Personalized surgery of brain tumors in language areas: the role of preoperative brain mapping in patients not eligible for awake surgery

Neurosurg Focus 53 (6):E3, 2022

Awake surgery represents the gold standard for resection of brain tumors close to the language network. However, in some cases patients may be considered not eligible for awake craniotomy. In these cases, a personalized brain mapping of the language network may be achieved by navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS), which can guide resection in patients under general anesthesia. Here the authors describe their tailored nTMS-based strategy and analyze its impact on the extent of tumor resection (EOR) and language outcome in a series of patients not eligible for awake surgery.

METHODS The authors reviewed data from all patients harboring a brain tumor in or close to the language network who were considered not eligible for awake surgery and were operated on during asleep surgery between January 2017 and July 2022, under the intraoperative guidance of nTMS data. The authors analyzed the effectiveness of nTMS-based mapping data in relation to 1) the ability of the nTMS-based mapping to stratify patients according to surgical risks, 2) the occurrence of postoperative language deficits, and 3) the EOR.

RESULTS A total of 176 patients underwent preoperative nTMS cortical language mapping and nTMS-based tractography of language fascicles. According to the nTMS-based mapping, tumors in 115 patients (65.3%) were identified as true-eloquent tumors because of a close spatial relationship with the language network. Conversely, tumors in 61 patients (34.7%) for which the nTMS mapping disclosed a location at a safer distance from the network were identified as false-eloquent tumors. At 3 months postsurgery, a permanent language deficit was present in 13 patients (7.3%).

In particular, a permanent deficit was observed in 12 of 115 patients (10.4%) with true-eloquent tumors and in 1 of 61 patients (1.6%) with false-eloquent lesions. With nTMS-based mapping, neurosurgeons were able to distinguish trueeloquent from false-eloquent tumors in a significant number of cases based on the occurrence of deficits at discharge (p < 0.0008) and after 3 months from surgery (OR 6.99, p = 0.03). Gross-total resection was achieved in 80.1% of patients overall and in 69.5% of patients with true-eloquent lesions and 100% of patients with false-eloquent tumors.

CONCLUSIONS nTMS-based mapping allows for reliable preoperative mapping of the language network that may be used to stratify patients according to surgical risks. nTMS-guided asleep surgery should be considered a good alternative for personalized preoperative brain mapping of the language network that may increase the possibility of safe and effective resection of brain tumors in the dominant hemisphere whenever awake mapping is not feasible.

Network-level prediction of set-shifting deterioration after lower-grade glioma resection

J Neurosurg 137:1329–1337, 2022

The aim of this study was to predict set-shifting deterioration after resection of low-grade glioma.

METHODS The authors retrospectively analyzed a bicentric series of 102 patients who underwent surgery for low-grade glioma. The difference between the completion times of the Trail Making Test parts B and A (TMT B-A) was evaluated preoperatively and 3–4 months after surgery. High dimensionality of the information related to the surgical cavity topography was reduced to a small set of predictors in four different ways: 1) overlap between surgical cavity and each of the 122 cortical parcels composing Yeo’s 17-network parcellation of the brain; 2) Tractotron: disconnection by the cavity of the major white matter bundles; 3) overlap between the surgical cavity and each of Yeo’s networks; and 4) disconets: signature of structural disconnection by the cavity of each of Yeo’s networks. A random forest algorithm was implemented to predict the postoperative change in the TMT B-A z-score.

RESULTS The last two network-based approaches yielded significant accuracies in left-out subjects (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUC] approximately equal to 0.8, p approximately equal to 0.001) and outperformed the two alternatives. In single tree hierarchical models, the degree of damage to Yeo corticocortical network 12 (CC 12) was a critical node: patients with damage to CC 12 higher than 7.5% (cortical overlap) or 7.2% (disconets) had much higher risk to deteriorate, establishing for the first time a causal link between damage to this network and impaired set-shifting.

CONCLUSIONS The authors’ results give strong support to the idea that network-level approaches are a powerful way to address the lesion-symptom mapping problem, enabling machine learning–powered individual outcome predictions.

