Neurosurgery Research Publications

2021
Bastos DCDA, Juvekar P, Tie Y, Jowkar N, Pieper S, Wells WM, Bi WL, Golby A, Frisken S, Kapur T. Challenges and Opportunities of Intraoperative 3D Ultrasound With Neuronavigation in Relation to Intraoperative MRI. Front Oncol. 2021;11 :656519.Abstract
Introduction: Neuronavigation greatly improves the surgeons ability to approach, assess and operate on brain tumors, but tends to lose its accuracy as the surgery progresses and substantial brain shift and deformation occurs. Intraoperative MRI (iMRI) can partially address this problem but is resource intensive and workflow disruptive. Intraoperative ultrasound (iUS) provides real-time information that can be used to update neuronavigation and provide real-time information regarding the resection progress. We describe the intraoperative use of 3D iUS in relation to iMRI, and discuss the challenges and opportunities in its use in neurosurgical practice. Methods: We performed a retrospective evaluation of patients who underwent image-guided brain tumor resection in which both 3D iUS and iMRI were used. The study was conducted between June 2020 and December 2020 when an extension of a commercially available navigation software was introduced in our practice enabling 3D iUS volumes to be reconstructed from tracked 2D iUS images. For each patient, three or more 3D iUS images were acquired during the procedure, and one iMRI was acquired towards the end. The iUS images included an extradural ultrasound sweep acquired before dural incision (iUS-1), a post-dural opening iUS (iUS-2), and a third iUS acquired immediately before the iMRI acquisition (iUS-3). iUS-1 and preoperative MRI were compared to evaluate the ability of iUS to visualize tumor boundaries and critical anatomic landmarks; iUS-3 and iMRI were compared to evaluate the ability of iUS for predicting residual tumor. Results: Twenty-three patients were included in this study. Fifteen patients had tumors located in eloquent or near eloquent brain regions, the majority of patients had low grade gliomas (11), gross total resection was achieved in 12 patients, postoperative temporary deficits were observed in five patients. In twenty-two iUS was able to define tumor location, tumor margins, and was able to indicate relevant landmarks for orientation and guidance. In sixteen cases, white matter fiber tracts computed from preoperative dMRI were overlaid on the iUS images. In nineteen patients, the EOR (GTR or STR) was predicted by iUS and confirmed by iMRI. The remaining four patients where iUS was not able to evaluate the presence or absence of residual tumor were recurrent cases with a previous surgical cavity that hindered good contact between the US probe and the brainsurface. Conclusion: This recent experience at our institution illustrates the practical benefits, challenges, and opportunities of 3D iUS in relation to iMRI.
Zhang F, Breger A, Cho KIK, Ning L, Westin C-F, O'Donnell LJ, Pasternak O. Deep Learning Based Segmentation of Brain Tissue from Diffusion MRI. Neuroimage. 2021;233 :117934.Abstract
Segmentation of brain tissue types from diffusion MRI (dMRI) is an important task, required for quantification of brain microstructure and for improving tractography. Current dMRI segmentation is mostly based on anatomical MRI (e.g., T1- and T2-weighted) segmentation that is registered to the dMRI space. However, such inter-modality registration is challenging due to more image distortions and lower image resolution in dMRI as compared with anatomical MRI. In this study, we present a deep learning method for diffusion MRI segmentation, which we refer to as DDSeg. Our proposed method learns tissue segmentation from high-quality imaging data from the Human Connectome Project (HCP), where registration of anatomical MRI to dMRI is more precise. The method is then able to predict a tissue segmentation directly from new dMRI data, including data collected with different acquisition protocols, without requiring anatomical data and inter-modality registration. We train a convolutional neural network (CNN) to learn a tissue segmentation model using a novel augmented target loss function designed to improve accuracy in regions of tissue boundary. To further improve accuracy, our method adds diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) parameters that characterize non-Gaussian water molecule diffusion to the conventional diffusion tensor imaging parameters. The DKI parameters are calculated from the recently proposed mean-kurtosis-curve method that corrects implausible DKI parameter values and provides additional features that discriminate between tissue types. We demonstrate high tissue segmentation accuracy on HCP data, and also when applying the HCP-trained model on dMRI data from other acquisitions with lower resolution and fewer gradient directions.
