Publications by authors named "Stephanie Greene"

82 Publications

Shunt infection and malfunction in patients with myelomeningocele.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2021 Feb 26:1-7. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Objective: Myelomeningocele (MMC) is frequently complicated by symptomatic hydrocephalus, necessitating early permanent CSF diversion and revision surgeries. Shunt infections are a common cause of shunt malfunction. This study aims to characterize long-term shunt-related outcomes of patients undergoing MMC closure.

Methods: A total of 170 patients undergoing MMC closure between the years of 1995 and 2017 were identified from a retrospective review of a prospectively populated surgical database at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Patients who underwent MMC closure and required ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt insertion met criteria and were included in the primary study analysis. Analysis with a Fisher exact test was performed for categorical variables, and Mann-Whitney U-tests were utilized for numerical data.

Results: Of the 158 total patients undergoing MMC closure and meeting inclusion criteria, 137 (87%) required VP shunt insertion. These 137 patients demonstrated a shunt revision rate of 21.1% per person-year and a shunt infection rate of 2.1% per person-year over a mean follow-up of 10.8 years. Patients had a mean of 3.4 ± 0.6 shunt surgeries prior to their first infection. Patients undergoing immediate shunt removal, external ventricular drain placement, or shunt replacement after clearing the infection had lower rates of subsequent infections than patients who initially were managed with shunt externalization (p < 0.001). Placement of a shunt at the time of MMC closure was not found to be a risk factor for infection. Of patients with initial shunt placement after the implementation of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network protocol in 2011, the authors' institution has had a shunt infection rate of 4.2% per person-year and a revision rate of 35.7% per person-year.

Conclusions: This study describes long-term outcomes of shunted MMC patients and factors associated with shunt infections. Most patients underwent multiple revisions prior to the first shunt infection. Shunt externalization may be ineffective at clearing the infection and should be avoided in favor of early shunt removal and external ventricular drainage, followed by shunt replacement once infection is demonstrated to have cleared.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.9.PEDS20313DOI Listing
February 2021

Dural augmentation approaches and complication rates after posterior fossa decompression for Chiari I malformation and syringomyelia: a Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium study.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2021 Feb 12:1-10. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

1Department of Neurological Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.

Objective: Posterior fossa decompression with duraplasty (PFDD) is commonly performed for Chiari I malformation (CM-I) with syringomyelia (SM). However, complication rates associated with various dural graft types are not well established. The objective of this study was to elucidate complication rates within 6 months of surgery among autograft and commonly used nonautologous grafts for pediatric patients who underwent PFDD for CM-I/SM.

Methods: The Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium database was queried for pediatric patients who had undergone PFDD for CM-I with SM. All patients had tonsillar ectopia ≥ 5 mm, syrinx diameter ≥ 3 mm, and ≥ 6 months of postoperative follow-up after PFDD. Complications (e.g., pseudomeningocele, CSF leak, meningitis, and hydrocephalus) and postoperative changes in syrinx size, headaches, and neck pain were compared for autograft versus nonautologous graft.

Results: A total of 781 PFDD cases were analyzed (359 autograft, 422 nonautologous graft). Nonautologous grafts included bovine pericardium (n = 63), bovine collagen (n = 225), synthetic (n = 99), and human cadaveric allograft (n = 35). Autograft (103/359, 28.7%) had a similar overall complication rate compared to nonautologous graft (143/422, 33.9%) (p = 0.12). However, nonautologous graft was associated with significantly higher rates of pseudomeningocele (p = 0.04) and meningitis (p < 0.001). The higher rate of meningitis was influenced particularly by the higher rate of chemical meningitis (p = 0.002) versus infectious meningitis (p = 0.132). Among 4 types of nonautologous grafts, there were differences in complication rates (p = 0.02), including chemical meningitis (p = 0.01) and postoperative nausea/vomiting (p = 0.03). Allograft demonstrated the lowest complication rates overall (14.3%) and yielded significantly fewer complications compared to bovine collagen (p = 0.02) and synthetic (p = 0.003) grafts. Synthetic graft yielded higher complication rates than autograft (p = 0.01). Autograft and nonautologous graft resulted in equal improvements in syrinx size (p < 0.0001). No differences were found for postoperative changes in headaches or neck pain.

Conclusions: In the largest multicenter cohort to date, complication rates for dural autograft and nonautologous graft are similar after PFDD for CM-I/SM, although nonautologous graft results in higher rates of pseudomeningocele and meningitis. Rates of meningitis differ among nonautologous graft types. Autograft and nonautologous graft are equivalent for reducing syrinx size, headaches, and neck pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.8.PEDS2087DOI Listing
February 2021

Crop wild relatives of the United States require urgent conservation action.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 12 14;117(52):33351-33357. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

NatureServe, Arlington, VA 22202.

The contributions of crop wild relatives (CWR) to food security depend on their conservation and accessibility for use. The United States contains a diverse native flora of CWR, including those of important cereal, fruit, nut, oil, pulse, root and tuber, and vegetable crops, which may be threatened in their natural habitats and underrepresented in plant conservation repositories. To determine conservation priorities for these plants, we developed a national inventory, compiled occurrence information, modeled potential distributions, and conducted threat assessments and conservation gap analyses for 600 native taxa. We found that 7.1% of the taxa may be critically endangered in their natural habitats, 50% may be endangered, and 28% may be vulnerable. We categorized 58.8% of the taxa as of urgent priority for further action, 37% as high priority, and 4.2% as medium priority. Major ex situ conservation gaps were identified for 93.3% of the wild relatives (categorized as urgent or high priority), with 83 taxa absent from conservation repositories, while 93.1% of the plants were equivalently prioritized for further habitat protection. Various taxonomic richness hotspots across the US represent focal regions for further conservation action. Related needs include facilitating greater access to and characterization of these cultural-genetic-natural resources and raising public awareness of their existence, value, and plight.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2007029117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7776777PMC
December 2020

Occipital-Cervical Fusion and Ventral Decompression in the Surgical Management of Chiari-1 Malformation and Syringomyelia: Analysis of Data From the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium.

Neurosurgery 2021 01;88(2):332-341

Department of Neurological Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.

