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To estimate the rate of disease control after conformal radiation therapy using reduced clinical target volume (CTV) margins and determine factors that predict for tumor progression.
Eighty-eight children (median age 8.5 years, range 3.2–17.6 years) received conformal or intensity-modulated radiation therapy between 1998 and 2009. This included those prospectively treated from 1998 to 2003 using a 10 mm CTV, defined as the margin surrounding the solid and cystic tumor targeted to receive the prescription dose of 54 Gy. The CTV margin was subsequently reduced after 2003 yielding two groups of patients: those treated with a CTV margin greater than 5 mm (n=26) and those treated with a CTV margin less than or equal to 5 mm (n=62). Disease progression was estimated on the basis of additional variables including sex, race, extent of resection, tumor interventions, target volume margins, and the frequency of weekly surveillance MR imaging during radiation therapy. The median follow-up was 5 years.
There was no difference comparing progression-free survival based on CTV margin (>5mm vs. ≤ 5mm) at 5 years, 88.1 + 6.3% vs. 96.2 + 4.4% (P=0.6386). There was no difference based on the planning target volume (PTV) margin (or combined CTV+PTV). The PTV was systematically reduced from 5 to 3mm during the time period of the study. Factors predictive of superior progression-free survival included Caucasian race (P=0.0175), absent CSF shunting requirement (P=0.0066), and the number of surveillance imaging studies during treatment (P=0.0216). Patients whose treatment protocol included a higher number of weekly surveillance MR imaging evaluations had a lower rate of tumor progression.
These results suggest that targeted volume reductions for radiation therapy using smaller margins are feasible and safe but require careful monitoring. We are currently investigating the differences in outcome based on host factors to explain the results.
PMCID: PMC3594571  PMID: 23245282
Radiotherapy; Pediatrics; Brain Tumor; Craniopharyngioma; Adaptive Therapy
2.  Shewanella spp. Use Acetate as an Electron Donor for Denitrification but Not Ferric Iron or Fumarate Reduction 
Lactate but not acetate oxidation was reported to support electron acceptor reduction by Shewanella spp. under anoxic conditions. We demonstrate that the denitrifiers Shewanella loihica strain PV-4 and Shewanella denitrificans OS217 utilize acetate as an electron donor for denitrification but not for fumarate or ferric iron reduction.
PMCID: PMC3623185  PMID: 23396327
3.  Distinct disease-risk groups in pediatric supratentorial and posterior fossa ependymomas 
Acta neuropathologica  2012;124(2):247-257.
No reliable classification exists for the therapeutic stratification of children with ependymoma, such that disease-risk might be identified and patients treated to ensure a combination of maximal cure rates and minimal adverse therapeutic effects. This study examined associations between clinicopathological and cytogenetic variables and outcome in a trial cohort of children with ependymoma, with the aim of defining a practical scheme for grading this heterogeneous tumor.
Intracranial ependymomas (n=146) from children treated on the RT1 trial at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital were evaluated for the status of multiple pathological features. Interphase FISH (iFISH) defined the status of chromosomes 1q, 6q (LATS1), and 9p21 (CDKN2A). Data relating to these variables were compared with survival data in order to model disease-risk groups.
Extent of surgical resection was a significant determinant of outcome. Tumor cell density and mitotic count were associated with outcome among children with posterior fossa ependymomas (n=119). Among pathologic factors, only brain invasion was associated with outcome in children with supratentorial ependymomas (n=27). Gain of 1q was independently associated with outcome and in combination with clinicopathological variables defined a three-tier system of disease-risk for posterior fossa tumors.
Among children developing posterior fossa ependymomas treated with maximal surgical resection and conformal radiotherapy, key clinicopathological variables and chromosome 1q status can be used to define tiers of disease-risk. In contrast, risk factors for pediatric supratentorial tumors are limited to subtotal resection and brain invasion.