Preservation of language function by mapping the arcuate fasciculus using intraoperative corticocortical evoked potential under general anesthesia in glioma surgery

J Neurosurg 137:1535–1543, 2022

Intraoperative language mapping under general anesthesia is imperative for brain tumor surgery because awake surgery is not always feasible. Monitoring corticocortical evoked potential (CCEP) is known to be a useful method for tracking neuronal connectivity and localizing functional areas. The authors evaluated the clinical benefit of intraoperative CCEP monitoring for language function preservation in patients undergoing glioma surgery.

METHODS Between January 2019 and June 2021, the authors performed a total of 29 consecutive glioma surgeries using CCEP monitoring under general anesthesia because of a risk of speech impairment; these were analyzed. Language area mapping was implemented by the anterior language area to posterior language area CCEP method for arcuate fasciculus mapping, and tumor resection was performed while avoiding the localized language areas. Language function before and after surgery was evaluated by the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT).

RESULTS Intraoperative CCEP was successfully monitored in 25 patients (86.2%), and a valid signal was undetectable in the other 4 patients. Language function evaluation was possible before and after surgery in a total of 20 patients. Overall, the preservation rate of language function was 65.0%, and the deterioration rate was 35.0% after tumor resection with CCEP monitoring. Among those 8 patients with preoperative COWAT scores ≥ 18, 5 patients (62.5%) successfully preserved their language function, with COWAT scores > 18 after tumor resection. Among the 12 patients with preoperative deteriorated language function (COWAT score < 18), 8 patients (66.7%) showed improvement or preserved language function after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS Intraoperative CCEP monitoring of the arcuate fasciculus is an acceptable technology for the preservation of language function under general anesthesia in glioma surgery in patients in whom awake surgery is not feasible.

The need to consider return to work as a main outcome in patients undergoing surgery for diffuse low‐grade glioma: a systematic review

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:2789–2809

For a long time, return to work (RTW) has been neglected in patients harboring a diffuse low-grade glioma (LGG). However, a majority of LGG patients worked at time of diagnosis. Moreover, these patients now live longer given current treatment paradigms, especially thanks to early maximal surgery.

Methods We systematically searched available medical databases for studies that reported data on RTW in patients who underwent resection for LGG.

Results A total of 30 studies were selected: 19 considered RTW (especially rate and timing) as an outcome and 11 used scales of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) which included work-related aspects. Series that considered RTW as a main endpoint were composed of 1014 patients, with postoperative RTW rates ranging from 31 to 97.1% (mean 73.1%). Timing to RTW ranged from 15 days to 22 months (mean 6.3 months). Factors related to an increased proportion of RTW were: younger age, better neurologic status, having a white-collar occupation, working pre-operatively, being the sole breadwinner, the use of awake surgery, and greater extent of resection. Female sex, older age, poor neurologic status, pre-operative history of work absences, slow lexical access speed, and postoperative seizures were negatively related to RTW. No studies that used HRQoL scales directly investigated RTW rate or timing.

Conclusions RTW was scarcely analyzed in LGG patients who underwent resection. However, because they are usually young, with no or only mild functional deficits and have a longer life expectancy, postoperative RTW should be assessed more systematically and accurately as a main outcome. As majority (61.5–100%) of LGG patients were working at time of surgery, the responsibility of neurosurgeons is to bring these patients back to their previous activities according to his/her wishes. RTW might also be included as a critical endpoint for future prospective studies and randomized control trials on LGGs.

Functional outcomes after resection of middle frontal gyrus diffuse gliomas

J Neurosurg 137:1–8, 2022

The clinical outcomes for patients undergoing resection of diffuse glioma within the middle frontal gyrus (MFG) are understudied. Anatomically, the MFG is richly interconnected to known language areas, and nearby subcortical fibers are at risk during resection. The goal of this study was to determine the functional outcomes and intraoperative mapping results related to resection of MFG gliomas. Additionally, the study aimed to evaluate if subcortical tract disruption on imaging correlated with functional outcomes.

METHODS The authors performed a retrospective review of 39 patients with WHO grade II–IV diffuse gliomas restricted to only the MFG and underlying subcortical region that were treated with resection and had no prior treatment. Intraoperative mapping results and postoperative neurological deficits by discharge and 90 days were assessed. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography was used to assess subcortical tract integrity on pre- and postoperative imaging.

