperative complications, and when he was transferred to the authors' institution 43 days after birth, his respiratory condition was still unstable because of lower cranial nerve palsy. Chemotherapy with carboplatin and etoposide resulted in moderate shrinkage of the tumor. Further chemotherapy led to improvement in the patient's general condition and weight gain, which allowed for a second attempt at resection. During this second surgery, which was performed when the child was 8 months of age, after 8 courses of chemotherapy, the tumor was completely resected with little bleeding. Histological findings from the second operation were consistent with mature teratoma.

This case indicates that upfront chemotherapy may be effective for the initial management of such cases. Although the objective response to the treatment was modest, chemotherapy reduced the hemorrhagic nature of the tumor, facilitated improvement of the patient's general condition, and allowed for successful resection.

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Kohei Fukuoka, Takaaki Yanagisawa, Yuko Watanabe, Tomonari Suzuki, Masao Matsutani, Ichiei Kuji and Ryo Nishikawa

Although 11C-methionine (MET)-PET has been used to diagnose intracranial germ cell tumors (GCTs) arising in the basal ganglia, whether this imaging technique is useful in assessing treatment response and residual tumor is still unclear. The authors report 3 cases of basal ganglia GCTs in which the residual MET uptake at the end of treatment did not develop into a relapse, even without additional treatment. Case 1 is a 22-year-old man who had a second relapse of a left basal ganglia germinoma with diffuse dissemination on the walls of both of his lateral ventricles. MET-PET revealed high MET accumulation around tumors and their surroundings (maximum standardized uptake value [SUVmax] 3.3). After all treatments, MET-PET demonstrated mild tracer accumulation in both basal ganglia (SUVmax 2.2). Progression-free survival was 56 months from the second relapse without any further treatment. Case 2 is a 17-year-old boy with a left basal ganglia germinoma that showed increased MET uptake (SUVmax 4.2). After treatment, MET-PET revealed residual MET uptake (SUVmax 2.4) along the left posterior limb of the internal capsule. Progression-free survival was 52 months from the start of treatment. Case 3 is a 7-year-old boy with a left basal ganglia choriocarcinoma with increased tumor MET uptake (SUVmax 2.5). A minor enhanced mass remained on MRI after treatment with residual MET accumulation (SUVmax 1.4). Progression-free survival was 44 months. Treatment strategies based on MET uptake on PET should be carefully designed in patients with basal ganglia GCTs to avoid overtreatment and complications.

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Tomonari Suzuki, Satoru Wada, Hidetaka Eguchi, Jun-ichi Adachi, Kazuhiko Mishima, Masao Matsutani, Ryo Nishikawa and Masahiko Nishiyama

Object

Gliomas contain aggressive malignant cancer, and resection rate remains an important factor in treatment. Currently, fluorescence-guided resection using orally administered 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) has proved to be beneficial in improving the prognosis of patients with gliomas. 5-ALA is metabolized to protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) that accumulates selectively in the tumor and exhibits strong fluorescence upon excitation, but glioma cells do not always respond to 5-ALA, which can result in incomplete or excessive resection. Several possible mechanisms for this phenomenon have been suggested, but they remain poorly understood. To clarify the probable mechanisms underlying the variable induction of fluorescence and to improve fluorescence-guided surgery, the authors searched for key negative regulators of fluorescent signal induced by 5-ALA.

Methods

A comprehensive gene expression analysis was performed using microarrays in 11 pairs of tumor specimens, fluorescence-positive and fluorescence-negative tumors, and screened genes overexpressed specifically in fluorescence-negative tumors as the possible candidates for key negative regulators of 5-ALA–induced fluorescence. The most possible candidate was selected through annotation analysis in combination with a comparison of expression levels, and the relevance of expression of the selected gene to 5-ALA–induced fluorescence in tumor tissues was confirmed in the quantified expression levels. The biological significance of an identified gene in PpIX accumulation and 5-ALA–induced fluorescence was evaluated by in vitro PpIX fluorescence intensity analysis and in vitro PpIX fluorescence molecular imaging in 4 human glioblastoma cell lines (A1207, NMCG1, U251, and U373). Knockdown analyses using a specific small interfering RNA in U251 cells was also performed to determine the mechanisms of action and genes working as partners in the 5-ALA metabolic pathway.

Results

The authors chose 251 probes that showed remarkably high expression only in fluorescent-negative tumors (median intensity of expression signal > 1.0), and eventually the cadherin 13 gene (CDH13) was selected as the most possible determinant of 5-ALA–induced fluorescent signal in gliomas. The mean expression level of CDH13 in the fluorescence-negative gliomas was statistically higher than that in positive ones (p = 0.027), and knockdown of CDH13 expression enhanced the fluorescence image and increased the amount of PpIX 13-fold over controls (p < 0.001) in U251 glioma cells treated with 5-ALA. Comprehensive gene expression analysis of the CDH13-knockdown U251 cells demonstrated another two genes possibly involved in the PpIX biosynthesis: ATP-binding cassette transporter (ABCG2) significantly decreased in the CDH13 knockdown, while oligopeptide transporter 1 (PEPT1) increased.

