The Survival Advantage of “Supratotal” Resection of Glioblastoma Using Selective Cortical Mapping and the Subpial Technique

Neurosurgery 81:275–288, 2017

A substantial body of evidence suggests that cytoreductive surgery is a prerequisite to prolonging survival in patients with glioblastoma (GBM).

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety and impact of “supratotal” resections beyond the zone of enhancement seen on magnetic resonance imaging scans, using a subpial technique.

METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated 86 consecutive patients with primary GBM, managed by the senior author, using a subpial resection technique with or without carmustine (BCNU) wafer implantation. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression was used to analyze clinical, radiological, and outcome variables. Overall impacts of extent of resection (EOR) and BCNUwafer placementwere compared using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis.

RESULTS: Mean patient age was 56 years. The median OS for the group was 18.1 months. Median OS for patients undergoing gross total, near-total, and subtotal resection were 54, 16.5, and 13.2 months, respectively. Patients undergoing near-total resection (P = .05) or gross total resection (P<.01) experienced statistically significant longer survival time than patients undergoing subtotal resection as well as patients undergoing≥95% EOR (P<.01) when compared to <95% EOR. The addition of BCNU wafers had no survival advantage.

CONCLUSIONS: The subpial technique extends the resection beyond the contrast enhancement and is associated with an overall survival beyond that seen in similar series where resection of the enhancement portion is performed. The effect of supratotal resection on survival exceeded the effects of age, Karnofsky performance score, and tumor volume. A prospective study would help to quantify the impact of the subpial technique on quality of life and survival as compared to a traditional resection limited to the enhancing tumor.


Cyst Fluid From Cystic, Malignant Brain Tumors: A Reservoir of Nutrients, Including Growth Factor-Like Nutrients, for Tumor Cells

Neurosurgery 80:917–924, 2017

Brain tumors may have cysts, whose content of nutrients could influence tumor cell microenvironment and growth.

OBJECTIVE: To measure nutrients in cyst fluid from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and metastatic brain tumors.

METHODS: Quantification of nutrients in cyst fluid from 12 to 18 GBMs and 4 to 10 metastatic brain tumors.

RESULTS: GBM cysts contained glucose at 2.2 mmol/L (median value; range <0.8-3.5) and glutamine at 1.04 mmol/L (0.17-4.2). Lactate was 7.1 mmol/L (2.4-12.5) and correlated inversely with glucose level (r = –0.77; P < .001). Amino acids, including glutamate, varied greatly, but median values were similar to previously published serum values. Ammonia was 75 μmol/L (11-241). B vitamins were present at previously published serum values, and riboflavin, nicotinamide, pyridoxal 5 -phosphate, and cobalamin were higher in cyst fluid than in cerebrospinal fluid. Inorganic phosphate was 1.25 mmol/L (0.34-3.44), which was >3 times higher than in ventricular cerebrospinal fluid: 0.35 mmol/L (0.22-0.66; P < .001). Tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates were in the low micromolar range, except for citrate, which was 240 μmol/L (140-590). In cystic metastatic malignant melanomas and lung tumors values were similar to those in GBMs.

CONCLUSION: Tumor cysts may be a nutrient reservoir for brain tumors, securing tumor energy metabolism and synthesis of cell constituents. Serum is one likely source of cyst fluid nutrients. Nutrient levels in tumor cyst fluid are highly variable, which could differentially stimulate tumor growth. Cyst fluid glutamate, lactate, and phosphate may act as tumor growth factors; these compounds have previously been shown to stimulate tumor growth at concentrations found in tumor cyst fluid.


Relationship of glioblastoma multiforme to the subventricular zone is associated with survival

Relationship of glioblastoma multiforme to the subventricular zone is associated with survival

Neuro-Oncology 15(1):91–96, 2013

The subventricular zone (SVZ) lines the lateral ventricles and represents the origin of neural and some cancer stem cells. Tumors contacting the SVZ may be more invasive with higher potential to recruit migratory progenitor cells.

Our specific aim was to determine whether SVZ involvement in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is associated with a higher recurrence rate and shorter overall survival.

MR imaging and clinical data from 91 patients with GBM treated at our institution were retrospectively reviewed. Tumors were classified as type I if the contrast- enhancing lesion contacted both the SVZ and cortex on pre-operative MRI, type II if only the SVZ was involved, type III if only cortex was involved, and type IV if the lesion did not contact either the SVZ or cortex. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival were estimated based on Kaplan-Meier calculations.