Background: Occipital-cervical fusion (OCF) and ventral decompression (VD) may be used in the treatment of pediatric Chiari-1 malformation (CM-1) with syringomyelia (SM) as adjuncts to posterior fossa decompression (PFD) for complex craniovertebral junction pathology.

Objective: To examine factors influencing the use of OCF and OCF/VD in a multicenter cohort of pediatric CM-1 and SM subjects treated with PFD.

Methods: The Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium registry was used to examine 637 subjects with cerebellar tonsillar ectopia ≥ 5 mm, syrinx diameter ≥ 3 mm, and at least 1 yr of follow-up after their index PFD. Comparisons were made between subjects who received PFD alone and those with PFD + OCF or PFD + OCF/VD.

Results: All 637 patients underwent PFD, 505 (79.2%) with and 132 (20.8%) without duraplasty. A total of 12 subjects went on to have OCF at some point in their management (PFD + OCF), whereas 4 had OCF and VD (PFD + OCF/VD). Of those with complete data, a history of platybasia (3/10, P = .011), Klippel-Feil (2/10, P = .015), and basilar invagination (3/12, P < .001) were increased within the OCF group, whereas only basilar invagination (1/4, P < .001) was increased in the OCF/VD group. Clivo-axial angle (CXA) was significantly lower for both OCF (128.8 ± 15.3°, P = .008) and OCF/VD (115.0 ± 11.6°, P = .025) groups when compared to PFD-only group (145.3 ± 12.7°). pB-C2 did not differ among groups.

Conclusion: Although PFD alone is adequate for treating the vast majority of CM-1/SM patients, OCF or OCF/VD may be occasionally utilized. Cranial base and spine pathologies and CXA may provide insight into the need for OCF and/or OCF/VD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa460DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7803430PMC
January 2021

Long-Term Nonclinical Pulmonary Safety Assessment of Afrezza, a Novel Insulin Inhalation Powder.

Toxicol Pathol 2021 Feb 12;49(2):334-348. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

JAReynolds & Associates, Madison, CT, USA.

Afrezza delivers inhaled insulin using the Gen2 inhaler for the treatment of patients with type 1 and type 2 Diabetes. Afrezza was evaluated in long-term nonclinical pulmonary safety studies in 2 toxicology species. Chronic inhalation toxicology studies in rat (26 weeks) and dog (39 weeks) and an inhalation carcinogenicity study in rats were conducted with Technosphere insulin (Afrezza) and with Technosphere alone as a vehicle control. Respiratory tract tissues were evaluated by histopathology and cells expressing proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) were quantified in lungs of rats. Microscopic findings in rats exposed to Afrezza were attributed to the Technosphere particle component, were confined to nasal epithelia, and consisted of eosinophilic globules and nasal epithelial degeneration. There were no Afrezza-related changes in pulmonary PCNA labeling indices in alveoli, large bronchioles, or terminal bronchioles. Microscopic findings in rats exposed to Technosphere particles included eosinophilic globules, mucus cell hyperplasia, and epithelial degeneration in the nasal cavities. PCNA labeling indices were increased in large bronchioles and terminal bronchioles but not in alveoli. There were no Technosphere particle-related findings in the dog study. Afrezza did not exhibit carcinogenic potential in the 2-year study in rats. These nonclinical inhalation studies support the use of Afrezza in humans over extended periods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0192623320960420DOI Listing
February 2021

Familial Cerebral Cavernous Malformation Syndrome with Concomitant Fourth Ventricular Ependymoma: True Association or Mere Coincidence?

Cancer Genet 2020 06 3;244:36-39. Epub 2020 May 3.

Department of Neurological Surgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA. Electronic address:

Familial cerebral cavernous malformation syndromes are most commonly caused by mutations in one of three genes. The overlap of these genetic malformations with other acquired neoplastic lesions and congenital malformations is still under investigation. To the best of our knowledge, the concurrent occurrence of familial cavernous malformations and ependymoma has not been previously reported in the literature. Herein, we describe a patient with familial cerebral cavernous malformation syndrome and posterior fossa ependymoma. A 17-year-old asymptomatic male was referred to our outpatient neurosurgery clinic after genetic testing identified a familial KRIT1 (CCM1) mutation. The patient's sister had presented with a seizure disorder previously; multiple cavernous malformations were discovered, and a symptomatic large cavernous malformation required a craniotomy for resection. Two years later, she was diagnosed with follicular thyroid cancer due to HRAS (c.182A>G) mutation. The patient and his sister were found to have a novel germline KRIT1 disease-causing variant (c.1739deletion, p.ASN580Ilefs*2) and a variant of uncertain significance, potentially pathogenic (c.1988 A>G, p.Asn663Ser) in cis in CCM1 (KRIT1), of paternal inheritance. Due to the presence of genetic abnormalities, the patient underwent screening imaging of his neuraxis. Multiple cavernous malformations were identified, as was an incidental fourth ventricular mass. Resection of the fourth ventricular lesion was performed, and histopathological examination was consistent with ependymoma. We report a unique case of posterior fossa ependymoma in an individual with a familial cerebral cavernous malformation syndrome and a novel genetic abnormality in KRIT1. The association of these two findings may be valuable in determining a potential genetic association between the two pathologies and elucidating the pathogenesis of both cavernous malformations and ependymomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cancergen.2020.04.075DOI Listing
June 2020

Long-term outcomes of pediatric arteriovenous malformations: the 30-year Pittsburgh experience.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2020 May 15:1-8. Epub 2020 May 15.

1Division of Neurological Surgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Objective: The study of pediatric arteriovenous malformations (pAVMs) is complicated by the rarity of the entity. Treatment choice has often been affected by the availability of different modalities and the experience of the providers present. The University of Pittsburgh experience of multimodality treatment of pAVMs is presented.

Methods: The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study examining 212 patients with pAVM presenting to the University of Pittsburgh between 1988 and 2018, during which patients had access to surgical, endovascular, and radiosurgical options. Univariate analysis was performed comparing good and poor outcomes. A poor outcome was defined as a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score of ≥ 3. Multivariate analysis via logistic regression was performed on appropriate variables with a p value of ≤ 0.2. Seventy-five percent of the cohort had at least 3 years of follow-up.