RESULTS The mean age of the cohort was 37.9 years at surgery, and the median follow-up was 5.1 years. The mean extent of resection was 98.9% for the cohort. Of the 39 tumors, 24 were left sided (61.5%). Thirty-six patients (92.3%) underwent intraoperative mapping, with 59% of patients undergoing an awake craniotomy. No patients had positive cortical mapping sites overlying the tumor, and 12 patients (33.3%) had positive subcortical stimulation sites. By discharge, 8 patients had language dysfunction, and 5 patients had mild weakness. By 90 days, 2 patients (5.1%) had persistent mild hand weakness only. There were no persistent language deficits by 90 days. On univariate analysis, preoperative tumor size (p = 0.0001), positive subcortical mapping (p = 0.03), preoperative tumor invasion of neighboring subcortical tracts on DTI tractography (p = 0.0003), and resection cavity interruption of subcortical tracts on DTI tractography (p < 0.0001) were associated with an increased risk of having a postoperative deficit by discharge. There were no instances of complete subcortical tract transections in the cohort.

CONCLUSIONS MFG diffuse gliomas may undergo extensive resection with minimal risk for long-term morbidity. Partial subcortical tract interruption may lead to transient but not permanent deficits. Subcortical mapping is essential to reduce permanent morbidity during resection of MFG tumors by avoiding complete transection of critical subcortical tracts.


Awake Mapping With Transopercular Approach in Right Insular–Centered Low-Grade Gliomas Improves Neurological Outcomes and Return to Work

Neurosurgery 91:182–190, 2022

Asleep vs awake surgery for right insula–centered low-grade glioma (LGG) is still debated.

OBJECTIVE: To compare neurological outcomes and return to work after resection for right insular/paralimbic LGG performed without vs with awake mapping.

METHODS: A personal surgical experience of right insula–centered LGG was analyzed, by comparing 2 consecutive periods. In the first period (group 1), patients underwent asleep surgery with motor mapping. In the second period (group 2), patients underwent intraoperative awake mapping of movement and cognitive functions.

RESULTS: This consecutive series included 143 LGGs: 41 in group 1 (1999-2009) and 102 in group 2 (2009-2020). There were no significant difference concerning preoperative clinicoradiological characteristics and histopathology results between both groups. Intraoperative motor mapping was positive in all cases in group 1. In group 2, beyond motor mapping, somatosensory, visuospatial, language, and/or cognitive functions were identified during cortical–subcortical stimulation. Postoperatively, 3 patients experienced a long-lasting deterioration with 2 hemiparesis due to deep stroke (1.3%) and 1 severe depressive syndrome, all of them in group 1 vs none in group 2 (P = .022). The rate of RTW was 81.5% in group 1 vs 95.5% in group 2 (P = .016). The tumor volume and extent of resection did not significantly differ across both groups.

CONCLUSION: This is the first study comparing asleep vs awake surgery for right insula– centered LGG. Despite similar extent of resection, functional outcomes were significantly better in awake patients by avoiding permanent neurological impairment and by increasing RTW. These results support the mapping of higher-order functions during awake procedure.

Extending the multistage surgical strategy for recurrent initially low-grade gliomas: functional and oncological outcomes in 31 consecutive patients who underwent a third resection under awake mapping

J Neurosurg 136:1035–1044, 2022

Maximal safe resection is the first treatment in diffuse low-grade glioma (DLGG). Due to frequent tumor recurrence, a second surgery has already been reported, with favorable results. This study assesses the feasibility and functional and oncological outcomes of a third surgery in recurrent DLGG.

METHODS Patients with DLGG who underwent a third functional-based resection using awake mapping were consecutively selected. They were classified into group 1 in cases of slow tumor regrowth or group 2 if a radiological enhancement occurred during follow-up. All data regarding clinicoradiological features, histomolecular results, oncological treatment, and survival were collected.

RESULTS Thirty-one patients were included, with a median age of 32 years. There were 20 astrocytomas and 11 oligodendrogliomas in these patients. Twenty-one patients had medical oncological treatment before the third surgery, consisting of chemotherapy in 19 cases and radiotherapy in 8 cases. No neurological deficit persisted after the third resection except mild missing words in 1 patient, with 84.6% of the patients returning to work. The median follow-up duration was 13.1 ± 3.4 years since diagnosis, and 3.1 ± 2.9 years since the third surgery. The survival rates at 7 and 10 years were 100% and 89.7%, respectively, with an estimated median overall survival of 17.8 years since diagnosis. A comparison between the groups showed that the Karnofsky Performance Scale score dropped below 80 earlier in group 2 (14.3 vs 17.1 years, p = 0.01). Median residual tumor volume at the third surgery was smaller (2.8 vs 14.4 cm 3 , p = 0.003) with a greater extent of resection (89% vs 70%, p = 0.003) in group 1.

