Low-grade glioma surgery in eloquent areas

J Neurosurg 117:1039–1052, 2012

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).

Methods. 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 (DVT2T1) to evaluate how the diffusive tumor-growing pattern affected the EOR achieved.

Results. 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 DVT2T1 value (p < 0.0001). Progression-free survival is similarly influenced by histological subtype (fibrillary astrocytoma, p = 0.003), EOR (p < 0.0001), and DVT2T1 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 DVT2T1 value, the less extensive the currently possible resection, highlighting an apparent correlation between the DVT2T1 value itself and EOR (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions. The EOR and the DVT2T1 values are the strongest independent predictors in improving OS as well as in delaying tumor progression and malignant transformation. Furthermore, the DVT2T1 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.