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.

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.

Iterative Surgical Resections of Diffuse Glioma With Awake Mapping: How to Deal With Cortical Plasticity and Connectomal Constraints?

Neurosurgery 85(1):105–116. 2019

In diffuse glioma, a multistage approach with iterative tailored surgical resections can be considered.
OBJECTIVE: To compare results of iterative intrasurgical brain mappings to investigate the potential and limitation of neuroplasticity at the individual stage, and to highlight to what extent it can influence the therapeutic strategy.
METHODS: Glioma patients who underwent 2 consecutive awake surgeries with cortical and subcortical stimulation were classified into group 1 (n = 23) if cortical mappings exhibited high level of plasticity (displacement of ≥2 sites) or into group 2 (n = 19) with low level of plasticity.
RESULTS: Clinical characteristics did not differ significantly between both groups. The borders of the tumors were mostly sharp in group 1 (82.6%) and rather indistinct in group 2 (84.2%), (P = .00001). Tumor remnants were more often cortical (± subcortical) in group 1 (39.1%) and more often purely subcortical in group 2 (68.4%; P = .009). In group 1, the time needed to recover independence was significantly shorter at reoperation (37.6 h vs 78.3 h after the first surgery, P = .00003) while this difference was not significant in group 2. The iterative extents of resection (EOR) remain comparable in group 1 (94% vs 92%, P = .40) but were significantly smaller in group 2 at reoperation (94% vs 88%, P = .05).
CONCLUSION: More efficient plasticity mechanisms are facilitated by cortical tumors with sharp borders, are associated with an increase of EOR at reoperation and with earlier functional recovery. Tumoral invasion of the white matter tracts represents the main limitation of neuroplasticity: this connectomal constraint limits EOR during second surgery.

Surgery of insular and paralimbic diffuse low-grade gliomas: technical considerations


J Neurooncol (2016) 130:289–298

Once considered a ‘‘no man’s land’’ especially when invaded by a diffuse low grade glioma (DLGG), the insula remains to this day a surgical challenge. Surgery for insular DLGG involves consideration of its hidden location under the potentially eloquent operculae, the proximity to vascular tree and high density of functions not only in the insular cortex but also in the white fiber pathways passing under the insular lobe. The natural history of DLGG and the potential benefits and consequences of the surgical approach also need a close look.

In the last decade, a better knowledge of the functional anatomy and connectivity of this region, as well as an improvement in surgical techniques as direct stimulation mapping, combined with an increasing literature showing a favorable impact of maximal resection for DLGG, were deciding factors in the paradigmatic shift from expectative treatment to early surgical management.

Here, our goal is to discuss the structural and functional aspects of the insula, the specificities of insular and paralimbic DLGG by emphasizing the technical considerations of surgery in this region, as well as its oncological and functional outcomes. In summary, this new strategy based upon early maximal safe surgical resection showed both oncological benefit and preservation of quality of life—or even an improvement thanks to epilepsy relief.

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