Noh T, Mustroph M, Golby AJ. Intraoperative Imaging for High-Grade Glioma Surgery. Neurosurg Clin N Am. 2021;32 (1) :47-54.Abstract
This article discusses intraoperative imaging techniques used during high-grade glioma surgery. Gliomas can be difficult to differentiate from surrounding tissue during surgery. Intraoperative imaging helps to alleviate problems encountered during glioma surgery, such as brain shift and residual tumor. There are a variety of modalities available all of which aim to give the surgeon more information, address brain shift, identify residual tumor, and increase the extent of surgical resection. The article starts with a brief introduction followed by a review of with the latest advances in intraoperative ultrasound, intraoperative MRI, and intraoperative computed tomography.
2020
Catalino MP, Yao S, Green DL, Laws ER, Golby AJ, Tie Y. Mapping Cognitive and Emotional Networks in Neurosurgical Patients Using Resting-State Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Neurosurg Focus. 2020;48 (2) :E9.Abstract
Neurosurgery has been at the forefront of a paradigm shift from a localizationist perspective to a network-based approach to brain mapping. Over the last 2 decades, we have seen dramatic improvements in the way we can image the human brain and noninvasively estimate the location of critical functional networks. In certain patients with brain tumors and epilepsy, intraoperative electrical stimulation has revealed direct links between these networks and their function. The focus of these techniques has rightfully been identification and preservation of so-called "eloquent" brain functions (i.e., motor and language), but there is building momentum for more extensive mapping of cognitive and emotional networks. In addition, there is growing interest in mapping these functions in patients with a broad range of neurosurgical diseases. Resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) is a noninvasive imaging modality that is able to measure spontaneous low-frequency blood oxygen level-dependent signal fluctuations at rest to infer neuronal activity. Rs-fMRI may be able to map cognitive and emotional networks for individual patients. In this review, the authors give an overview of the rs-fMRI technique and associated cognitive and emotional resting-state networks, discuss the potential applications of rs-fMRI, and propose future directions for the mapping of cognition and emotion in neurosurgical patients.
Stopa BM, Senders JT, Broekman MLD, Vangel M, Golby AJ. Preoperative Functional MRI Use in Neurooncology Patients: A Clinician Survey. Neurosurg Focus. 2020;48 (2) :E11.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Functional MRI (fMRI) is increasingly being investigated for use in neurosurgical patient care. In the current study, the authors characterize the clinical use of fMRI by surveying neurosurgeons' use of and attitudes toward fMRI as a surgical planning tool in neurooncology patients. METHODS: A survey was developed to inquire about clinicians' use of and experiences with preoperative fMRI in the neurooncology patient population, including example case images. The survey was distributed to all neurosurgical departments with a residency program in the US. RESULTS: After excluding incomplete surveys and responders that do not use fMRI (n = 11), 50 complete responses were included in the final analysis. Responders were predominantly from academic programs (88%), with 20 years or more in practice (40%), with a main area of practice in neurooncology (48%) and treating an adult population (90%). All 50 responders currently use fMRI in neurooncology patients, mostly for low- (94%) and high-grade glioma (82%). The leading decision factors for ordering fMRI were location of mass in dominant hemisphere, location in a functional area, motor symptoms, and aphasia. Across 10 cases, language fMRI yielded the highest interrater reliability agreement (Fleiss' kappa 0.437). The most common reasons for ordering fMRI were to identify language laterality, plan extent of resection, and discuss neurological risks with patients. Clinicians reported that fMRI results were not obtained when ordered a median 10% of the time and were suboptimal a median 27% of the time. Of responders, 70% reported that they had ever resected an fMRI-positive functional site, of whom 77% did so because the site was "cleared" by cortical stimulation. Responders reported disagreement between fMRI and awake surgery 30% of the time. Overall, 98% of responders reported that if results of fMRI and intraoperative mapping disagreed, they would rely on intraoperative mapping. CONCLUSIONS: Although fMRI is increasingly being adopted as a practical preoperative planning tool for brain tumor resection, there remains a substantial degree of discrepancy with regard to its current use and presumed utility. There is a need for further research to evaluate the use of preoperative fMRI in neurooncology patients. As fMRI continues to gain prominence, it will be important for clinicians to collectively share best practices and develop guidelines for the use of fMRI in the preoperative planning phase of brain tumor patients.