CONCLUSIONS This is the first consecutive series showing evidence that, in select patients with progressive DLGG, a third functional-based surgery can be achieved using awake mapping with low neurological risk and a high rate of total resection, especially when reoperation is performed before malignant transformation.

Awake craniotomy with transcortical motor evoked potential monitoring for resection of gliomas within or close to motor-related areas

J Neurosurg 136:1052–1061, 2022

The authors previously showed that combined evaluation of changes in intraoperative voluntary movement (IVM) during awake craniotomy and transcortical motor evoked potentials (MEPs) was useful for predicting postoperative motor function in 30 patients with precentral gyrus glioma. However, the validity of the previous report is limited to precentral gyrus gliomas. Therefore, the current study aimed to validate whether the combined findings of IVM during awake craniotomy and transcortical MEPs were useful for predicting postoperative motor function of patients with a glioma within or close to motor-related areas and not limited to the precentral gyrus.

METHODS The authors included 95 patients with gliomas within or close to motor-related areas who were treated between April 2000 and May 2020. All tumors were resected with IVM monitoring during awake craniotomy and transcortical MEP monitoring. Postoperative motor function was classified into four categories: “no change” or “declined,” the latter of which was further categorization as “mild,” “moderate,” or “severe.” The authors defined moderate and severe deficits as those that impact daily life.

RESULTS Motor function 6 months after surgery was classified as no change in 71 patients, mild in 18, moderate in 5, and severe in 1. Motor function at 6 months after surgery significantly correlated with IVM (p < 0.0001), transcortical MEPs (decline ≤ or > 50%) (p < 0.0001), age, preoperative motor dysfunction, extent of resection, and ischemic change on postoperative MRI. Thirty-two patients with no change in IVM showed no change in motor function at 6 months after surgery. Five of 34 patients (15%) with a decline in IVM and a decline in MEPs ≤ 50% had motor dysfunction with mild deficits 6 months after surgery. Furthermore, 19 of 23 patients (83%) with a decline in IVM and decline in MEPs > 50% had a decline in motor function, including 13 patients with mild, 5 with moderate, and 1 with severe deficits. Six patients with moderate or severe deficits had the lowest MEP values, at < 100 μV.

CONCLUSIONS This study validated the utility of combined application of IVM during awake craniotomy and transcortical MEP monitoring to predict motor function at 6 months after surgery in patients with a glioma within or close to motorrelated areas, not limited to the precentral gyrus. The authors also validated the usefulness of the cutoff value, 100 μV, in MEP monitoring.

Impact of awake mapping on overall survival and extent of resection in patients with adult diffuse gliomas within or near eloquent areas

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:395–404

Awake craniotomy (AC) with intraoperative mapping is the best approach to preserve neurological function for glioma surgery in eloquent or near eloquent areas, but whether AC improves the extent of resection (EOR) and overall survival (OS) is controversial. This study aimed to compare the long-term clinical outcomes of glioma resection under AC with those under general anesthesia (GA).

Methods Data of 335 patients who underwent surgery with intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging for newly diagnosed gliomas of World Health Organization (WHO) grades II-IV between 2000 and 2013 were reviewed. EOR and OS were quantitatively compared between the AC and GA groups after 1:1 propensity score matching. The two groups were matched for age, preoperative Karnofsky performance status (KPS), tumor location, and pathology.

Results After propensity score matching, 91 pairs were obtained. The median EOR was 96.1% (interquartile range [IQR] 7.3) and 97.4% (IQR 14.4) in the AC and GA groups, respectively (p = 0.31). Median KPS score 3 months after surgery was 90 (IQR 20) in both groups (p = 0.384). The median survival times were 163.3 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 77.9–248.7) and 143.5 months (95% CI 94.4–192.7) in the AC and GA groups, respectively (p = 0.585).

Conclusion Even if the glioma was within or close to the eloquent area, AC was comparable with GA in terms of EOR and OS. In case of difficulties in randomizing patients with eloquent or near eloquent glioma, our propensity score-matched analysis provides retrospective evidence that AC can obtain EOR and OS equivalent to removing glioma under GA.