When comparing type I tumors with types II-IV, only 39% of patients with type I tumors were free of recurrence and alive at 6 months, significantly fewer than for all other types combined (67%; P = .01). PFS at 6 months was also less, at only 47% among patients with SVZ-positive tumors, compared with 69% in the SVZ-negative group (P = .002). Patients with SVZ involvement also demonstrated a more rapid time to progression, compared with those not involving the SVZ (P = .003). Patients with GBM involving the SVZ have decreased overall survival and PFS, which may have prognostic and therapeutic implications.

ELTD1, a Potential New Biomarker for Gliomas

ELTD1, a Potential New Biomarker for Gliomas

Neurosurgery 72:77–91, 2013

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a high-grade glioma, is characterized by being diffuse, invasive, and highly angiogenic and has a very poor prognosis. Identification of new biomarkers could help in the further diagnosis of GBM.

OBJECTIVE: To identify ELTD1 (epidermal growth factor, latrophilin, and 7 transmembrane domain-containing protein 1 on chromosome 1) as a putative gliomaassociated marker via a bioinformatic method.

METHODS: We used advanced data mining and a novel bioinformatics method to predict ELTD1 as a potential novel biomarker that is associated with gliomas. Validation was done with immunohistochemistry, which was used to detect levels of ELTD1 in human high-grade gliomas and rat F98 glioma tumors. In vivo levels of ELTD1 in rat F98 gliomas were assessed using molecular magnetic resonance imaging.

RESULTS: ELTD1 was found to be significantly higher (P = .03) in high-grade gliomas (50 patients) compared with low-grade gliomas (21 patients) and compared well with traditional immunohistochemistry markers including vascular endothelial growth factor, glucose transporter 1, carbonic anhydrase IX, and hypoxia-inducible factor 1a. ELTD1 gene expression indicates an association with grade, survival across grade, and an increase in the mesenchymal subtype. Significantly high (P , .001) in vivo levels of ELTD1 were additionally found in F98 tumors compared with normal brain tissue.

CONCLUSION: Results of this study strongly suggests that associative analysis was able to accurately identify ELTD1 as a putative glioma-associated biomarker. The detection of ELTD1 was also validated in both rodent and human gliomas and may serve as an additional biomarker for gliomas in preclinical and clinical diagnosis of gliomas.

Extent of resection in glioblastoma

J Neurosurg 117:851–859, 2012

The extent of resection (EOR) is a known prognostic factor in patients with glioblastoma. However, gross-total resection (GTR) is not always achieved. Understanding the factors that prevent GTR is helpful in surgical planning and when counseling patients. The goal of this study was to identify demographic, tumor-related, and technical factors that influence EOR and to define the relationship between the surgeon’s impression of EOR and radiographically determined EOR.

Methods. The authors performed a retrospective review of the electronic medical records to identify all patients who underwent craniotomy for glioblastoma resection between 2006 and 2009 and who had both preoperative and postoperative MRI studies. Forty-six patients were identified and were included in the study. Image analysis software (FIJI) was used to perform volumetric analysis of tumor size and EOR based on preoperative and postoperative MRI. Using multivariate analysis, the authors assessed factors associated with EOR and residual tumor volume. Perception of resectability was described using bivariate statistics, and survival was described using the log-rank test and Kaplan-Meier curves.

Results. The EOR was less for tumors in eloquent areas (p = 0.014) and those touching ventricles (p = 0.031). Left parietal tumors had significantly greater residual volume (p = 0.042). The average EOR was 91.0% in this series. There was MRI-demonstrable residual tumor in 69.6% of cases (16 of 23) in which GTR was perceived by the surgeon. Expert reviewers agreed that GTR could be safely achieved in 37.0% of patients (17 of 46) in this series. Among patients with safely resectable tumors, radiographically complete resection was achieved in 23.5% of patients (4 of 17). An EOR greater than 90% was associated with a significantly greater 1-year survival (76.5%) than an EOR less than 90% (p = 0.005).

Conclusions. The authors’ findings confirm that tumor location affects EOR and suggest that EOR may also be influenced by the surgeon’s ability to judge the presence of residual tumor during surgery. The surgeon’s ability to judge completeness of resection during surgery is commonly inaccurate. The authors’ study confirms the impact of EOR on 1-year survival.

A review of the role of stem cells in the development and treatment of glioma

Acta Neurochir (2012) 154:951–969. DOI 10.1007/s00701-012-1338-9

The neurosurgical management of patients with intrinsic glial cancers is one of the most rapidly evolving areas of practice. This has been fuelled by advances in surgical technique not only in cytoreduction but also in drug delivery. Further innovation will depend on a deeper understanding of the biology of the disease and an appreciation of the limitations of current knowledge.