Canalini L, Klein J, Miller D, Kikinis R. Enhanced Registration of Ultrasound Volumes by Segmentation of Resection Cavity in Neurosurgical Procedures. Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg. 2020;15 (12) :1963-74.Abstract
PURPOSE: Neurosurgeons can have a better understanding of surgical procedures by comparing ultrasound images obtained at different phases of the tumor resection. However, establishing a direct mapping between subsequent acquisitions is challenging due to the anatomical changes happening during surgery. We propose here a method to improve the registration of ultrasound volumes, by excluding the resection cavity from the registration process. METHODS: The first step of our approach includes the automatic segmentation of the resection cavities in ultrasound volumes, acquired during and after resection. We used a convolution neural network inspired by the 3D U-Net. Then, subsequent ultrasound volumes are registered by excluding the contribution of resection cavity. RESULTS: Regarding the segmentation of the resection cavity, the proposed method achieved a mean DICE index of 0.84 on 27 volumes. Concerning the registration of the subsequent ultrasound acquisitions, we reduced the mTRE of the volumes acquired before and during resection from 3.49 to 1.22 mm. For the set of volumes acquired before and after removal, the mTRE improved from 3.55 to 1.21 mm. CONCLUSIONS: We proposed an innovative registration algorithm to compensate the brain shift affecting ultrasound volumes obtained at subsequent phases of neurosurgical procedures. To the best of our knowledge, our method is the first to exclude automatically segmented resection cavities in the registration of ultrasound volumes in neurosurgery.
Lee TC, Guenette JP, Moses ZB, Lee JW, Annino DJ, Chi JH. MRI and CT Guided Cryoablation for Intracranial Extension of Malignancies along the Trigeminal Nerve. J Neurol Surg B Skull Base. 2020;81 (5) :511-4.Abstract
 To describe the technical aspects and early clinical outcomes of patients undergoing percutaneous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided tumor cryoablation along the intracranial trigeminal nerve. This study is a retrospective case review. Large academic tertiary care hospital. Patients who underwent MRI-guided cryoablation of perineural tumor along the intracranial trigeminal nerve. Technical success, pain relief, local control. Percutaneous MRI-guided cryoablation of tumor spread along the intracranial portion of the trigeminal nerve was performed in two patients without complication, with subsequent pain relief, and with local control in the patient with follow-up imaging. Percutaneous MRI-guided cryoablation is a feasible treatment option for malignancies tracking intracranially along the trigeminal nerve.
Narasimhan S, Weis JA, Luo M, Simpson AL, Thompson RC, Miga MI. Accounting for Intraoperative Brain Shift Ascribable to Cavity Collapse During Intracranial Tumor Resection. J Med Imaging (Bellingham). 2020;7 (3) :031506.Abstract
For many patients with intracranial tumors, accurate surgical resection is a mainstay of their treatment paradigm. During surgical resection, image guidance is used to aid in localization and resection. Intraoperative brain shift can invalidate these guidance systems. One cause of intraoperative brain shift is cavity collapse due to tumor resection, which will be referred to as "debulking." We developed an imaging-driven finite element model of debulking to create a comprehensive simulation data set to reflect possible intraoperative changes. The objective was to create a method to account for brain shift due to debulking for applications in image-guided neurosurgery. We hypothesized that accounting for tumor debulking in a deformation atlas data framework would improve brain shift predictions, which would enhance image-based surgical guidance. This was evaluated in a six-patient intracranial tumor resection intraoperative data set. The brain shift deformation atlas data framework consisted of simulated deformations to account for effects due to gravity-induced and hyperosmotic drug-induced brain shift, which reflects previous developments. An additional complement of deformations involving simulated tumor growth followed by debulking was created to capture observed intraoperative effects not previously included. In five of six patient cases evaluated, inclusion of debulking mechanics improved brain shift correction by capturing global mass effects resulting from the resected tumor. These findings suggest imaging-driven brain shift models used to create a deformation simulation data framework of observed intraoperative events can be used to assist in more accurate image-guided surgical navigation in the brain.
Rushmore RJ, Wilson-Braun P, Papadimitriou G, Ng I, Rathi Y, Zhang F, O'Donnell LJ, Kubicki M, Bouix S, Yeterian E, et al. 3D Exploration of the Brainstem in 50-Micron Resolution MRI. Front Neuroanat. 2020;14 :40.Abstract
The brainstem, a structure of vital importance in mammals, is currently becoming a principal focus in cognitive, affective, and clinical neuroscience. Midbrain, pontine and medullary structures serve as the conduit for signals between the forebrain and spinal cord, are the epicenter of cranial nerve-circuits and systems, and subserve such integrative functions as consciousness, emotional processing, pain, and motivation. In this study, we parcellated the nuclear masses and the principal fiber pathways that were visible in a high-resolution T2-weighted MRI dataset of 50-micron isotropic voxels of a postmortem human brainstem. Based on this analysis, we generated a detailed map of the human brainstem. To assess the validity of our maps, we compared our observations with histological maps of traditional human brainstem atlases. Given the unique capability of MRI-based morphometric analysis in generating and preserving the morphology of 3D objects from individual 2D sections, we reconstructed the motor, sensory and integrative neural systems of the brainstem and rendered them in 3D representations. We anticipate the utilization of these maps by the neuroimaging community for applications in basic neuroscience as well as in neurology, psychiatry, and neurosurgery, due to their versatile computational nature in 2D and 3D representations in a publicly available capacity.