PMCID: PMC3554251  PMID: 22526017
4.  Factors Associated with Neurological Recovery of Brainstem Function Following Postoperative Conformal Radiation Therapy for Infratentorial Ependymoma 
To identify risk factors associated with incomplete neurological recovery in pediatric patients with infratentorial ependymoma treated with postoperative conformal radiation therapy (CRT).
The study included 68 patients (median age ± standard deviation of 2.6 ± 3.8 years) who were followed for 5 years after receiving CRT (54–59.4 Gy) and were assessed for function of cranial nerves V to VII and IX to XII, motor weakness, and dysmetria. The mean (± standard deviation) brainstem dose was 5,487 (±464) cGy. Patients were divided into four groups representing those with normal baseline and follow-up, those with abnormal baseline and full recovery, those with abnormal baseline and partial or no recovery, and those with progressive deficits at 12 (n = 62 patients), 24 (n = 57 patients), and 60 (n = 50 patients) months. Grouping was correlated with clinical and treatment factors.
Risk factors (overall risk [OR], p value) associated with incomplete recovery included gender (male vs. female, OR = 3.97, p = 0.036) and gross tumor volume (GTV) (OR/ml = 1.23, p = 0.005) at 12 months, the number of resections (>1 vs. 1; OR = 23.7, p = 0.003) and patient age (OR/year = 0.77, p = 0.029) at 24 months, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunting (Yes vs. No; OR = 21.9, p = 0.001) and GTV volume (OR/ml = 1.18, p = 0.008) at 60 months. An increase in GTV correlated with an increase in the number of resections (p = 0.001) and CSF shunting (p = 0.035); the number of resections correlated with CSF shunting (p < 0.0001), and male patients were more likely to undergo multiple tumor resections (p = 0.003). Age correlated with brainstem volume (p < 0.0001). There were no differences in outcome based on the absolute or relative volume of the brainstem that received more than 54 Gy.
Incomplete recovery of brainstem function after CRT for infratentorial ependymoma is related to surgical morbidity and the volume and the extent of tumor.
PMCID: PMC3730270  PMID: 19464817
Ependymoma; Brainstem; Radiotherapy; Pediatrics; Tolerance
5.  Functional microbial diversity explains groundwater chemistry in a pristine aquifer 
BMC Microbiology  2013;13:146.
The diverse microbial populations that inhabit pristine aquifers are known to catalyze critical in situ biogeochemical reactions, yet little is known about how the structure and diversity of this subsurface community correlates with and impacts upon groundwater chemistry. Herein we examine 8,786 bacterial and 8,166 archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences from an array of monitoring wells in the Mahomet aquifer of east-central Illinois. Using multivariate statistical analyses we provide a comparative analysis of the relationship between groundwater chemistry and the microbial communities attached to aquifer sediment along with those suspended in groundwater.
Statistical analyses of 16S rRNA gene sequences showed a clear distinction between attached and suspended communities; with iron-reducing bacteria far more abundant in attached samples than suspended, while archaeal clones related to groups associated with anaerobic methane oxidation and deep subsurface gold mines (ANME-2D and SAGMEG-1, respectively) distinguished the suspended community from the attached. Within the attached bacterial community, cloned sequences most closely related to the sulfate-reducing Desulfobacter and Desulfobulbus genera represented 20% of the bacterial community in wells where the concentration of sulfate in groundwater was high (> 0.2 mM), compared to only 3% in wells with less sulfate. Sequences related to the genus Geobacter, a genus containing ferric-iron reducers, were of nearly equal abundance (15%) to the sulfate reducers under high sulfate conditions, however their relative abundance increased to 34% when sulfate concentrations were < 0.03 mM. Also, in areas where sulfate concentrations were <0.03 mM, archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences similar to those found in methanogens such as Methanosarcina and Methanosaeta comprised 73–80% of the community, and dissolved CH4 ranged between 220 and 1240 μM in these groundwaters. In contrast, methanogens (and their product, CH4) were nearly absent in samples collected from groundwater samples with > 0.2 mM sulfate. In the suspended fraction of wells where the concentration of sulfate was between 0.03 and 0.2 mM, the archaeal community was dominated by sequences most closely related to the ANME-2D, a group of archaea known for anaerobically oxidizing methane. Based on available energy (∆GA) estimations, results varied little for both sulfate reduction and methanogenesis throughout all wells studied, but could favor anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) in wells containing minimal sulfate and dihydrogen, suggesting AOM coupled with H2-oxidizing organisms such as sulfate or iron reducers could be an important pathway occurring in the Mahomet aquifer.