Results: Five patients (2.4%) did not receive any intervention, 131 (61.8%) had GKRS alone, 14 (6.6%) had craniotomies alone, and 2 (0.9%) had embolization alone. Twenty-two (10.4%) had embolization and Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS); 20 (9.4%) had craniotomies and GKRS; 8 (3.8%) had embolization and craniotomies; and 10 (4.7%) had embolization, craniotomies, and GKRS. Thirty-one patients (14.6%) were found to have poor outcome on follow-up. The multivariate analysis performed in patients with poor outcomes was notable for associations with no treatment (OR 18.9, p = 0.02), hemorrhage requiring craniotomy for decompression alone (OR 6, p = 0.03), preoperative mRS score (OR 2.1, p = 0.004), and Spetzler-Martin score (OR 1.8, p = 0.0005). The mean follow-up was 79.7 ± 62.1 months. The confirmed radiographic obliteration rate was 79.4% and there were 5 recurrences found on average 9.5 years after treatment.

Conclusions: High rates of long-term functional independence (mRS score of ≤ 2) can be achieved with comprehensive multimodality treatment of pAVMs. At this center there was no difference in outcome based on treatment choice when accounting for factors such as Spetzler-Martin grade and presenting morbidity. Recurrences are rare but frequently occur years after treatment, emphasizing the need for long-term screening after obliteration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.3.PEDS19614DOI Listing
May 2020

Factors associated with syrinx size in pediatric patients treated for Chiari malformation type I and syringomyelia: a study from the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2020 Mar 6:1-11. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

34Department of Neurological Surgery, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.

Objective: Factors associated with syrinx size in pediatric patients undergoing posterior fossa decompression (PFD) or PFD with duraplasty (PFDD) for Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syringomyelia (SM; CM-I+SM) are not well established.

Methods: Using the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium registry, the authors analyzed variables associated with syrinx radiological outcomes in patients (< 20 years old at the time of surgery) with CM-I+SM undergoing PFD or PFDD. Syrinx resolution was defined as an anteroposterior (AP) diameter of ≤ 2 mm or ≤ 3 mm or a reduction in AP diameter of ≥ 50%. Syrinx regression or progression was defined using 1) change in syrinx AP diameter (≥ 1 mm), or 2) change in syrinx length (craniocaudal, ≥ 1 vertebral level). Syrinx stability was defined as a < 1-mm change in syrinx AP diameter and no change in syrinx length.

Results: The authors identified 380 patients with CM-I+SM who underwent PFD or PFDD. Cox proportional hazards modeling revealed younger age at surgery and PFDD as being independently associated with syrinx resolution, defined as a ≤ 2-mm or ≤ 3-mm AP diameter or ≥ 50% reduction in AP diameter. Radiological syrinx resolution was associated with improvement in headache (p < 0.005) and neck pain (p < 0.011) after PFD or PFDD. Next, PFDD (p = 0.005), scoliosis (p = 0.007), and syrinx location across multiple spinal segments (p = 0.001) were associated with syrinx diameter regression, whereas increased preoperative frontal-occipital horn ratio (FOHR; p = 0.007) and syrinx location spanning multiple spinal segments (p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length regression. Scoliosis (HR 0.38 [95% CI 0.16-0.91], p = 0.03) and smaller syrinx diameter (5.82 ± 3.38 vs 7.86 ± 3.05 mm; HR 0.60 [95% CI 0.34-1.03], p = 0.002) were associated with syrinx diameter stability, whereas shorter preoperative syrinx length (5.75 ± 4.01 vs 9.65 ± 4.31 levels; HR 0.21 [95% CI 0.12-0.38], p = 0.0001) and smaller pB-C2 distance (6.86 ± 1.27 vs 7.18 ± 1.38 mm; HR 1.44 [95% CI 1.02-2.05], p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length stability. Finally, younger age at surgery (8.19 ± 5.02 vs 10.29 ± 4.25 years; HR 1.89 [95% CI 1.31-3.04], p = 0.01) was associated with syrinx diameter progression, whereas increased postoperative syrinx diameter (6.73 ± 3.64 vs 3.97 ± 3.07 mm; HR 3.10 [95% CI 1.67-5.76], p = 0.003), was associated with syrinx length progression. PFD versus PFDD was not associated with syrinx progression or reoperation rate.

Conclusions: These data suggest that PFDD and age are independently associated with radiological syrinx improvement, although forthcoming results from the PFDD versus PFD randomized controlled trial (NCT02669836, clinicaltrials.gov) will best answer this question.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.1.PEDS19493DOI Listing
March 2020

Intracranial Myxoid Mesenchymal Tumor with Rare EWSR1-CREM Translocation.

Pediatr Neurosurg 2019 20;54(5):347-353. Epub 2019 Aug 20.

Department of Neurological Surgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Translocations between EWSR1 and members of the CREB family of transcription factors (CREB1, ATF1, and CREM) are rare genetic findings occurring in various sarcomas. Of these, the EWSR1-CREM translocation is the most rarely reported. We present the case of a 9-year-old boy who presented with a year of fatigue, weight loss, and abulia. A brain MRI revealed a frontal interhemispheric tumor arising from the falx. After resection, pathology demonstrated a myxoid mesenchymal tumor with an EWSR1-CREM translocation. A series of recent reports of similar tumors has generated ongoing debate in the literature over the classification of these tumors either as intracranial angiomatoid fibrous histiocytomas, which also harbor EWSR1-CREB family translocations, or as a novel diagnostic entity. The present case provides another example of the rare EWSR1-CREM fusion in an intracranial myxoid mesenchymal tumor that recurred in just 6 months despite gross total resection. The findings are discussed in the context of the existing literature and the ongoing effort to appropriately classify this type of tumor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000501695DOI Listing
March 2020

Radiological and clinical predictors of scoliosis in patients with Chiari malformation type I and spinal cord syrinx from the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2019 Aug 16:1-8. Epub 2019 Aug 16.

1Department of Neurological Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri.

Objective: Scoliosis is frequently a presenting sign of Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syrinx. The authors' goal was to define scoliosis in this population and describe how radiological characteristics of CM-I and syrinx relate to the presence and severity of scoliosis.