Zhang F, Xie G, Leung L, Mooney MA, Epprecht L, Norton I, Rathi Y, Kikinis R, Al-Mefty O, Makris N, et al. Creation of a Novel Trigeminal Tractography Atlas for Automated Trigeminal Nerve Identification. Neuroimage. 2020;220 :117063.Abstract
Diffusion MRI (dMRI) tractography has been successfully used to study the trigeminal nerves (TGNs) in many clinical and research applications. Currently, identification of the TGN in tractography data requires expert nerve selection using manually drawn regions of interest (ROIs), which is prone to inter-observer variability, time-consuming and carries high clinical and labor costs. To overcome these issues, we propose to create a novel anatomically curated TGN tractography atlas that enables automated identification of the TGN from dMRI tractography. In this paper, we first illustrate the creation of a trigeminal tractography atlas. Leveraging a well-established computational pipeline and expert neuroanatomical knowledge, we generate a data-driven TGN fiber clustering atlas using tractography data from 50 subjects from the Human Connectome Project. Then, we demonstrate the application of the proposed atlas for automated TGN identification in new subjects, without relying on expert ROI placement. Quantitative and visual experiments are performed with comparison to expert TGN identification using dMRI data from two different acquisition sites. We show highly comparable results between the automatically and manually identified TGNs in terms of spatial overlap and visualization, while our proposed method has several advantages. First, our method performs automated TGN identification, and thus it provides an efficient tool to reduce expert labor costs and inter-operator bias relative to expert manual selection. Second, our method is robust to potential imaging artifacts and/or noise that can prevent successful manual ROI placement for TGN selection and hence yields a higher successful TGN identification rate.
Epprecht L, Qureshi A, Kozin ED, Vachicouras N, Huber AM, Kikinis R, Makris N, Brown CM, Reinshagen KL, Lee DJ. Human Cochlear Nucleus on 7 Tesla Diffusion Tensor Imaging: Insights Into Micro-anatomy and Function for Auditory Brainstem Implant Surgery. Otol Neurotol. 2020;41 (4) :e484-e493.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: The cochlear nucleus (CN) is the target of the auditory brainstem implant (ABI). Most ABI candidates have Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) and distorted brainstem anatomy from bilateral vestibular schwannomas. The CN is difficult to characterize as routine structural MRI does not resolve detailed anatomy. We hypothesize that diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) enables both in vivo localization and quantitative measurements of CN morphology. STUDY DESIGN: We analyzed 7 Tesla (T) DTI images of 100 subjects (200 CN) and relevant anatomic structures using an MRI brainstem atlas with submillimetric (50 μm) resolution. SETTING: Tertiary referral center. PATIENTS: Young healthy normal hearing adults. INTERVENTION: Diagnostic. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Diffusion scalar measures such as fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), mode of anisotropy (Mode), principal eigenvectors of the CN, and the adjacent inferior cerebellar peduncle (ICP). RESULTS: The CN had a lamellar structure and ventral-dorsal fiber orientation and could be localized lateral to the inferior cerebellar peduncle (ICP). This fiber orientation was orthogonal to tracts of the adjacent ICP where the fibers run mainly caudal-rostrally. The CN had lower FA compared to the medial aspect of the ICP (0.44 ± 0.09 vs. 0.64 ± 0.08, p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: 7T DTI enables characterization of human CN morphology and neuronal substructure. An ABI array insertion vector directed more caudally would better correspond to the main fiber axis of CN. State-of-the-art DTI has implications for ABI preoperative planning and future image guidance-assisted placement of the electrode array.
