Nomogram for predicting an individual prospective hemorrhage risk in untreated brainstem cavernous malformations

J Neurosurg 138:910–921, 2023

In this study, the authors aimed to create a nomogram for precisely predicting the 5-year prospective hemorrhage risk in brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs).

METHODS Patients with confirmed BSCMs in a single-center prospective observational series from January 2012 to December 2016 were included in the present study for nomogram building and validation. The concordance index (C-index), calibration curves, and decision curve analysis were used to evaluate the predictive accuracy, discriminative ability, and clinical usefulness of the nomogram. Then, a nomogram-based risk stratification model for untreated BSCMs was developed.

RESULTS In total, 600 patients were included in the study; 417 patients who had been enrolled before July 2015 were divided into the training and validation cohorts, and 183 subsequently enrolled patients were used as the external validation cohort. By applying a backward stepwise procedure in the multivariable Cox model, variables, including prior hemorrhage (HR 1.69), hemorrhage on admission (HR 3.33), lesion size > 1.5 cm (HR 1.84), lesion depth (HR 2.35), crossing the axial midpoint (HR 1.94), and developmental venous anomaly (HR 2.62), were incorporated to develop a nomogram. The Harrell C-index values for a 5-year prospective hemorrhage were 0.752 (95% CI 0.687–0.816), 0.801 (95% CI 0.665–0.936), and 0.758 (95% CI 0.674–0.842) in the training, internal validation, and external validation cohorts, respectively. The nomogram performed well in terms of consistency between prediction and actual observation according to the calibration curve. The patients could be classified into three distinct (low, medium, and high) risk groups using the final score of this nomogram.

CONCLUSIONS Independent predictors of the 5-year hemorrhage risk in untreated BSCMs were selected to create the first nomogram for predicting individual prospective hemorrhage. The nomogram was able to stratify patients into different risk groups and assist in clinical decision-making.

Risk assessment of motor function using nTMS-based tractography

J Neurosurg 128:800–810, 2018

Navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) and diffusion tensor imaging fiber tracking (DTI FT) based on nTMS data are increasingly used for preoperative planning and resection guidance in patients suffering from motor-eloquent brain tumors. The present study explores whether nTMS-based DTI FT can also be used for individual preoperative risk assessment regarding surgery-related motor impairment.

METHODS Data derived from preoperative nTMS motor mapping and subsequent nTMS-based tractography in 86 patients were analyzed. All patients suffered from high-grade glioma (HGG), low-grade glioma (LGG), or intracranial metastasis (MET). In this context, nTMS-based DTI FT of the corticospinal tract (CST) was performed at a range of fractional anisotropy (FA) levels based on an individualized FA threshold ([FAT]; tracking with 50%, 75%, and 100% FAT), which was defined as the highest FA value allowing for visualization of fibers (100% FAT). Minimum lesion-to-CST distances were measured, and fiber numbers of the reconstructed CST were assessed. These data were then correlated with the preoperative, postoperative, and follow-up status of motor function and the resting motor threshold (rMT).

RESULTS At certain FA levels, a statistically significant difference in lesion-to-CST distances was observed between patients with HGG who had no impairment and those who developed surgery-related transient or permanent motor deficits (75% FAT: p = 0.0149; 100% FAT: p = 0.0233). In this context, no patient with a lesion-to-CST distance ≥ 12 mm suffered from any new surgery-related permanent paresis (50% FAT and 75% FAT). Furthermore, comparatively strong negative correlations were observed between the rMT and lesion-to-CST distances of patients with surgery-related transient paresis (Spearman correlation coefficient [rs]; 50% FAT: rs = –0.8660; 75% FAT: rs = –0.8660) or surgery-related permanent paresis (50% FAT: rs = –0.7656; 75% FAT: rs = –0.6763).

CONCLUSIONS This is one of the first studies to show a direct correlation between imaging, clinical status, and neurophysiological markers for the integrity of the motor system in patients with brain tumors. The findings suggest that nTMSbased DTI FT might be suitable for individual risk assessment in patients with HGG, in addition to being a surgery-planning tool. Importantly, necessary data for risk assessment were obtained without significant additional efforts, making this approach potentially valuable for direct clinical use.