Methods: A large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of pediatric patients with CM-I (tonsils ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum) and syrinx (≥ 3 mm in axial width) was reviewed for clinical and radiological characteristics of CM-I, syrinx, and scoliosis (coronal curve ≥ 10°).

Results: Based on available imaging of patients with CM-I and syrinx, 260 of 825 patients (31%) had a clear diagnosis of scoliosis based on radiographs or coronal MRI. Forty-nine patients (5.9%) did not have scoliosis, and in 516 (63%) patients, a clear determination of the presence or absence of scoliosis could not be made. Comparison of patients with and those without a definite scoliosis diagnosis indicated that scoliosis was associated with wider syrinxes (8.7 vs 6.3 mm, OR 1.25, p < 0.001), longer syrinxes (10.3 vs 6.2 levels, OR 1.18, p < 0.001), syrinxes with their rostral extent located in the cervical spine (94% vs 80%, OR 3.91, p = 0.001), and holocord syrinxes (50% vs 16%, OR 5.61, p < 0.001). Multivariable regression analysis revealed syrinx length and the presence of holocord syrinx to be independent predictors of scoliosis in this patient cohort. Scoliosis was not associated with sex, age at CM-I diagnosis, tonsil position, pB-C2 distance (measured perpendicular distance from the ventral dura to a line drawn from the basion to the posterior-inferior aspect of C2), clivoaxial angle, or frontal-occipital horn ratio. Average curve magnitude was 29.9°, and 37.7% of patients had a left thoracic curve. Older age at CM-I or syrinx diagnosis (p < 0.0001) was associated with greater curve magnitude whereas there was no association between syrinx dimensions and curve magnitude.

Conclusions: Syrinx characteristics, but not tonsil position, were related to the presence of scoliosis in patients with CM-I, and there was an independent association of syrinx length and holocord syrinx with scoliosis. Further study is needed to evaluate the nature of the relationship between syrinx and scoliosis in patients with CM-I.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2019.5.PEDS18527DOI Listing
August 2019

Fetal aqueductal stenosis: Prenatal diagnosis and intervention.

Prenat Diagn 2020 01 15;40(1):58-65. Epub 2019 Jul 15.

School of Medicine, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

Fetal severe central nervous system ventriculomegaly is associated with poor neurologic outcomes, usually driven by a primary malformation, deformation, or disruption of brain parenchyma. In utero shunting of excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in hopes of improving neurologic outcomes was attempted in the 1980s but was abandoned due to perceived lack of effect, likely due to technological limitations of the time that precluded proper patient selection. Little progress on the antenatal management of severe ventriculomegaly has been made in the intervening decades. A multidisciplinary, evidence-based reassessment of ventriculoamniotic shunting for isolated fetal aqueductal stenosis (FAS), a unique form of severe ventriculomegaly (supratentorial intracranial hypertension), is currently underway. An accurate diagnosis of FAS must precede in utero intervention. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be an excellent adjunct to high-resolution prenatal ultrasound and next-generation genetic testing to correctly diagnose FAS in a timely fashion while excluding other intracranial and extracranial anomalies. This manuscript will briefly discuss the history, current management, and future directions of the prenatal diagnosis and potential intervention for FAS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pd.5527DOI Listing
January 2020

Identification and Characterization of Circulating Tumor Cells in Men Who have Undergone Prostatectomy for Clinically Localized, High Risk Prostate Cancer.

J Urol 2019 10 6;202(4):732-741. Epub 2019 Sep 6.

Division of Hematology-Oncology, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco.

Purpose: Approximately 15% of men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer have high risk features which increase the risk of recurrence and metastasis. Better predictive biomarkers could allow for earlier detection of biochemical recurrence and change surveillance and adjuvant treatment paradigms. Circulating tumor cells are thought to represent the earliest form of metastases. However, their role as biomarkers in men with high risk, localized prostate cancer is not well defined.

Materials And Methods: Two to 5 months after prostatectomy we obtained blood samples from 37 patients with high risk, localized prostate cancer, defined as stage T3a or higher, Gleason score 8 or greater, or prostate specific antigen 20 ng/ml or greater. Circulating tumor cells were enumerated using a commercial platform. Matched tumor and single circulating tumor cell sequencing was performed.

Results: Circulating tumor cells were detected in 30 of 37 samples (81.1%) with a median of 2.4 circulating tumor cells per ml (range 0 to 22.9). Patients with detectable circulating tumor cells showed a trend toward shorter recurrence time (p=0.12). All patients with biochemical recurrence had detectable circulating tumor cells. Androgen receptor over expression was detected in 7 of 37 patients (18.9%). Patients with biochemical recurrence had more circulating tumor cell copy number aberrations (p=0.027). Matched tumor tissue and single circulating tumor cell sequencing revealed heterogeneity.

Conclusions: We noted a high incidence of circulating tumor cell detection after radical prostatectomy and shorter time to biochemical recurrence in men with a higher circulating tumor cell burden and more circulating tumor cell copy number aberrations. Genomic alterations consistent with established copy number aberrations in prostate cancer were detectable in circulating tumor cells but often discordant with cells analyzed in bulk from primary lesions. With further testing in appropriately powered cohorts early circulating tumor cell detection could be an informative biomarker to assist with adjuvant treatment decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JU.0000000000000393DOI Listing
October 2019

Histologic Appearance of Iatrogenic Obstructive Hydrocephalus in the Fetal Lamb Model.

Fetal Diagn Ther 2020 11;47(1):7-14. Epub 2019 Apr 11.

Division of Neuropathology, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Introduction: Documentation of histologic findings associated with congenital hydrocephalus in the fetal lamb model is a critical step in evaluating the efficacy of ventriculoamniotic shunting in the human fetus.

Methods: Four fetal sheep had hydrocephalus induced at approximately 95 days' gestation. Two co-twins remained as controls. The ewes were euthanized at term. The lamb brains were fixed in formalin, paraffin-embedded, stained, and analyzed for markers of neuropathology. Astrocytosis, microgliosis, and axonal loss were assessed with immunocytochemistry for glial fibrillary acidic protein, ionized calcium-binding adapter, and neurofilament/amyloid precursor protein, respectively. Cortical gray matter extracellular matrix was assessed with staining for the lectin Wisteria Floribunda agglutinin.