Recurrent Low-Grade Gliomas: Does Reoperation Affect Neurocognitive Functioning?

Neurosurgery 90:221–232, 2022

Reoperations in patients with recurrent low-grade gliomas (RLGG) were proposed to control tumor residual and delay the risk of malignant transformation over time.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate neurocognitive outcomes in patients with RLGG who underwent a second surgery with awake monitoring.

METHODS: In this retrospective study, patients who underwent a second awake surgery for RLGG were included. Patients had presurgical and 3-mo postsurgical neuropsychological assessments. Data were converted into Z-scores and combined by the cognitive domain. Number of patients with cognitive deficits (Z-score <À1.65), variations of Z-scores, and extent of resection (EOR) were analyzed.

RESULTS: Sixty-two patients were included (mean age: 41.2 ± 10.0 yr). None had permanent neurological deficits postoperatively. Eight patients (12.9%) had a cognitive deficit preoperatively. Four additional patients (6.5%) had a cognitive deficit 3 mo after reoperation. Among other patients, 13 (21.0%) had a mild decline without cognitive deficits while 29 (46.8%) had no change of their performances and 8 (12.9%) improved. Overall, 94.2% of the patients returned to work. There were no correlations between EOR and Z-scores. Total/ subtotal resections were achieved in 91.9% of the patients (mean residual: 3.1 cm3 ). Fiftyeight patients (93.5%) were still alive after an overall follow-up of 8.3 yr.

CONCLUSION: Reoperation with awake monitoring in patients with RLGG was compatible with an early recovery of neuropsychological abilities. Four patients (6.5%) presented a new cognitive deficit at 3 mo postoperatively. Total/subtotal resections were achieved in most patients. Based on these favorable outcomes, reoperation should be considered in a more systematic way.

Asleep or awake motor mapping for resection of perirolandic glioma in the nondominant hemisphere?

J Neurosurg 136:16–29, 2022

Resection of glioma in the nondominant hemisphere involving the motor areas and pathways requires the use of brain-mapping techniques to spare essential sites subserving motor control. No clear indications are available for performing motor mapping under either awake or asleep conditions or for the best mapping paradigm (e.g., resting or active, high-frequency [HF] or low-frequency [LF] stimulation) that provides the best oncological and functional outcomes when tailored to the clinical context. This work aimed to identify clinical and imaging factors that influence surgical strategy (asleep motor mapping vs awake motor mapping) and that are associated with the best functional and oncological outcomes and to design a “motor mapping score” for guiding tumor resection in this area.

METHODS The authors evaluated a retrospective series of patients with nondominant-hemisphere glioma—located or infiltrating within 2 cm anteriorly or posteriorly to the central sulcus and affecting the primary motor cortex, its fibers, and/ or the praxis network—who underwent operations with asleep (HF monopolar probe) or awake (LF and HF probes) motor mapping. Clinical and imaging variables were used to design a motor mapping score. A prospective series of patients was used to validate this motor mapping score.

RESULTS One hundred thirty-five patients were retrospectively analyzed: 69 underwent operations with asleep (HF stimulation) motor mapping, and 66 underwent awake (LF and HF stimulation and praxis task evaluation) motor mapping. Previous motor (strength) deficit, previous treatment (surgery/radiotherapy), tumor volume > 30 cm3, and tumor involvement of the praxis network (on MRI) were identified and used to design the mapping score. Motor deficit, previous treatment, and location within or close to the central sulcus favor use of asleep motor mapping; large tumor volume and involvement of the praxis network favor use of awake motor mapping. The motor mapping score was validated in a prospective series of 52 patients—35 underwent operations with awake motor mapping and 17 with asleep motor mapping on the basis of the score indications—who had a low rate of postoperative motor-praxis deficit (3%) and a high extent of resection (median 97%; complete resection in > 70% of patients).

CONCLUSIONS Extensive resection of tumor involving the eloquent areas for motor control is feasible, and when an appropriate mapping strategy is applied, the incidence of postoperative motor-praxis deficit is low. Asleep (HF stimulation) motor mapping is preferable for lesions close to or involving the central sulcus and/or in patients with preoperative strength deficit and/or history of previous treatment. When a patient has no motor deficit or previous treatment and has a lesion (> 30 cm3) involving the praxis network, awake mapping is preferable.