Miskin N, Unadkat P, Carlton ME, Golby AJ, Young GS, Huang RY. Frequency and Evolution of New Postoperative Enhancement on 3 Tesla Intraoperative and Early Postoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Neurosurgery. 2020;87 (2) :238-46.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (IO-MRI) provides real-time assessment of extent of resection of brain tumor. Development of new enhancement during IO-MRI can confound interpretation of residual enhancing tumor, although the incidence of this finding is unknown. OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency of new enhancement during brain tumor resection on intraoperative 3 Tesla (3T) MRI. To optimize the postoperative imaging window after brain tumor resection using 1.5 and 3T MRI. METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated 64 IO-MRI performed for patients with enhancing brain lesions referred for biopsy or resection as well as a subset with an early postoperative MRI (EP-MRI) within 72 h of surgery (N = 42), and a subset with a late postoperative MRI (LP-MRI) performed between 120 h and 8 wk postsurgery (N = 34). Three radiologists assessed for new enhancement on IO-MRI, and change in enhancement on available EP-MRI and LP-MRI. Consensus was determined by majority response. Inter-rater agreement was assessed using percentage agreement. RESULTS: A total of 10 out of 64 (16%) of the IO-MRI demonstrated new enhancement. Seven of 10 patients with available EP-MRI demonstrated decreased/resolved enhancement. One out of 42 (2%) of the EP-MRI demonstrated new enhancement, which decreased on LP-MRI. Agreement was 74% for the assessment of new enhancement on IO-MRI and 81% for the assessment of new enhancement on the EP-MRI. CONCLUSION: New enhancement occurs in intraoperative 3T MRI in 16% of patients after brain tumor resection, which decreases or resolves on subsequent MRI within 72 h of surgery. Our findings indicate the opportunity for further study to optimize the postoperative imaging window.
Zhang F, Cetin Karayumak S, Hoffmann N, Rathi Y, Golby AJ, O'Donnell LJ. Deep White Matter Analysis (DeepWMA): Fast and Consistent Tractography Segmentation. Med Image Anal. 2020;65 :101761.Abstract
White matter tract segmentation, i.e. identifying tractography fibers (streamline trajectories) belonging to anatomically meaningful fiber tracts, is an essential step to enable tract quantification and visualization. In this study, we present a deep learning tractography segmentation method (DeepWMA) that allows fast and consistent identification of 54 major deep white matter fiber tracts from the whole brain. We create a large-scale training tractography dataset of 1 million labeled fiber samples, and we propose a novel 2D multi-channel feature descriptor (FiberMap) that encodes spatial coordinates of points along each fiber. We learn a convolutional neural network (CNN) fiber classification model based on FiberMap and obtain a high fiber classification accuracy of 90.99% on the training tractography data with ground truth fiber labels. Then, the method is evaluated on a test dataset of 597 diffusion MRI scans from six independently acquired populations across genders, the lifespan (1 day - 82 years), and different health conditions (healthy control, neuropsychiatric disorders, and brain tumor patients). We perform comparisons with two state-of-the-art tract segmentation methods. Experimental results show that our method obtains a highly consistent tract segmentation result, where on average over 99% of the fiber tracts are successfully identified across all subjects under study, most importantly, including neonates and patients with space-occupying brain tumors. We also demonstrate good generalization of the method to tractography data from multiple different fiber tracking methods. The proposed method leverages deep learning techniques and provides a fast and efficient tool for brain white matter segmentation in large diffusion MRI tractography datasets.
Yao S, Lin P, Vera M, Akter F, Zhang R-Y, Zeng A, Golby AJ, Xu G, Tie Y, Song J. Hormone Levels are Related to Functional Compensation in Prolactinomas: A Resting-state fMRI Study. J Neurol Sci. 2020;411 :116720.Abstract
Prolactinomas are tumors of the pituitary gland, which overproduces prolactin leading to dramatic fluctuations of endogenous hormone levels throughout the body. While it is not fully understood how endogenous hormone disorders affect a patient's brain, it is well known that fluctuating hormone levels can have negative neuropsychological effects. Using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), we investigated whole-brain functional connectivity (FC) and its relationship with hormone levels in prolactinomas. By performing seed-based FC analyses, we compared FC metrics between 33 prolactinoma patients and 31 healthy controls matched for age, sex, and hand dominance. We then carried out a partial correlation analysis to examine the relationship between FC metrics and hormone levels. Compared to healthy controls, prolactinoma patients showed significantly increased thalamocortical and cerebellar-cerebral FC. Endogenous hormone levels were also positively correlated with increased FC metrics, and these hormone-FC relationships exhibited sex differences in prolactinoma patients. Our study is the first to reveal altered FC patterns in prolactinomas and to quantify the hormone-FC relationships. These results indicate the importance of endogenous hormones on functional compensation of the brain in patients with prolactinomas.