Overall, the results show several distinct factors control the composition of microbial communities in the Mahomet aquifer. Bacteria that respire insoluble substrates such as iron oxides, i.e. Geobacter, comprise a greater abundance of the attached community than the suspended regardless of groundwater chemistry. Differences in community structure driven by the concentration of sulfate point to a clear link between the availability of substrate and the abundance of certain functional groups, particularly iron reducers, sulfate reducers, methanogens, and methanotrophs. Integrating both geochemical and microbiological observations suggest that the relationships between these functional groups could be driven in part by mutualism, especially between ferric-iron and sulfate reducers.
PMCID: PMC3700874  PMID: 23800252
6.  A Prospective Study of Conformal Radiation Therapy for Pediatric Ependymoma 
The lancet oncology  2009;10(3):258-266.
Successful therapy for ependymoma includes aggressive surgical intervention and radiation therapy administered using methods which minimize the risk of side effects. We extended this treatment approach to include children under the age of 3 years.
Between July 1997 and 2007, 153 pediatric patients (median age 2·9 years, range 0·9–22·9 years) with localized ependymoma received conformal radiation therapy after definitive surgery. Doses of 59·4 (n=131) or 54·0 Gy (n=22) were prescribed to a 10mm clinical target volume margin surrounding the post-operative residual tumor and/or tumor bed. The patients had the following characteristics: anaplastic ependymoma (n=85), infratentorial location (n=122), prior chemotherapy (n=35) and extent of resection (gross-total=125, near-total=17, subtotal=11). Disease control, patterns of failure and complications were recorded for patients followed through 10 years.
With a median follow-up of 5·3 years (range 0·4 to 10·4 years), death was recorded in 23 patients and tumor progression in 36, including local (n=14), distant (n=15) and combined failure (n=7). Tumor grade predicted overall (OS) and event-free (EFS) survival and distant failure. Extent of resection predicted OS, EFS and local failure. Race predicted OS. The 7 year local control, event-free and overall survival were 83·7% (95% CI: 73·9–93·5%), 69·1% (95% CI: 56·9–81·3%) and 81·0% (95% CI: 71·0–91·0%), respectively. The cumulative incidence of local and distance failure were 16·3% (95% CI: 9·6–23·0%) and 11·48% (95% CI: 5·9–17·1%), respectively. Considering only those patients treated with immediate post-operative CRT (without delay or chemotherapy) the 7 year OS, EFS and CI of local and distant failure were 85·0% (95% CI: 74·2–95·8%), 76·9% (95% CI: 63·4–90·4%), 12·59% (95% CI: 5·1–20·1%)and 8·56% (95% CI: 2·8–14·3%), respectively. The incidence of secondary malignant brain tumor at 7 years was 2·3% (95% CI: 0–5·6%) and brainstem necrosis 1·6% (95% CI: 0–4·0%).
This study provides new disease control benchmarks and a unifying approach for the treatment of ependymoma that should include surgery with the aim of gross-total resection and conformal, high-dose, post-operative irradiation even for the youngest children. Future trials might consider treatment stratification based on gender and age as female patients are more likely to be long-term survivors and younger patients have higher rates of failure.
PMCID: PMC3615425  PMID: 19274783
7.  Surgical management of tumors producing the thalamopeduncular syndrome of childhood 
Thalamopeduncular tumors arise at the junction of the inferior thalamus and cerebral peduncle and present with a common clinical syndrome of progressive spastic hemiparesis. Pathologically, these lesions are usually juvenile pilocytic astrocytomas and are best treated with resection with the intent to cure. The goals of this study are to define a common clinical syndrome produced by thalamopeduncular tumors and to discuss imaging characteristics as well as surgical adjuncts, intraoperative nuances, and postoperative complications relating to the resection of these neoplasms.