Conclusions

The cadherin 13 gene might play a role in the PpIX accumulation pathway and act as a negative regulator of 5-ALA–induced fluorescence in glioma cells. Although further studies to clarify the mechanisms of action in the 5-ALA metabolic pathway would be indispensable, the results of this study might lead to a novel fluorescent marker able to overcome the obstacles of existing fluorescence-guided resection and improve the limited resection rate.

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Kohei Fukuoka, Takaaki Yanagisawa, Tomonari Suzuki, Mitsuaki Shirahata, Jun-ichi Adachi, Kazuhiko Mishima, Takamitsu Fujimaki, Hideki Katakami, Masao Matsutani and Ryo Nishikawa

OBJECTIVE

Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) can be detected in a certain population of patients with a germinoma, but the frequency of germinoma HCG secretion and the prognostic value of HCG in the CSF are unknown.

METHODS

The authors measured HCG levels in sera and CSF in patients with a histologically confirmed germinoma by using a highly sensitive assay known as an immune complex transfer enzyme immunoassay (EIA), which is more than 100 times as sensitive as the conventional method, and they analyzed the correlation between HCG levels and the prognoses of patients with a germinoma.

RESULTS

HCG levels in sera and CSF of 35 patients with a germinoma were examined with the immune complex transfer EIA. The median CSF HCG levels in patients with a germinoma during the pretreatment and posttreatment evaluations were 192.5 pg/ml (range 1.2–13,116.5 pg/ml) and 18.7 pg/ml (1.2–283.9 pg/ml), respectively. Before treatment, the CSF HCG level was greater than the cutoff value in 85.7% of the patients with a germinoma. The authors compared survival rates among the patients by using a CSF HCG cutoff level of 1000 pg/ml, and the difference was statistically significant between the groups (p = 0.029, log-rank test).

CONCLUSIONS

Results of this study demonstrate that most germinomas secrete HCG. Patients with a germinoma that secretes higher amounts of HCG in their CSF experienced recurrence more frequently than those with lower CSF HCG levels.

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Nakamasa Hayashi, Hisayuki Murai, Shoichiro Ishihara, Takayuki Kitamura, Tamotsu Miki, Tomoru Miwa, Masakazu Miyajima, Kenichi Nishiyama, Takayuki Ohira, Shigeki Ono, Tomonari Suzuki, Shingo Takano, Isao Date, Naokatsu Saeki and Shunro Endo

Object

The authors report their investigation on the current status of neuroendoscopic biopsy for ventricular and paraventricular tumors as well as treatment for associated hydrocephalus in Japan.

Methods

Patients who had undergone therapeutic neuroendoscopy between 2005 and 2009 were included in this study. The main items examined were age; sex; localization of tumor; pathological diagnosis using biopsy; the presence, treatment, and efficacy of treatment of associated hydrocephalus; perioperative complications; activities of daily living (ADL) before and after therapeutic neuroendoscopy; and the presence of dissemination during the postoperative course.

Results

Seven hundred fourteen patients from 123 sites (462 male and 252 female patients, mean age 33.3 years) were enrolled. Localization of the tumor was mainly classified into the lateral ventricle in 91 patients, the third ventricle in 339, the fourth ventricle in 18, the suprasellar region in 75, and other paraventricular areas in 191 patients. The most commonly observed tumors were germ cell tumors in the third ventricle (177 cases [39%]), cystic lesions in the suprasellar region (56 cases [75%]), and astrocytic tumors in the thalamus-basal ganglia (71 cases [38%]). Although 641 (92.8%) of 691 patients could receive neuroendoscopic diagnosis using biopsy, the diagnosis obtained with endoscopic biopsy differed from the final diagnosis based on subsequent craniotomy in 18 patients and clinical course in 3 patients. Of these 21 patients, 7 had astrocytic tumors, 4 had pineal tumors, 6 had germ cell tumors, and 4 had other tumors. The final diagnostic accuracy rate was 89.7%. Associated hydrocephalus was observed in 517 patients (72.4%), of whom 316 and 39 underwent third ventriculostomy and fenestration of the septum, respectively. The response rates were 96.2% and 89.7%, respectively. Third ventriculostomy was required for recurrence of hydrocephalus in 41 patients (13.0%), and the long-term response rate was therefore 83.2% (263 of 316 patients). Perioperative complications other than fever, such as new onset of or progressive hydrocephalus, infection due to CSF leakage, and bleeding in the ventricle or tumor, were found in 81 patients (11.3%). The median Karnofsky Performance Scale score before endoscopic surgery was 80, but it increased to 90 after surgery. The score was thus significantly increased after surgery (p < 0.0001, Mann-Whitney U-test). Activities of daily living after surgery decreased due to perioperative complications in 15 patients (2.1%). The incidence of new dissemination after endoscopic biopsy was 6.8% and not high compared with routine surgical treatment.

Conclusions

The authors concluded that neuroendoscopic diagnosis using biopsy for ventricular and paraventricular tumors is adequately accurate and safe. It was demonstrated that endoscopic procedures play important roles not only in the treatment of hydrocephalus associated with intra- and paraventricular tumors but also in significantly improving ADL. Furthermore, the long-term outcome of endoscopic third ventriculostomy was clearly favorable.