Preoperative embolization versus no embolization for WHO grade I intracranial meningioma

J Neurosurg 134:693–700, 2021

The controversy continues over the clinical utility of preoperative embolization for reducing tumor vascularity of intracranial meningiomas prior to resection. Previous studies comparing embolization and nonembolization patients have not controlled for detailed tumor parameters before assessing outcomes.

METHODS The authors reviewed the cases of all patients who underwent resection of a WHO grade I intracranial meningioma at their institution from 2008 to 2016. Propensity score matching was used to generate embolization and nonembolization cohorts of 52 patients each, and a retrospective review of clinical and radiological outcomes was performed.

RESULTS In total, 52 consecutive patients who underwent embolization (mean follow-up 34.8 ± 31.5 months) were compared to 52 patients who did not undergo embolization (mean follow-up 32.8 ± 28.7 months; p = 0.63). Variables controlled for included patient age (p = 0.82), tumor laterality (p > 0.99), tumor location (p > 0.99), tumor diameter (p = 0.07), tumor invasion into a major dural sinus (p > 0.99), and tumor encasement around the internal carotid artery or middle cerebral artery (p > 0.99). The embolization and nonembolization cohorts did not differ in terms of estimated blood loss during surgery (660.4 ± 637.1 ml vs 509.2 ± 422.0 ml; p = 0.17), Simpson grade IV resection (32.7% vs 25.0%; p = 0.39), perioperative procedural complications (26.9% vs 19.2%; p = 0.35), development of permanent new neurological deficits (5.8% vs 7.7%; p = 0.70), or favorable modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score (a score of 0–2) at last follow-up (96.0% vs 92.3%; p = 0.43), respectively. When comparing the final mRS score to the preoperative mRS score, patients in the embolization group were more likely than patients in the nonembolization group to have an improvement in mRS score (50.0% vs 28.8%; p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS After controlling for patient age, tumor size, tumor laterality, tumor location, tumor invasion into a major dural sinus, and tumor encasement of the internal carotid artery or middle cerebral artery, preoperative meningioma embolization intended to decrease tumor vascularity did not improve the surgical outcomes of patients with WHO grade I intracranial meningiomas, but it did lead to a greater chance of clinical improvement compared to patients not treated with embolization.



Embolized cerebral arteriovenous malformations: a multivariate analysis of 101 excised specimens

J Neurosurg 132:1140–1146, 2020

Endovascular approaches have evolved from a technique practiced at very few centers to a widely available option in the management of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the central nervous system. Embolization can be employed as definitive therapy or as an adjunct to surgical excision. A wide variety of embolic agents have been successfully developed and used in the clinical setting. In addition to facilitating vascular occlusion, embolic agents induce a number of reactive and destructive changes in vessel walls and the surrounding tissue. However, studies examining the pathological changes induced by different embolic agents and varying times of exposure are scarce. The goal of the present study was to compare embolic agents and time of exposure on the pathology in excised specimens.

METHODS The records of the Department of Pathology at the London Health Sciences Centre were searched for embolized AVMs for the 35-year period 1980–2015. All cases were reevaluated for clinical and technical variables and standardized histopathological findings. Cases were grouped by embolic agent, volume of agent used, and time to excision.

RESULTS A total of 101 specimens were identified. Embolic agents were invariably associated with a range of pathological findings, some of which may affect the integrity of vessel walls or the reestablishment of flow, thrombosis, acute and chronic inflammatory changes, angionecrosis, extravasation, and recanalization. The type of embolic agent did not predict differences in the incidence or severity of histopathological changes. Larger volumes of embolic agent were associated with a greater proportion of vessels containing embolic material. AVMs excised early (< 1 week postembolization) contained more acute vasculitis, while those excised later (≥ 1 week postembolization) were more likely to exhibit recanalization and foreign body giant cell infiltrates.

CONCLUSIONS Embolic agents induce a predictable range and temporal progression of pathological changes in cerebral AVMs. The embolic agents studied are indistinguishable in terms of the range and frequency of pathological reactions induced. Greater volumes of embolic agent are associated with more abundant agent within the lesion, but the proportion of vessels and vascular cross-sectional areas containing agent is small. Several changes are significantly associated with time postembolization. Acute vasculitis is a more common finding in the 1st week, while recanalization and foreign body–type granulomatous inflammation are more common at 1 week and beyond.


The failure of preoperative ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer embolization to improve outcomes in arteriovenous malformation management: case series


J Neurosurg 118:969–977, 2013

Ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer embolization is increasingly used preoperatively in the resection of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). However, the case for embolization improving the outcome of resection has not been evaluated. In this paper the authors set out to compare outcomes after surgery for brain AVMs in 2 consecutive periods of practice. In the first period, selective embolization was used without the use of ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer. In the second period, selective embolization with ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer was performed.

Methods. A consecutive case series (prospectively collected data) was retrospectively analyzed. Adverse outcomes were considered to be an outcome modified Rankin Scale score greater than 2 due to embolization or surgery.

Results. A total of 538 surgical cases were included. The percentages of adverse outcomes were as follows: 0.34% for Spetzler-Martin AVMs less than Grade III (1 of 297 cases); 5.23% (95% CI 2.64%–9.78%) for Grade III AVMs (9 of 172 cases); and 17% (95% CI 10%–28%) for AVMs greater than Grade III (12 of 69 cases). There was no improvement in outcomes from the first period to the second period. The adverse outcome for Grade III brain AVMs in the first period was 5.2% (7 of 135 cases) and in the second period (after ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer was introduced) it was 5.4% (2 of 37 cases). For AVMs greater than Grade III, the adverse outcome was 12% (6 of 49 cases) in the first period and 30% (6 of 20 cases) in the second period.