Results: Hydrocephalic lamb brains demonstrated deep white matter damage with loss of projecting axonal tracts in regions physically distorted by hydrocephalus, similar to that seen in hydrocephalic humans. There was no evidence of abnormal neocortical neuronal migration; however, there was evidence for delayed maturation of the neocortical gray matter, possibly from increased intracerebral pressure and subsequent ischemia. Control lamb brains demonstrated none of the above findings.

Conclusion: This histological approach can be used to further define the mechanism of brain damage associated with hydrocephalus and interpret the efficacy of ventriculoamniotic shunting on fetal lamb brain neuroanatomy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000497360DOI Listing
November 2020

Is Schimmelpenning Syndrome Associated with Intracranial Tumors? A Case Report.

Pediatr Neurosurg 2019 15;54(3):201-206. Epub 2019 Mar 15.

Division of Pediatric Neurological Surgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Schimmelpenning syndrome is a rare, well-defined constellation of clinical phenotypes associated with the presence of nevus sebaceous and multisystem abnormalities most commonly manifested as cerebral, ocular, and skeletal defects [1]. A single nucleotide mutation in the HRAS or KRAS genes resulting in genetic mosaicism is responsible for the clinical manifestations of this syndrome in the majority of cases. We report a case of an adolescent boy with Schimmelpenning syndrome with a multifocal pilocytic astrocytoma. No HRAS or KRAS gene mutations were noted in the tumor on genetic sequencing. However, glial tumors have been associated with genetic mutations of RAS upregulation, which may imply a common pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000497149DOI Listing
January 2020

Pipeline Embolization of an Infectious Basilar Artery Aneurysm in a 2-Year-Old Child: Case Report, Discussion of the Literature and Perioperative Considerations.

Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown) 2019 11;17(5):E224-E228

Department of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Background And Importance: Flow diversion of intracranial aneurysms has been rarely described in the pediatric population. Here we discuss the technical and perioperative complexities inherent in the flow diversion of an infectious basilar apex aneurysm in a 2-yr-old child with significant medical comorbidities.

Clinical Presentation: Following judicious oral administration of dual anti-platelet agents and intra-arterial administration of calcium channel blockers to treat vasospasm, standard endovascular procedures were used to place a flow diverting stent across the neck of a rapidly enlarging infectious aneurysm of the basilar apex.Following the uncomplicated procedure, the patient demonstrated progressive thrombosis of the previously noted basilar apex aneurysm over a 3-mo period. The patient was therefore felt to be safe to proceed with, and eventually underwent, uncomplicated orthotopic heart transplant.

Conclusion: Flow diversion of complex intracranial aneurysms in pediatric patients with significant medical comorbidities is feasible and safe; however, considerations have to be made in the pre- and perioperative care of these patients given the propensity for low-weight and complicated systemic disease processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ons/opz002DOI Listing
November 2019

IRE1α-XBP1s pathway promotes prostate cancer by activating c-MYC signaling.

Nat Commun 2019 01 24;10(1):323. Epub 2019 Jan 24.

Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, 0316, Oslo, Norway.

Activation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress/the unfolded protein response (UPR) has been linked to cancer, but the molecular mechanisms are poorly understood and there is a paucity of reagents to translate this for cancer therapy. Here, we report that an IRE1α RNase-specific inhibitor, MKC8866, strongly inhibits prostate cancer (PCa) tumor growth as monotherapy in multiple preclinical models in mice and shows synergistic antitumor effects with current PCa drugs. Interestingly, global transcriptomic analysis reveal that IRE1α-XBP1s pathway activity is required for c-MYC signaling, one of the most highly activated oncogenic pathways in PCa. XBP1s is necessary for optimal c-MYC mRNA and protein expression, establishing, for the first time, a direct link between UPR and oncogene activation. In addition, an XBP1-specific gene expression signature is strongly associated with PCa prognosis. Our data establish IRE1α-XBP1s signaling as a central pathway in PCa and indicate that its targeting may offer novel treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08152-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6345973PMC
January 2019

Imaging Review of Common and Rare Causes of Stroke in Children.

Top Magn Reson Imaging 2018 Dec;27(6):463-477

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Child Neurology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA.

Vascular injury is increasingly recognized as an important cause of mortality and morbidity in children (29 days to 18 years of age). Since vascular brain injury in children appears to be less common than in adults, the index of suspicion for vascular brain injury is usually lower. In this review article, we describe frequent and rare conditions underlying pediatric stroke including cardioembolic, viral, autoimmune, post-traumatic, and genetic etiologies. Furthermore, we provide a neuroimaging correlate for clinical mimics of pediatric stroke. This review highlights the role of multimodal noninvasive neuroimaging in the early diagnosis of pediatric stroke, providing a problem-solving approach to the differential diagnosis for the neuroradiologist, emergency room physician, and neurologist.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/RMR.0000000000000183DOI Listing
December 2018

Ruptured intracranial aneurysm in a patient with autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2018 10;23(1):75-79

Departments of1Neurological Surgery and.

Aneurysmal rupture can result in devastating neurological consequences and can be complicated by comorbid disease processes. Patients with autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) have a low rate of reported aneurysms, but this may be due to the relative high rate of end-stage illnesses early in childhood. Authors here report the case of a 10-year-old boy with ARPKD who presented with a Hunt and Hess grade V subarachnoid hemorrhage requiring emergency ventriculostomy, embolization, and decompressive craniectomy. Despite initial improvements in his neurological status, the patient succumbed to hepatic failure. Given the catastrophic outcomes of subarachnoid hemorrhage in young patients, early radiographic screening in those with ARPKD may be warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.8.PEDS18286DOI Listing
October 2018

Inhibition of IRE1 RNase activity modulates the tumor cell secretome and enhances response to chemotherapy.

Nat Commun 2018 08 15;9(1):3267. Epub 2018 Aug 15.

