Recurrent insular low-grade gliomas: factors guiding the decision to reoperate

J Neurosurg 138:1216–1226, 2023

Reoperation has been established as an effective therapeutic strategy in recurrent diffuse low-grade gliomas (LGGs). Insular gliomas represent a specific surgical challenge because of the surrounding vascular and functional structures. The aim of this study was to investigate the main clinicoradiological factors guiding the decision to reoperate on recurrent insular LGGs (ILGGs).

METHODS In this retrospective consecutive series, the authors screened all patients operated on for an ILGG in their institution who further presented with a tumor regrowth without the development of contrast enhancement. They compared patients who were subsequently offered a reoperation under awake mapping at recurrence or who underwent reoperation after adjuvant treatment had reduced the volume of the initial tumor recurrence (with a proven pathological diagnosis of LGG after the second surgery) to patients who were not selected for a reoperation. The first group (reoperated group; n = 20) included all recurrent ILGG patients who underwent second resection, and the second group (nonreoperated group; n = 60) included patients who did not undergo reoperation but underwent adjuvant oncological treatment.

RESULTS Factors significantly associated with reoperation were extent of resection (EOR) at first surgery (91.9% vs 89.7%, p = 0.014), residual tumor volume (9.5 ± 7.1 mL [range 0–30 mL] vs 6.3 ± 7.3 mL [range 0–30 mL], p = 0.02) at first surgery and left temporopolar infiltration at the time of tumor recurrence (Liebermeister statistical analysis, 4293 voxels survived false discovery rate correction with p < 0.05; maximal z-statistic = 6.50). Infiltration of the anterior perforated substance at tumor recurrence was significantly anticorrelated to reoperation (179 voxels survived false discovery rate correction with p < 0.05; minimal z-statistic = −4.33). The mean EOR was 83.7% at reoperation with a 90% survival rate at last follow-up (9.3 ± 3.8 years), low postsurgical morbidity (Karnofsky Performance Status score ≥ 80 in 95% of patients), a high rate of postoperative professional resumption (95%), and seizure control in 57.1% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS In selected patients with recurrent ILGG without radiographic evidence of malignant transformation, reoperation with intraoperative awake mapping is associated with favorable oncological outcomes and a low postsurgical morbidity. A greater EOR and a lower residual tumor volume at first surgery were significantly associated with reoperation. Patients who benefited from a second surgery typically had a recurrent pattern within cortical areas (such as the temporopolar region), while other patients typically presented with a deeper infiltrative pattern within the anterior perforated substance and the surrounding white matter pathways. Such original findings may be helpful to select the optimal indications of reoperation in recurrent ILGG.