Randall EC, Lopez BGC, Peng S, Regan MS, Abdelmoula WM, Basu SS, Santagata S, Yoon H, Haigis MC, Agar JN, et al. Localized Metabolomic Gradients in Patient-Derived Xenograft Models of Glioblastoma. Cancer Res. 2020;80 (6) :1258-67.Abstract
Glioblastoma (GBM) is increasingly recognized as a disease involving dysfunctional cellular metabolism. GBMs are known to be complex heterogeneous systems containing multiple distinct cell populations and are supported by an aberrant network of blood vessels. A better understanding of GBM metabolism, its variation with respect to the tumor microenvironment, and resulting regional changes in chemical composition is required. This may shed light on the observed heterogeneous drug distribution, which cannot be fully described by limited or uneven disruption of the blood-brain barrier. In this work, we used mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) to map metabolites and lipids in patient-derived xenograft models of GBM. A data analysis workflow revealed that distinctive spectral signatures were detected from different regions of the intracranial tumor model. A series of long-chain acylcarnitines were identified and detected with increased intensity at the tumor edge. A 3D MSI dataset demonstrated that these molecules were observed throughout the entire tumor/normal interface and were not confined to a single plane. mRNA sequencing demonstrated that hallmark genes related to fatty acid metabolism were highly expressed in samples with higher acylcarnitine content. These data suggest that cells in the core and the edge of the tumor undergo different fatty acid metabolism, resulting in different chemical environments within the tumor. This may influence drug distribution through changes in tissue drug affinity or transport and constitute an important consideration for therapeutic strategies in the treatment of GBM. SIGNIFICANCE: GBM tumors exhibit a metabolic gradient that should be taken into consideration when designing therapeutic strategies for treatment..
Bunevicius A, McDannold NJ, Golby AJ. Focused Ultrasound Strategies for Brain Tumor Therapy. Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2020;19 (1) :9-18.Abstract
BACKGROUND: A key challenge in the medical treatment of brain tumors is the limited penetration of most chemotherapeutic agents across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) into the tumor and the infiltrative margin around the tumor. Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is a promising tool to enhance the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents into brain tumors. OBJECTIVE: To review the mechanism of FUS, preclinical evidence, and clinical studies that used low-frequency FUS for a BBB opening in gliomas. METHODS: Literature review. RESULTS: The potential of externally delivered low-intensity ultrasound for a temporally and spatially precise and predictable disruption of the BBB has been investigated for over a decade, yielding extensive preclinical literature demonstrating that FUS can disrupt the BBB in a spatially targeted and temporally reversible manner. Studies in animal models documented that FUS enhanced the delivery of numerous chemotherapeutic and investigational agents across the BBB and into brain tumors, including temozolomide, bevacizumab, 1,3-bis (2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea, doxorubicin, viral vectors, and cells. Chemotherapeutic interventions combined with FUS slowed tumor progression and improved animal survival. Recent advances of MRgFUS systems allow precise, temporally and spatially controllable, and safe transcranial delivery of ultrasound energy. Initial clinical evidence in glioma patients has shown the efficacy of MRgFUS in disrupting the BBB, as demonstrated by an enhanced gadolinium penetration. CONCLUSION: Thus far, a temporary disruption of the BBB followed by the administration of chemotherapy has been both feasible and safe. Further studies are needed to determine the actual drug delivery, including the drug distribution at a tissue-level scale, as well as effects on tumor growth and patient prognosis.