Apoptosis Research Centre, National University of Ireland Galway, University Road, Galway, H91 TK33, Ireland.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) lacks targeted therapies and has a worse prognosis than other breast cancer subtypes, underscoring an urgent need for new therapeutic targets and strategies. IRE1 is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress sensor, whose activation is predominantly linked to the resolution of ER stress and, in the case of severe stress, to cell death. Here we demonstrate that constitutive IRE1 RNase activity contributes to basal production of pro-tumorigenic factors IL-6, IL-8, CXCL1, GM-CSF, and TGFβ2 in TNBC cells. We further show that the chemotherapeutic drug, paclitaxel, enhances IRE1 RNase activity and this contributes to paclitaxel-mediated expansion of tumor-initiating cells. In a xenograft mouse model of TNBC, inhibition of IRE1 RNase activity increases paclitaxel-mediated tumor suppression and delays tumor relapse post therapy. We therefore conclude that inclusion of IRE1 RNase inhibition in therapeutic strategies can enhance the effectiveness of current chemotherapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05763-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6093931PMC
August 2018

Twenty years' experience with myelomeningocele management at a single institution: lessons learned.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2018 Oct 13;22(4):439-443. Epub 2018 Jul 13.

2Department of Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Objective: The authors reviewed 20 years' experience with the surgical management of open myelomeningocele in a well-defined retrospective cohort from a single large academic medical center. Their goal was to define the characteristics of a modern cohort of children with myelomeningocele to allow for evidence-based decision-making for the treatment of these patients.

Methods: After IRB approval was obtained, the authors queried an operative database maintained by the Department of Neurological Surgery at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh for patients who underwent closure of a myelomeningocele between 1995 and 2015. They identified 153 infants, and a retrospective chart review was performed.

Results: Eighty-eight percent of the patients required placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, and 15% of these patients acquired shunt-related infections. Eighteen percent of patients underwent Chiari malformation type II (CM-II) decompression. Sixteen percent of patients underwent a tethered cord release. Three percent of patients died within the 1st year of life. Predictors of an early demise included poor Apgar scores, large head circumference, and need for early CM-II decompression. Functional motor outcome was slightly better than predicted by anatomical level of defect.

Conclusions: Myelomeningoceles represent a severe birth defect with life-threatening complications. The authors provide long-term follow-up data and insight into factors that contribute to early death.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.5.PEDS17584DOI Listing
October 2018

Case Series: Pediatric Shunt Tunnel Catheter Infection.

Pediatr Neurosurg 2018 26;53(5):342-345. Epub 2018 Jun 26.

Department of Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Shunt infections are common pediatric neurosurgical cases with high morbidity that almost always requires surgical removal of the shunt, external ventricular drain placement, and delayed shunt replacement. Tunnel infections are well-described clinical entities occurring with indwelling catheters, whereby the indwelling tunnel portion of a line becomes externally infected with a sterile central lumen. These infections are typically treated with line replacement or antibiotics depending on clinical circumstances. We describe 2 cases of shunt tunnel infection. Both cases presented as erythema over the thoracic portion of the shunt without signs of CNS infection, with only a remote history of shunt surgery and no recent systemic illness. One case was treated with a course of antibiotics, and the other with surgical removal and eventual replacement. Both children made full recoveries. Our case series juxtaposes 2 alternative successful strategies for treating the rare entity of shunt tunnel infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000490062DOI Listing
December 2018

Complications following pediatric cranioplasty after decompressive craniectomy: a multicenter retrospective study.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2018 09 8;22(3):225-232. Epub 2018 Jun 8.

17Department of Neurosurgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

OBJECTIVE In children, the repair of skull defects arising from decompressive craniectomy presents a unique set of challenges. Single-center studies have identified different risk factors for the common complications of cranioplasty resorption and infection. The goal of the present study was to determine the risk factors for bone resorption and infection after pediatric cranioplasty. METHODS The authors conducted a multicenter retrospective case study that included all patients who underwent cranioplasty to correct a skull defect arising from a decompressive craniectomy at 13 centers between 2000 and 2011 and were less than 19 years old at the time of cranioplasty. Prior systematic review of the literature along with expert opinion guided the selection of variables to be collected. These included: indication for craniectomy; history of abusive head trauma; method of bone storage; method of bone fixation; use of drains; size of bone graft; presence of other implants, including ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt; presence of fluid collections; age at craniectomy; and time between craniectomy and cranioplasty. RESULTS A total of 359 patients met the inclusion criteria. The patients' mean age was 8.4 years, and 51.5% were female. Thirty-eight cases (10.5%) were complicated by infection. In multivariate analysis, presence of a cranial implant (primarily VP shunt) (OR 2.41, 95% CI 1.17-4.98), presence of gastrostomy (OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.03-5.79), and ventilator dependence (OR 8.45, 95% CI 1.10-65.08) were significant risk factors for cranioplasty infection. No other variable was associated with infection. Of the 240 patients who underwent a cranioplasty with bone graft, 21.7% showed bone resorption significant enough to warrant repeat surgical intervention. The most important predictor of cranioplasty bone resorption was age at the time of cranioplasty. For every month of increased age the risk of bone flap resorption decreased by 1% (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.98-0.99, p < 0.001). Other risk factors for resorption in multivariate models were the use of external ventricular drains and lumbar shunts. CONCLUSIONS This is the largest study of pediatric cranioplasty outcomes performed to date. Analysis included variables found to be significant in previous retrospective reports. Presence of a cranial implant such as VP shunt is the most significant risk factor for cranioplasty infection, whereas younger age at cranioplasty is the dominant risk factor for bone resorption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.3.PEDS17234DOI Listing
September 2018

Phenotypic changes and DNA methylation status in cryopreserved seeds of rye (Secale cereale L.).

Cryobiology 2018 06 30;82:8-14. Epub 2018 Apr 30.

Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA. Electronic address:

Conserving genetic diversity is a major priority of the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation (NLGRP), operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. There are two long-term preservation methods employed in the NLGRP: storage in a -18 °C freezer (conventional storage) and storage in liquid nitrogen vapor phase at -135 to -180 °C (cryopreservation). To test the phenotypic and epigenetic effects of long-term cryopreservation of orthodox seeds, we evaluated 40 cereal rye accessions (20 spring habit and 20 winter habit) stored for 25 years under both conventional storage and cryogenic conditions. In laboratory evaluations of winter habit rye, seeds from cryopreserved samples had significantly higher normal germination percentage (P < 0.05) and lower abnormal germination percentage (P < 0.05) than those stored under conventional conditions. Cryopreserved spring habit rye also had higher normal germination percentage (P < 0.01) than conventionally stored samples. In addition, winter rye seedlings from cryopreserved seeds had longer roots and smaller root diameter (P < 0.05) than seedlings from conventionally stored seeds. In field evaluations conducted in Fort Collins, Colorado in 2014-15, spikes of plants grown from conventionally stored seeds of the winter accessions were slightly longer than those from cryopreserved seeds (P = 0.045). To detect DNA methylation changes, a methylation-sensitive amplified fragment length polymorphism (metAFLP) technique was applied to two accessions. After false discovery rate adjustment, no differences in methylation were detected between storage treatments on an individual locus basis. Our study indicated that cryopreservation slowed seed deterioration as evidenced by higher germination rates compared to conventional storage, had only minimal effects on other phenotypic traits, and had no significant effects on DNA methylation status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cryobiol.2018.04.015DOI Listing
June 2018

Clinical Outcomes of Isolated Congenital Aqueductal Stenosis.

World Neurosurg 2018 Jun 26;114:e976-e981. Epub 2018 Mar 26.

Department of Neurological Surgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Magee Women's Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Introduction: Hydrocephalus due to congenital aqueductal stenosis (CAS) has significant long-term clinical implications. Previous reports on outcomes after treatment of congenital hydrocephalus are heterogenous and lack specificity for the subgroup of patients with isolated aqueductal stenosis.

Methods: An institutional surgical database was queried for the time period of 2005-2013 for patients with the diagnosis of isolated CAS and >2 years of clinical follow-up. Medical history and neurodevelopmental outcomes were recorded.

Results: The institutional cohort consisted of 41 patients with isolated CAS who underwent cerebrospinal fluid diversion. At a mean follow-up of 5.9 years, 48.8% carried a diagnosis of epilepsy and 68% were developmentally delayed. Four patients were diagnosed with cerebral palsy (9.8%). In total, 78% of patients were shunt-dependent, and the remainder had patent third ventriculostomies. Only 32% of patients in our cohort were neurologically normal after long-term follow-up despite contemporary management.

Conclusions: Regardless of the initial treatment strategy, the age at diagnosis, or the timing of cerebrospinal fluid diversion after birth, patients with aqueductal stenosis have high rates of epilepsy, neurodevelopmental delay, and educational difficulties, and few are neurologically normal despite contemporary management. Investigation into in utero identification and correction of hydrocephalus may result in improved outcomes and warrants further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2018.03.123DOI Listing
June 2018

Predictors of mortality in children with myelomeningocele and symptomatic Chiari type II malformation.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2018 06 23;21(6):587-596. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

1Department of Neurological Surgery and the.

OBJECTIVE Chiari malformation type II (CM-II) in myelomeningocele is associated with a significant rate of mortality and poor outcome. Death is frequently heralded by the onset or progression of neurological symptoms. The authors sought to identify predictors of poor outcome and mortality within the myelomeningocele population at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. METHODS A retrospective chart and radiology review was performed on all infants who underwent primary closure of a myelomeningocele defect at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh between the years of 1995 and 2015. Preoperative symptoms and signs leading to CM-II decompression, as well as operative details and postoperative changes in these symptoms and signs, were investigated in detail and correlated to outcome. Poor outcome was defined as death, stridor, or ventilator dependence. Deceased patients were separately assessed within this subgroup. RESULTS Thirty-two (21%) of 153 patients were found to have symptomatic CM-II. Of the 32 patients meeting inclusion criteria, 12 (38%) had poor outcomes. Eight patients (25%) died since initial presentation; 5 of these patients (16% of the overall cohort) died within the 1st year of life and 3 (9%) died during adolescence. Seven (88%) of the 8 patients who died had central apnea on presentation (p = 0.001) and 7 (44%) of the 16 patients who developed symptoms in the first 3 months of life died, compared with 1 (6.3%) of 16 who developed symptoms later in childhood (p = 0.04). The median Apgar score at 1 minute was 4.5 for patients who died and 8 for surviving patients (p = 0.006). The median diameter of the myelomeningocele defect was 5.75 cm for patients who died and 5 for those who survived (p = 0.01). The anatomical level of defect trended toward higher levels in patients who died, with 4 patients in that group having an anatomical level at L-2 or higher compared with 5 of the surviving patients (p = 0.001). The median initial head circumference for the 5 patients dying in the 1st year of life was 41.5 cm, versus 34 cm for all other patients (p = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS CM-II in spina bifida is associated with a significant mortality rate even when surgical intervention is performed. Death is more frequent in symptomatic patients presenting prior to 1 year of age. Late deaths are associated with symptom progression despite aggressive surgical and medical intervention. In this patient cohort, death was more likely in patients with symptomatic presentation during the first 3 months of life, low Apgar scores, large myelomeningocele defects, early central apnea, and large head circumference at birth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.1.PEDS17496DOI Listing
June 2018

Coincident myelomeningocele and gastroschisis: report of 2 cases.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2018 06 9;21(6):574-577. Epub 2018 Mar 9.

5Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Myelomeningocele and gastroschisis, on their own, are both relatively common entities encountered in pediatric surgical care. Coexistence of these pathologies, however, is exceedingly rare. The authors report on 2 patients who presented with myelomeningocele and gastroschisis at birth. They obtained blood for whole-exome analysis for one of the patients and identified 3 mutations that could be related to the underlying anomalies: homozygous mutations in FAM171B and ABCA1 and a hemizygous (X-linked) mutation in COL4A5. Of these, FAM171B and ABCA1 both have function that may be related to the underlying disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2017.11.PEDS17540DOI Listing
June 2018

The Use of External Ventricular Drainage to Reduce the Frequency of Wound Complications in Myelomeningocele Closure.

Pediatr Neurosurg 2018 10;53(2):100-107. Epub 2018 Jan 10.