Surgery of Insular Diffuse Gliomas—Part 2: Probabilistic Cortico-Subcortical Atlas of Critical Eloquent Brain Structures and Probabilistic Resection Map During Transcortical Awake Resection

Neurosurgery 89:579–590, 2021

Insular diffuse glioma surgery is challenging, and tools to help surgical planning could improve the benefit-to-risk ratio.

OBJECTIVE: To provide a probabilistic resection map and frequency atlases of critical eloquent regions of insular diffuse gliomas based on our surgical experience.

METHODS: We computed cortico-subcortical “eloquent” anatomic sites identified intraoperatively by direct electrical stimulations during transcortical awake resection of insular diffuse gliomas in adults.

RESULTS: From 61 insular diffuse gliomas (39 left, 22 right; all left hemispheric dominance for language), we provided a frequency atlas of eloquence of the opercula (left/right; pars orbitalis: 0%/5.0%; pars triangularis: l5.6%/4.5%; pars opercularis: 37.8%/27.3%; precentral gyrus: 97.3%/95.4%; postcentral and supramarginal gyri: 75.0%/57.1%; temporal pole and superior temporal gyrus: 13.3%/0%), which tailored the transcortical approach (frontal operculum to reach the antero-superior insula, temporal operculum to reach the inferior insula, parietal operculum to reach the posterior insula). We provided a frequency atlas of eloquence identifying the subcortical functional boundaries (36.1% pyramidal pathways, 50.8% inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, 13.1% arcuate and superior longitudinal fasciculi complex, 3.3% somatosensory pathways, 8.2% caudate and lentiform nuclei). Vascular boundaries and increasing errors during testing limited the resection in 8.2% and 11.5% of cases, respectively. We provided a probabilistic 3-dimensional atlas of resectability.

CONCLUSION: Functional mapping under awake conditions has to be performed intraoperatively in each patient to guide surgical approach and resection of insular diffuse gliomas in right and left hemispheres. Frequency atlases of opercula eloquence and of subcortical eloquent anatomic boundaries, and probabilistic 3-dimensional atlas of resectability could guide neurosurgeons.

Surgery of Insular Diffuse Gliomas—Part 1: Transcortical Awake Resection Is Safe and Independently Improves Overall Survival

Neurosurgery 89:565–578, 2021

Insular diffuse glioma resection is at risk of vascular injury and of postoperative new neurocognitive deficits.

OBJECTIVE: To assess safety and efficacy of surgical management of insular diffuse gliomas.

METHODS: Observational, retrospective, single-institution cohort analysis (2005-2019) of 149 adult patients surgically treated for an insular diffuse glioma: transcortical awake resection with intraoperative functional mapping (awake resection subgroup, n = 61), transcortical asleep resection without functional mapping (asleep resection subgroup, n = 50), and stereotactic biopsy (biopsy subgroup, n = 38). All cases were histopathologically assessed according to the 2016World Health Organization classification and cIMPACTNOW update 3.

RESULTS: Following awake resection, 3/61 patients had permanent motor deficit, seizure control rates improved (89% vs 69% preoperatively, P = .034), and neurocognitive performance improved from 5% to 24% in tested domains, despite adjuvant oncological treatments. Resection rates were higher in the awake resection subgroup (median 94%) than in the asleep resection subgroup (median 46%; P < .001). There was more gross total resection (25% vs 12%) and less partial resection (34% vs 80%) in the awake resection subgroup than in the asleep resection subgroup (P< .001). Karnofsky Performance Status score <70 (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 2.74, P = .031), awake resection (aHR 0.21, P = .031), isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH)-mutant grade 2 astrocytoma (aHR 5.17, P = .003), IDHmutant grade 3 astrocytoma (aHR 6.11, P < .001), IDH-mutant grade 4 astrocytoma (aHR 13.36, P = .008), and IDH-wild-type glioblastoma (aHR 21.84, P < .001) were independent predictors of overall survival.

CONCLUSION:Awake surgery preserving the brain connectivity is safe, allows larger resections for insular diffuse gliomas than asleep resection, and positively impacts overall survival.