Freedman RA, Gelman RS, Agar NYR, Santagata S, Randall EC, Gimenez-Cassina Lopez B, Connolly RM, Dunn IF, Van Poznak CH, Anders CK, et al. Pre- and Postoperative Neratinib for HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Brain Metastases: Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium 022. Clin Breast Cancer. 2020;20 (2) :145-51.Abstract
PURPOSE: This pilot study was performed to test our ability to administer neratinib monotherapy before clinically recommended craniotomy in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer to the central nervous system, to examine neratinib's central nervous system penetration at craniotomy, and to examine postoperative neratinib maintenance. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with HER2-positive brain metastases undergoing clinically indicated cranial resection of a parenchymal tumor received neratinib 240 mg orally once a day for 7 to 21 days preoperatively, and resumed therapy postoperatively in 28-day cycles. Exploratory evaluations of time to disease progression, survival, and correlative tissue, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and blood-based analyses examining neratinib concentrations were planned. The study was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under number NCT01494662. RESULTS: We enrolled 5 patients between May 22, 2013, and October 18, 2016. As of March 1, 2019, patients had remained on the study protocol for 1 to 75+ postoperative cycles pf therapy. Two patients had grade 3 diarrhea. Evaluation of the CSF showed low concentrations of neratinib; nonetheless, 2 patients continued to receive therapy without disease progression for at least 13 cycles, with one on-study treatment lasting for nearly 6 years. Neratinib distribution in surgical tissue was variable for 1 patient, while specimens from 2 others did not produce conclusive results as a result of limited available samples. CONCLUSION: Neratinib resulted in expected rates of diarrhea in this small cohort, with 2 of 5 patients receiving the study treatment for durable periods. Although logistically challenging, we were able to test a limited number of CSF- and parenchymal-based neratinib concentrations. Our findings from resected tumor tissue in one patient revealed heterogeneity in drug distribution and tumor histopathology.
Yao S, Liebenthal E, Juvekar P, Bunevicius A, Vera M, Rigolo L, Golby AJ, Tie Y. Sex Effect on Presurgical Language Mapping in Patients With a Brain Tumor. Front Neurosci. 2020;14 :4.Abstract
Differences between males and females in brain development and in the organization and hemispheric lateralization of brain functions have been described, including in language. Sex differences in language organization may have important implications for language mapping performed to assess, and minimize neurosurgical risk to, language function. This study examined the effect of sex on the activation and functional connectivity of the brain, measured with presurgical functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) language mapping in patients with a brain tumor. We carried out a retrospective analysis of data from neurosurgical patients treated at our institution who met the criteria of pathological diagnosis (malignant brain tumor), tumor location (left hemisphere), and fMRI paradigms [sentence completion (SC); antonym generation (AG); and resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI)]. Forty-seven patients (22 females, mean age = 56.0 years) were included in the study. Across the SC and AG tasks, females relative to males showed greater activation in limited areas, including the left inferior frontal gyrus classically associated with language. In contrast, males relative to females showed greater activation in extended areas beyond the classic language network, including the supplementary motor area (SMA) and precentral gyrus. The rs-fMRI functional connectivity of the left SMA in the females was stronger with inferior temporal pole (TP) areas, and in the males with several midline areas. The findings are overall consistent with theories of greater reliance on specialized language areas in females relative to males, and generalized brain areas in males relative to females, for language function. Importantly, the findings suggest that sex could affect fMRI language mapping. Thus, considering sex as a variable in presurgical language mapping merits further investigation.
Leung LWL, Unadkat P, Bertotti MM, Bi WL, Essayed WI, Bunevicius A, Chavakula V, Rigolo L, Fumagalli L, Tie Z, et al. Clinical Utility of Preoperative Bilingual Language fMRI Mapping in Patients with Brain Tumors. J Neuroimaging. 2020;30 (2) :175-83.Abstract
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Previous literature has demonstrated disparity in the postoperative recovery of first and second language function of bilingual neurosurgical patients. However, it is unclear to whether preoperative brain mapping of both languages is needed. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the clinical utility of language task functional MRI (fMRI) implemented in both languages in bilingual patients. METHODS: We retrospectively examined fMRI data of 13 bilingual brain tumor patients (age: 23 to 59 years) who performed antonym generation task-based fMRIs in English and non-English language. The usefulness of bilingual language mapping was evaluated using a structured survey administered to 5 neurosurgeons. Additionally, quantitative comparison between the brain activation maps of both languages was performed. RESULTS: Survey responses revealed differences in raters' surgical approach, including asleep versus awake surgery and extent of resection, after viewing the language fMRI maps. Additional non-English fMRI led to changes in surgical decision-making and bettered localization of language areas. Quantitative analysis revealed an increase in laterality index (LI) in non-English fMRI compared to English fMRI. The Dice coefficient demonstrated fair overlap (.458 ± .160) between the activation maps. CONCLUSION: Bilingual fMRI mapping of bilingual patients allows to better appreciate functionally active language areas that may be neglected in single language mapping. Utility of bilingual mapping was supported by changes in both surgical approach and LI measurements, suggesting its benefit on preoperative language mapping.