Here we review the controversial topic of cancer stem cells applied to glioma to provide neurosurgeons with a working overview. It is now recognised that the adult human brain contains regionally specified cell populations capable of self-renewal that may contribute to tumour growth and maintenance following accumulated mutational change. Tumour cells adapted to maintain growth demonstrate some stem-like characteristics and as such constitute a legitimate therapeutic target. Cellular reprogramming technologies raise the potential of developing stem cells as novel surgical tools to target disease and possibly ameliorate some of the consequences of treatment. Achieving these goals remains a significant challenge to neurosurgical oncologists, not least in challenging how we think about treating brain cancer.

This review will briefly examine our understanding of adult stem cells within the brain, the evidence that they contribute to the development of brain tumours as tumour-initiating cells, and the potential implications for therapy. It will also look at the role stem cells may play in the future management of glioma.

Cell Surface Receptors in Malignant Glioma

Neurosurgery 69:980–994, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318220a672

Despite advances in surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, malignant gliomas are still highly lethal tumors. Traditional treatments that rely on nonspecific, cytotoxic approaches have a marginal impact on patient survival.

However, recent advances in the molecular cancer biology underlying glioma pathogenesis have revealed that abnormalities in common cell surface receptors, including receptor tyrosine kinase and other cytokines, mediate the abnormal cellular signal pathways and aggressive biological behavior among the majority of these tumors.

Some cell surface receptors have been targeted by novel agents in preclinical and clinical development. Such cancer-specific targeted agents might offer the promise of improved cancer control without substantial toxicity.

Here, we review these common cell surface receptors with clinical significance for malignant glioma and discuss the molecular characteristics, pathological significance, and potential therapeutic application of these cell surface receptors.

We also summarize the clinical trials of drugs targeting these cell surface receptors in malignant glioma patients.

An extent of resection threshold for newly diagnosed glioblastomas

J Neurosurg 115:3–8, 2011. DOI: 10.3171/2011.2.JNS10998

The value of extent of resection (EOR) in improving survival in patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) remains controversial. Specifically, it is unclear what proportion of contrast-enhancing tumor must be resected for a survival advantage and how much survival improves beyond this threshold. The authors attempt to define these values for the patient with newly diagnosed GBM in the modern neurosurgical era.

Methods. The authors identified 500 consecutive newly diagnosed patients with supratentorial GBM treated at the University of California, San Francisco between 1997 and 2009. Clinical, radiographic, and outcome parameters were measured for each case, including MR imaging–based volumetric tumor analysis.

Results. The patients had a median age of 60 years and presented with a median Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score of 80. The mean clinical follow-up period was 15.3 months, and no patient was unaccounted for. All patients underwent resection followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The median postoperative tumor volume was 2.3 cm3, equating to a 96% EOR. The median overall survival was 12.2 months. Using Cox proportional hazards analysis, age, KPS score, and EOR were predictive of survival (p < 0.0001). A significant survival advantage was seen with as little as 78% EOR, and stepwise improvement in survival was evident even in the 95%–100% EOR range. A recursive partitioning analysis validated these findings and provided additional risk stratification parameters related to age, EOR, and tumor burden.

Conclusions. For patients with newly diagnosed GBMs, aggressive EOR equates to improvement in overall survival, even at the highest levels of resection. Interestingly, subtotal resections as low as 78% also correspond to a survival benefit.

Glioblastoma multiforme of the elderly: the prognostic effect of resection on survival

J Neurooncol. DOI 10.1007/s11060-010-0429-9

According to recent developments the best treatment options for glioblastoma (GBM) consist in maximum safe resection and additional adjuvant treatment with radiotherapy (RT) and alkylating chemotherapy (CHX).

These options have been evaluated for populations with a median age of approximately 58 years. We therefore addressed the issue of whether elderly patients ([65years) could also benefit from cytoreductive surgery (CS) and adjuvant treatment using alkylating chemotherapy.

Onehundred and three patients suffering from newly diagnosed, primary supratentorial glioblastoma multiforme[65 years (median 70.8 years) were identified in our single-center glioma database (2002–2007) and retrospectively divided into group A (n = 31) treated with surgery alone (biopsy, BY, n = 21, CS n = 10), group B (n = 37) surgery plus radiation (BY n = 18, CS n = 19), and group C (n = 35) surgery, RT and CHX (BY n = 4, CS n = 31). Progression- free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OAS) were determined in each group and correlated to age, Karnofsky performance score (KPS), and extent of resection (biopsy (BY), partial (PR), and complete resection (CR)). Progression was defined according the Macdonald criteria. For all patients PFS and OAS were 3.2 months and 5.1 months (m) respectively. PFS and OAS for groups A/B/C were 1.8/ 3.2/6.4 m (P = 0.000) and 2.2/4.4/15.0 m (P = 0.000), respectively. Median age for groups A/B/C was 74.4/70.6/ 68.5 years and median KPS was 60/70/80. Age (\75, C75) was inversely correlated with OAS (5.8/2.5 m, P = 0.01). KPS (\70, C70) was correlated with OAS 2.4/6.5 m (P = 0.000). Extent of resection (BY, PR, or CR) correlated with PFS (2.1/3.4/6.4 m, P = 0,000) and OS (2.2/7.0/ 13.9 m, P = 0,000), respectively.