A Review of Cortical and Subcortical Stimulation Mapping for Language: A Review of Cortical and Subcortical Stimulation Mapping for Language

Neurosurgery 89:331–342, 2021

Since the early descriptions of language function based on observations of patients with language deficits by Broca and Wernicke, neurosurgeons have been focused on characterizing the anatomic regions necessary for language perception and production, and preserving these structures during surgery to minimize patient deficits post operatively.

In this supplementary issue on awake intraoperative mapping, we review language processing across multiple domains, highlighting key advances in direct electrical stimulation of different cortical and subcortical regions involved in naming, repetition, reading, writing, and syntax.

We then discuss different intraoperative tasks for assessing the function of a given area and avoiding injury to critical, eloquent regions.

Clinical Pearls and Methods for Intraoperative Awake Language Mapping

Neurosurgery 89:143–153, 2021

Intraoperative language mapping of tumor and peritumor tissue is a well-established technique for avoiding permanent neurological deficits and maximizing extent of resection.

Although there are several components of language that may be tested intraoperatively (eg, naming, writing, reading, and repetition), there is a lack of consistency in how patients are tested intraoperatively as well as the techniques involved to ensure safety during an awake procedure.

Here, we review appropriate patient selection, neuroanesthetic techniques, cortical and subcortical language mapping stimu- lation paradigms, and selection of intraoperative language tasks used during awake craniotomies.

We also expand on existing language mapping reviews by considering how intensity and timing of electrical stimulation may impact interpretation of mapping results.

A focal brain-cooling device as an alternative to electrical stimulation for language mapping during awake craniotomy

J Neurosurg Case Lessons 2(2):CASE21131, 2021

Functional mapping in awake craniotomy has the potential risk of electrical stimulation-related seizure. The authors have developed a novel mapping technique using a brain-cooling device. The cooling probe is cylindrical in shape with a thermoelectric cooling plate (10  10 mm) at the bottom. A proportional integration and differentiation-controlled system adjusts the temperature accurately (Japan patent no. P5688666). The authors used it in two patients with glioblastoma. Broca’s area was identified by electrical stimulation, and then the cooling probe set at 5°C was attempted on it.

OBSERVATIONS Electrocorticogram was suppressed, and the temperature dropped to 8°C in 50 sec. A positive aphasic reaction was reproduced on Broca’s area at a latency of 7 sec. A negative reaction appeared on the adjacent cortices despite the temperature decrease. The sensitivity and specificity were 60% and 100%, respectively. No seizures or other adverse events related to the cooling were recognized, and no histological damage to the cooled cortex was observed.

LESSONS The cooling probe suppressed topographical brain function selectively and reversibly. Awake functional mapping based on thermal neuromodulation technology could substitute or compensate for the conventional electrical mapping.

The perspectives of mapping and monitoring of the sense of self in neurosurgical patients

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:1213–1226

Surgical treatment of tumors, epileptic foci or of vascular origin, requires a detailed individual pre-surgical workup and intraoperative surveillance of brain functions to minimize the risk of post-surgical neurological deficits and decline of quality of life. Most attention is attributed to language, motor functions, and perception. However, higher cognitive functions such as social cognition, personality, and the sense of self may be affected by brain surgery. To date, the precise localization and the network patterns of brain regions involved in such functions are not yet fully understood, making the assessment of risks of related postsurgical deficits difficult. It is in the interest of neurosurgeons to understand with which neural systems related to selfhood and personality they are interfering during surgery.

Recent neuroscience research using virtual reality and clinical observations suggest that the insular cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, and temporo-parietal junction are important components of a neural system dedicated to self-consciousness based on multisensory bodily processing, including exteroceptive and interoceptive cues (bodily self-consciousness (BSC)).

Here, we argue that combined extra- and intra-operative approaches using targeted cognitive testing, functional imaging and EEG, virtual reality, combined with multisensory stimulations, may contribute to the assessment of the BSC and related cognitive aspects. Although the usefulness of particular biomarkers, such as cardiac and respiratory signals linked to virtual reality, and of heartbeat evoked potentials as a surrogate marker for intactness of multisensory integration for intra-operative monitoring has to be proved, systemic and automatized testing of BSC in neurosurgical patients will improve future surgical outcome.