Xie G, Zhang F, Leung L, Mooney MA, Epprecht L, Norton I, Rathi Y, Kikinis R, Al-Mefty O, Makris N, et al. Anatomical Assessment of Trigeminal Nerve Tractography Using Diffusion MRI: A Comparison of Acquisition B-Values and Single- and Multi-Fiber Tracking Strategies. Neuroimage Clin. 2020;25 :102160.Abstract
BACKGROUND: The trigeminal nerve (TGN) is the largest cranial nerve and can be involved in multiple inflammatory, compressive, ischemic or other pathologies. Currently, imaging-based approaches to identify the TGN mostly rely on T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which provides localization of the cisternal portion of the TGN where the contrast between nerve and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is high enough to allow differentiation. The course of the TGN within the brainstem as well as anterior to the cisternal portion, however, is more difficult to display on traditional imaging sequences. An advanced imaging technique, diffusion MRI (dMRI), enables tracking of the trajectory of TGN fibers and has the potential to visualize anatomical regions of the TGN not seen on T2-weighted imaging. This may allow a more comprehensive assessment of the nerve in the context of pathology. To date, most work in TGN tracking has used clinical dMRI acquisitions with a b-value of 1000 s/mm and conventional diffusion tensor MRI (DTI) tractography methods. Though higher b-value acquisitions and multi-tensor tractography methods are known to be beneficial for tracking brain white matter fiber tracts, there have been no studies conducted to evaluate the performance of these advanced approaches on nerve tracking of the TGN, in particular on tracking different anatomical regions of the TGN. OBJECTIVE: We compare TGN tracking performance using dMRI data with different b-values, in combination with both single- and multi-tensor tractography methods. Our goal is to assess the advantages and limitations of these different strategies for identifying the anatomical regions of the TGN. METHODS: We proposed seven anatomical rating criteria including true and false positive structures, and we performed an expert rating study of over 1000 TGN visualizations, as follows. We tracked the TGN using high-quality dMRI data from 100 healthy adult subjects from the Human Connectome Project (HCP). TGN tracking performance was compared across dMRI acquisitions with b = 1000 s/mm, b = 2000 s/mm and b = 3000 s/mm, using single-tensor (1T) and two-tensor (2T) unscented Kalman filter (UKF) tractography. This resulted in a total of six tracking strategies. The TGN was identified using an anatomical region-of-interest (ROI) selection approach. First, in a subset of the dataset we identified ROIs that provided good TGN tracking performance across all tracking strategies. Using these ROIs, the TGN was then tracked in all subjects using the six tracking strategies. An expert rater (GX) visually assessed and scored each TGN based on seven anatomical judgment criteria. These criteria included the presence of multiple expected anatomical segments of the TGN (true positive structures), specifically branch-like structures, cisternal portion, mesencephalic trigeminal tract, and spinal cord tract of the TGN. False positive criteria included the presence of any fibers entering the temporal lobe, the inferior cerebellar peduncle, or the middle cerebellar peduncle. Expert rating scores were analyzed to compare TGN tracking performance across the six tracking strategies. Intra- and inter-rater validation was performed to assess the reliability of the expert TGN rating result. RESULTS: The TGN was selected using two anatomical ROIs (Meckel's Cave and cisternal portion of the TGN). The two-tensor tractography method had significantly better performance on identifying true positive structures, while generating more false positive streamlines in comparison to the single-tensor tractography method. TGN tracking performance was significantly different across the three b-values for almost all structures studied. Tracking performance was reported in terms of the percentage of subjects achieving each anatomical rating criterion. Tracking of the cisternal portion and branching structure of the TGN was generally successful, with the highest performance of over 98% using two-tensor tractography and b = 1000 or b = 2000. However, tracking the smaller mesencephalic and spinal cord tracts of the TGN was quite challenging (highest performance of 37.5% and 57.07%, using two-tensor tractography with b = 1000 and b = 2000, respectively). False positive connections to the temporal lobe (over 38% of subjects for all strategies) and cerebellar peduncles (100% of subjects for all strategies) were prevalent. High joint probability of agreement was obtained in the inter-rater (on average 83%) and intra-rater validation (on average 90%), showing a highly reliable expert rating result. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the results of the study suggest that researchers and clinicians may benefit from tailoring their acquisition and tracking methodology to the specific anatomical portion of the TGN that is of the greatest interest. For example, tracking of branching structures and TGN-T2 overlap can be best achieved with a two-tensor model and an acquisition using b = 1000 or b = 2000. In general, b = 1000 and b = 2000 acquisitions provided the best-rated tracking results. Further research is needed to improve both sensitivity and specificity of the depiction of the TGN anatomy using dMRI.

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