Our study shows that elderly GBM patients can benefit from maximum treatment procedures with cytoreductive microsurgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Treatment options are obviously affected by KPS and age. The most impressive outcome predictor in this population was the extent of microsurgical resection for patients treated with adjuvant radiotherapy and chemotherapy. To conclude, elderly GBM patients should not be per se excluded from intensive treatment procedures.

A proposed classification system that projects outcomes based on preoperative variables for adult patients with glioblastoma multiforme

J Neurosurg 112:997–1004, 2010. DOI: 10.3171/2009.9.JNS09805

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and aggressive type of primary brain tumor in adults. Although the average survival is ~ 12 months, individual survival is heterogeneous. The ability to predict short- and long-term survivors is limited. Therefore, the aims of this study were to ascertain preoperative risk factors associated with survival, develop a preoperative prognostic grading system, and evaluate the utility of this grading system in predicting survival for patients undergoing resection of a primary intracranial GBM.

Methods. Cases involving adult patients who underwent surgery for an intracranial primary (de novo) GBM between 1997 and 2007 at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, an academic tertiary-care institution, were retrospectively reviewed. Multivariate proportional hazards regression analysis was used to identify preoperative factors associated with survival, after controlling for extent of resection and adjuvant therapies. The identified associations with survival were then used to develop a grading system based on preoperative variables. Survival as a function of time was plotted using the Kaplan-Meier method, and survival rates were compared using Log-rank analysis. Associations with p < 0.05 were considered statistically significant.

Results. Of the 393 patients in this study, 310 (79%) had died as of most recent follow-up (median time from surgery to death 11.9 months). The preoperative factors, independent of extent of resection and adjuvant therapies (carmustine wafers, temozolomide, and radiation), found to be negatively associated with survival were: age > 60 years (p < 0.0001), Karnofsky performance status score ≤ 80 (p < 0.0001), motor deficit (p = 0.02), language deficit (p = 0.001), and periventricular tumor location (p = 0.04). Patients possessing 0–1, 2, 3, and 4–5 of these variables were assigned a preoperative grade of 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Patients with a preoperative grade of 1, 2, 3, and 4 had a median survival of 16.6, 10.2, 6.8, and 6.1 months, respectively.

Conclusions. The present study found that older age, poor performance status, motor deficit, language deficit, and periventricular tumor location independently predicted poorer survival in patients undergoing GBM resection. A grading system based on these factors was able to identify 4 distinct groups of patients with different survival rates. This grading system, based only on preoperative variables, may provide patients and physicians with prognostic information that may guide medical and surgical therapy before any intervention is pursued

Integrated Genomic Analysis Identifies Clinically Relevant Subtypes of Glioblastoma Characterized by Abnormalities in PDGFRA, IDH1, EGFR, and NF1

Cancer Cell 17, 98–110, January 19, 2010

The Cancer Genome Atlas Network recently cataloged recurrent genomic abnormalities in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). We describe a robust gene expression-based molecular classification of GBM into Proneural, Neural, Classical, and Mesenchymal subtypes and integrate multidimensional genomic data to establish patterns of somatic mutations and DNA copy number. Aberrations and gene expression of EGFR, NF1, and PDGFRA/IDH1 each define the Classical, Mesenchymal, and Proneural subtypes, respectively. Gene signatures of normal brain cell types show a strong relationship between subtypes and different neural lineages. Additionally, response to aggressive therapy differs by subtype, with the greatest benefit in the Classical subtype and no benefit in the Proneural subtype. We provide a framework that unifies transcriptomic and genomic dimensions for GBM molecular stratification with important implications for future studies.

This work expands on previous glioblastoma classification studies by associating known subtypes with specific alterations in NF1 and PDGFRA/IDH1 and by identifying two additional subtypes, one of which is characterized by EGFR abnormalities and wild-type p53. In addition, the subtypes have specific differentiation characteristics that, combined with data from recent mouse studies, suggest a link to alternative cells of origin. Together, these data provide a framework for investigation of targeted therapies. Temozolomide and radiation, a common treatment for glioblastoma, has demonstrated a significant increase in survival. Our analysis illustrates that a survival advantage in heavily treated patients varies by subtype, with Classical or Mesenchymal subtypes having significantly delayed mortality that was not observed in the Proneural subtype

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