Department of Neurological Surgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Introduction: Myelomeningocele (MMC) is an open neural tube defect routinely surgically closed within 48 h of birth to prevent secondary infection. Up to 18% of patients experience wound complications, and 85% require shunting for hydrocephalus. We hypothesized that wound complications could be reduced by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion at the time of closure.

Methods: Institutional review board approval was obtained to review records of the 88 patients who underwent MMC closure between January 2005 and June 2016 at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Twenty-three patients (26%) had an external ventricular drain (EVD) placed at the time of MMC closure and underwent 7-11 days of CSF drainage. Fourteen patients (16%) had a shunt placed at the time of MMC closure, and 51 (58%) had no form of CSF diversion at the time of MMC closure.

Results: Patients with an EVD or shunt placed at the time of closure had no wound complications. In contrast, 8 patients (16%) without CSF diversion at closure developed wound complications (p = 0.048). Seven of the 8 wound complications occurred in the 71 patients with evidence of hydrocephalus at birth (p = 0.98). Of patients with evidence of hydrocephalus at the time of MMC closure, wound complications had a higher rate of occurrence among patients who did not receive a shunt or EVD at closure (p = 0.01). When comparing only patients with evidence of hydrocephalus at birth, the EVD group alone had a lower rate of wound complications than patients who did not receive CSF diversion at the time of closure (p = 0.031).

Conclusions: These results suggest that addressing hydrocephalus at the time of MMC closure significantly reduces the likelihood of wound complications and may justify temporary CSF diversion at birth, at least in those patients manifesting hydrocephalus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000485251DOI Listing
August 2018

Androgen receptor expression on circulating tumor cells in metastatic breast cancer.

PLoS One 2017 28;12(9):e0185231. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

Department of Breast Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States of America.

Purpose: Androgen receptor (AR) is frequently detected in breast cancers, and AR-targeted therapies are showing activity in AR-positive (AR+) breast cancer. However, the role of AR in breast cancers is still not fully elucidated and the biology of AR in breast cancer remains incompletely understood. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) can serve as prognostic and diagnostic tools, prompting us to measure AR protein expression and conduct genomic analyses on CTCs in patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Methods: Blood samples from patients with metastatic breast cancer were deposited on glass slides, subjected to nuclear staining with DAPI, and reacted with fluorescent-labeled antibodies to detect CD45, cytokeratin (CK), and biomarkers of interest (AR, estrogen receptor [ER], and HER2) on all nucleated cells. The stained slides were scanned and enumerated by non-enrichment-based non-biased approach independent of cell surface epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) using the Epic Sciences CTC platform. Data were analyzed using established digital pathology algorithms.

Results: Of 68 patients, 51 (75%) had at least 1 CTC, and 49 of these 51 (96%) had hormone-receptor-positive (HR+)/HER2-negative primary tumors. AR was expressed in CK+ CTCs in 10 patients. Of these 10 patients, 3 also had ER expression in CK+ CTCs. Single cell genomic analysis of 78 CTCs from 1 of these 3 patients identified three distinct copy number patterns. AR+ cells had a lower frequency of chromosomal changes than ER+ and HER2+ cells.

Conclusions: CTC enumeration and analysis using no enrichment or selection provides a non-biased approach to detect AR expression and chromosomal aberrations in CTCs in patients with metastatic breast cancer. The heterogeneity of intrapatient AR expression in CTCs leads to the new hypothesis that patients with AR+ CTCs have heterogeneous disease with multiple drivers. Further studies are warranted to investigate the clinical applicability of AR+ CTCs and their heterogeneity.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185231PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5619732PMC
October 2017

Encephalocele development from a congenital meningocele: case report.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2017 Nov 8;20(5):419-422. Epub 2017 Sep 8.

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and.

A fetal MRI study obtained at 21 weeks' gestation revealed a suboccipital meningocele without hydrocephalus. One day after term birth, MRI demonstrated an acquired cerebellar encephalocele, and MRI obtained 5 months later showed progressive enlargement of the encephalocele, still without obvious hydrocephalus. The patient underwent an operation in which an external ventricular drain was placed, the grossly normal cerebellum was reduced into the posterior fossa without resection, and the dural defect was closed. The drain was weaned out over 5 days, and no ventriculoperitoneal shunt was placed. Postoperative MR images revealed normal cerebellum and no hydrocephalus. The patient is developmentally normal. Meningocele and encephalocele are embryologically distinct. An acquired encephalocele could develop from hydrocephalus (which was not present in this case), or secondary to the lower resistance to expansion into the dural defect of the meningocele relative to the resistance to expansion of the fetal skull. The cerebellar tissue was normal in this case, and was thus preserved. The developmental prognosis is excellent. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first reported case of this occurrence. It is important to differentiate between congenital and acquired encephalocele etiologies, because resection of the cerebellar tissue in an acquired encephalocele (as is routinely done in cases of congenital encephalocele) would be expected to result in neurological deficits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2017.6.PEDS17178DOI Listing
November 2017

Phenotypic Heterogeneity of Circulating Tumor Cells Informs Clinical Decisions between AR Signaling Inhibitors and Taxanes in Metastatic Prostate Cancer.

Cancer Res 2017 10 17;77(20):5687-5698. Epub 2017 Aug 17.

Epic Sciences, La Jolla, California.

The heterogeneity of an individual patient's tumor has been linked to treatment resistance, but quantitative biomarkers to rapidly and reproducibly evaluate heterogeneity in a clinical setting are currently lacking. Using established tools available in a College of American Pathologists-accredited and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-certified clinical laboratory, we quantified digital pathology features on 9,225 individual circulating tumor cells (CTC) from 179 unique metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) patients to define phenotypically distinct cell types. Heterogeneity was quantified on the basis of the diversity of cell types in individual patient samples using the Shannon index and associated with overall survival (OS) in the 145 specimens collected prior to initiation of the second or later lines of therapy. Low CTC phenotypic heterogeneity was associated with better OS in patients treated with androgen receptor signaling inhibitors (ARSI), whereas high heterogeneity was associated with better OS in patients treated with taxane chemotherapy. Overall, the results show that quantifying CTC phenotypic heterogeneity can help inform the choice between ARSI and taxanes in mCRPC patients. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-1353DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5666339PMC
October 2017