Incidence and linguistic quality of speech errors: a comparison of preoperative transcranial magnetic stimulation and intraoperative direct cortex stimulation

J Neurosurg 134:1409–1418, 2021

Given the interindividual variance of functional language anatomy, risk prediction based merely on anatomical data is insufficient in language area–related brain tumor surgery, suggesting the need for direct cortical and subcortical mapping during awake surgery. Reliable, noninvasive preoperative methods of language localization hold the potential for reducing the necessity for awake procedures and may improve patient counseling and surgical planning. Repetitive navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (rnTMS) is an evolving tool for localizing language-eloquent areas. The aim of this study was to investigate the reliability of rnTMS in locating cortical language sites.

METHODS Twenty-five patients with brain tumors in speech-related areas were prospectively evaluated with preoperative rnTMS (5 Hz, train of five, average 105% resting motor threshold) and navigated direct cortical stimulation (DCS; bipolar, 50 Hz, 6–8 mA, 200-μsec pulse width) during awake surgeries employing a picture-naming task. Positive and negative stimulation spots within the craniotomy were documented in the same MRI data set. TMS and DCS languagepositive areas were compared with regard to their spatial overlap, their allocation in a cortical parcellation system, and their linguistic qualities.

RESULTS There were over twofold more positive language spots within the exposed area on rnTMS than on DCS. The comparison of positive rnTMS and DCS (ground truth) overlaps revealed low sensitivity (35%) and low positive predictive value (16%) but high specificity (90%) and high negative predictive value (96%). Within the overlaps, there was no correlation in error quality. On DCS, 73% of language-positive spots were located in the pars opercularis and pars triangularis of the frontal operculum and 24% within the supramarginal gyrus and dorsal portion of the superior temporal gyrus, while on rnTMS language positivity was distributed more evenly over a large number of gyri.

CONCLUSIONS The current protocol for rnTMS for language mapping identified language-negative sites with good dependability but was unable to reliably detect language-positive spots. Further refinements of the technique will be needed to establish rnTMS language mapping as a useful clinical tool.

Mapping and anatomo-surgical techniques for SMA-cingulum-corpus callosum gliomas

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:1239–1246

Awake brain mapping paradigms are variable, particularly in SMA, and not personalised to each patient. In addition, subpial resections do not offer full protection to vascular injury, as the pia can be easily violated.

Methods Mapping paradigms developed by a multidisciplinary brain mapping team. During resection, a combined subpial/ interhemispheric approach allowed early identification and arterial skeletonization. Precise anatomo-surgical dissection of the affected cingulum and corpus callosum was achieved.

Conclusions In SMA-cingulum-CC tumours, a combined subpial/interhemispheric approach reduces risk of vascular injury allowing precise anatomo-surgical dissections. Knowledge of cognitive functions of affected parcels is likely to offer best outcomes.

Alterations in Functional Connectomics Associated With Neurocognitive Changes Following Glioma Resection

Neurosurgery 88,(3)2021: 544–551

Decline in neurocognitive functioning (NCF) often occurs following brain tumor resection. Functional connectomics have shown how neurologic insults disrupt cerebral networks underlying NCF, though studies involving patients with brain tumors are lacking.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the impact of brain tumor resection upon the connectome and relationships with NCF outcome in the early postoperative period.

METHODS: A total of 15 right-handed adults with left perisylvian glioma underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) and neuropsychological assessment before and after awake tumor resection. Graph theoretical analysiswas applied to rs-fMRI connectivity matrices to calculate network properties. Network properties and NCF measures were compared across the pre- to postoperative periods with matched pairs Wilcoxon signed-rank tests.Associations between pre- to postoperative change in network and NCF measures were determined with Spearman rank-order correlations (ρ).

RESULTS: A majority of the sample showed postoperative decline on 1 or more NCF measures. Significant postoperative NCF decline was found across measures of verbal memory, processing speed, executive functioning, receptive language, and a composite index. Regarding connectomic properties, betweenness centrality and assortativity were significantly smaller postoperatively, and reductions in these measures were associated with better NCF outcomes. Significant inverse associations (ρ = −.51 to −.78, all P < .05) were observed between change in language, executive functioning, and learning and memory, and alterations in segregation, centrality, and resilience network properties.

CONCLUSION: Decline in NCF was common shortly following resection of glioma involving eloquent brain regions, most frequently in verbal learning/memory and executive functioning. Better postoperative outcomes accompanied reductions in centrality and resilience connectomic measures.

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