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Patients with pregnancy-associated secondary brain tumors (PASBT) are challenging to manage. Because no guidelines for the management of such patients currently exist, we performed a systematic review of the literature using PRISMA guidelines with a discussion of management from a neurosurgeon’s perspective.
Systematic review of the literature using PRISMA guidelines from 1999 to 2018.
We identified 301 studies of which 16 publications (22 patients reporting 25 pregnancies, 20 deliveries, 5 early terminations) were suitable for final analysis. The most frequent primary cancers were breast (8/22, 36.36%), skin (6/22, 27.27%), and lung (5/22, 22.73%). Four patients (18.18%) had neurosurgical procedures during their pregnancies. Five patients (22.73%) received neurosurgical resection after their pregnancies. Nine patients (40.91%) received radiation therapy and seven patients (31.82%) received chemotherapy during pregnancy while seven patients (31.82%) received chemotherapy and radiation after pregnancy. There was 1 fetal death (5%) out of 20 healthy deliveries. Five pregnancies (20%) were terminated in the first trimester due to a need for urgent neurosurgical intervention.
Management of PASBT remains a challenging issue. Maternal and fetal risks associated with surgical resection and teratogenicity due to adjuvant therapy should be discussed in the context of a multidisciplinary team. Timing of surgery and the use of systemic chemoradiation depends on the gestational age (GA) of the fetus, extent, and control of the mother’s primary and metastatic disease. Guidelines need to be established to help neuro-oncology teams safely and effectively manage this group of patients.
Stem cell therapy has the optimistic goal of regenerating the myocardium as defined by re-growth of lost or destroyed myocardium. As applied to patients with heart failure, many confuse or limit the regenerative definition to just improving myocardial function and/or decreasing myocardial scar formation, which may not be the most important clinical outcome to achieve in this promising field of molecular medicine. Many different stem cell-based therapies have been tested and have demonstrated a safe and feasible profile in adult patients with heart failure, but with varied efficacious end points reported. Although not achieved as of yet, the encompassing goal to regenerate the heart is still believed to be within reach using these cell-based therapies in adult patients with heart failure, as the first-generation therapies are now being tested in different phases of clinical trials. Similar efforts to foster the translation of stem cell therapy to children with heart failure have, however, been limited. In this review, we aim to summarise the findings from pre-clinical models and clinical experiences to date that have focussed on the evaluation of stem cell therapy in children with heart failure. Finally, we present methodological considerations pertinent to the design of a stem cell-based trial for children with heart failure, as they represent a population of patients with very different sets of issues when compared with adult patients. As has been taught by many learned clinicians, children are not small adults!
Very long term survival after diagnosis of malignant glioma has been described in individual case reports. Survival of more than 10 years is extremely rare, especially when identified in 3 out of 71 patients assigned to one arm of a randomized controlled trial.
Three patients survived 11, 16, and 18 years following the diagnosis of glioblastoma and treatment with surgery, conventional fractionated radiation, and high-activity iodine-125 boost brachytherapy as part of a randomized controlled trial.
Despite this apparent cause and effect relationship, statistical analysis shows no relationship between these cures and treatment with brachytherapy. Cure of glioblastoma remains rare.
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