Conclusions. Outcomes for brain AVM surgery were not improved by ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer embolization. Preoperative embolization of high-grade AVMs with an ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer did not prevent those hemorrhagic complications which embolization is hypothesized to prevent based on theoretical speculations but not demonstrated in practice.

Onyx embolization for the treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations

Acta Neurochir (2011) 153:869–878. DOI 10.1007/s00701-010-0848-6

Onyx has emerged in recent years for the endovascular treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). However, the role of Onyx embolization is still under discussion. We report our initial experiences in the treatment of brain AVMs with Onyx embolization.

Methods Between January 2004 and December 2007, 86 patients with brain AVMs were embolized with Onyx. Clinical presentation included intracerebral hemorrhage in 32 patients, seizures in 25 patients, headaches in 20 patients, neurologic deficits in 3 patients, and in 6 patients the AVM was an incidental finding. According to the Spetzler–Martin scale, three AVMs were grade I, 13 were grade II, 45 were grade III, 19 were grade IV, and 6 were grade V. Seventy-four AVMs were located in eloquent regions.

Results Initial complete obliteration after final embolization was achieved in 16 patients (18.6%), with an average of 80.5% (range, 30–100%) volume reduction. Partial embolization was followed by surgery in 18 patients, whereas 17 AVMs were cured. In 48 patients treated by embolization and radiosurgery, four patients were lost to follow-up. Three-year follow-up angiography was performed on 30 patients and showed complete obliteration after radiosurgery in 23 patients. The remaining 14 patients are awaiting 3-year postradiosurgery results. Embolization-related permanent morbidity was 3.5%, whereas mortality was 1.2%.

Conclusions Although Onyx allows moderate obliteration rates, combined management, such as adjunctive embolization with microsurgery or radiosurgery, may be effective for selected large AVMs.

A prospective, multicenter, randomized trial of the Onyx liquid embolic system and N-butyl cyanoacrylate embolization of cerebral arteriovenous malformations

J Neurosurg 113:733–741, 2010. DOI: 10.3171/2010.3.JNS09370

The Onyx liquid embolic system (Onyx) was approved in the European Union in 1999 for embolization of lesions in the intracranial and peripheral vasculature, including brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and hypervascular tumors. In 2001 a prospective, equivalence, multicenter, randomized controlled trial was initiated to support a submission for FDA approval. The objective of this study was to verify the safety and efficacy of Onyx compared with N-butyl cyanoacrylate (NBCA) for the presurgical treatment of brain AVMs.

Methods. One hundred seventeen patients with brain AVMs were treated with either Onyx (54 patients) or NBCA (63 patients) for presurgical endovascular embolization between May 2001 and April 2003. The primary end point was technical success in achieving ≥ 50% reduction in AVM volume. Secondary end points were operative blood loss and resection time. All adverse events (AEs) were reported and assigned a relationship to the Onyx or NBCA system, treatment, disease, surgery, or other/unknown. The Data Safety Monitoring Board adjudicated AEs, and a blinded, independent core lab assessed volume measurements. Patients were monitored through discharge after the final surgery or through a 3- and/or 12-month follow-up if resection had not been performed or was incomplete.

Results. The use of Onyx led to ≥ 50% AVM volume reduction in 96% of cases versus 85% for NBCA (p = not significant). The secondary end points of resection time and blood loss were similar. Serious AEs were also similar between the 2 treatment groups.

Conclusions. Onyx is equivalent to NBCA in safety and efficacy as a preoperative embolic agent in reducing brain AVM volume by at least 50%.

Endovascular Treatment of Side Wall Aneurysms Using a Liquid Embolic Agent: A US Single-Center Prospective Trial

Neurosurgery 67:855-860, 2010 DOI: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000374772.22745.C3

Onyx HD-500 is a liquid embolic agent consisting of ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer dissolved in dimethylsulfoxide and mixed with tantalum. This viscous embolic agent was designed to treat intracranial side wall aneurysms, but there have been no prospective published series from the United States. From this early experience, we developed several protocol revisions, technical details, and clinical pearls that have not been published for liquid embolic embolization of aneurysms.

CLINICAL PRESENTATION:We present our single-center prospective series of patients treated with Onyx HD-500 from a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial. Thirteen patients received Onyx HD-500, and their ages ranged from 43 to 81 years. Twelve patients had aneurysms on the internal carotid artery, and 1 patient had an aneurysm the vertebral artery. Every patient had an immediate postangiographic result with 90% or more occlusion by an independent core laboratory assessment. In 1 patient, the Onyx HD-500 injection was aborted, and the aneurysm was embolized with coils. Eleven of 13 patients (85%) underwent 6-month follow-up angiography that demonstrated persistent durable occlusion with no recanalization. There was 1 complication (8%) and no deaths.

CONCLUSION: This is the only prospective series of intracranial aneurysms treated with Onyx HD-500 in the United States. This is also the first publication that describes detailed procedure techniques, recommended protocol revisions, lessons learned from early complications, clinical pearls, and advantages and disadvantages of liquid embolic embolization of aneurysms.