The authors present a retrospective review of their experience with 10 children presenting between 3 and 15 years of age with a thalamopeduncular syndrome. Formal preoperative MR imaging was obtained in all patients, and diffusion tensor (DT) imaging was performed in 9 patients. Postoperative MR imaging was obtained to evaluate the extent of tumor resection. A prospective analysis of clinical outcomes was then conducted by the senior author.
Pilocytic astrocytoma was the pathological diagnosis in 9 cases, and the other was fibrillary astrocytoma. Seven of 9 pilocytic astrocytomas were completely resected. Radical surgery was avoided in 1 child after DT imaging revealed that the corticospinal tract (CST) coursed through the center of the tumor, consistent with the infiltrative nature of fibrillary astrocytoma as identified by stereotactic biopsy. In 8 patients, tractography served as an important adjunct for designing a surgical approach that spared the CST. In 6 cases the CSTs were pushed anterolaterally, making a transsylvian approach a poor choice, as was evidenced by the first patient in the series, who underwent operation prior to the advent of tractography, and who awoke with a dense contralateral hemiparesis. Thus, subsequent patients with this deviation pattern underwent a transcortical approach via the middle temporal gyrus. One patient exhibited medial deviation of the tracts and another had lateral deviation, facilitating a transtemporal and a transfrontal approach, respectively.
The thalamopeduncular syndrome of progressive spastic hemiparesis presenting in children with or without symptoms of headache should alert the examiner to the possibility of a tumoral involvement of CSTs. Preoperative tractography is a useful adjunct to surgical planning in tumors that displace motor pathways. Gross-total resection of pilocytic astrocytomas usually results in cure, and therefore should be entertained when developing a treatment strategy for thalamopeduncular tumors of childhood.
PMCID: PMC3531960  PMID: 21631193
thalamopeduncular astrocytoma; juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma; diffusion tensor imaging; tractography; pediatric neurosurgery; congenital
8.  Survival and long-term health and cognitive outcomes after low-grade glioma 
Neuro-Oncology  2010;13(2):223-234.
Long-term morbidity for children with low-grade glioma (LGG) requires exposure-specific characterization. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were estimated for 361 children diagnosed with LGG between 1985 and 2007 at a single institution. Five-year survivors (n = 240) received risk-based clinical assessment. Cumulative incidence of late effects 15 years from diagnosis were estimated. Risk factors for adverse health were identified using Fine and Gray's approach to Cox's proportional hazards model, accounting for death as a competing risk. OS at 15 years was 86% (95% confidence interval [CI] 82%–90%), and PFS was 55% (95% CI 51%–58%). Among the 240 5-year survivors, the 5-, 10-, and 15-year cumulative incidence of adverse outcomes included blindness: 10%, 13%, and 18%, respectively; hearing loss: 8%, 14%, and 22%; obesity/overweight: 18%, 35%, and 53%; hyperinsulinism: 1%, 5%, and 24%; growth hormone deficiency: 13%, 27%, and 29%;thyroid hormone deficiency: 16%, 28%, and 33%; and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) deficiency: 12%, 22%, and 26%. Multivariable models demonstrated radiation therapy to be a significant independent predictor of hearing loss, growth hormone deficiency, abnormal thyroid function, and ACTH deficiency. Diencephalic location was a statistically significant independent risk factor for blindness, growth hormone deficiency, abnormal thyroid function, and ACTH deficiency. Among the 182 5-year survivors assessed for intellectual function, 34% had an intelligence quotient (IQ) below average (<85), associated with younger age at diagnosis, epilepsy, and shunt placement. Survivors of childhood LGG experience substantial long-term adverse effects that continue to increase well beyond the 5-year survival time point.
PMCID: PMC3064628  PMID: 21177781
cancer; glioma; pediatric; survivor
9.  Subtypes of medulloblastoma have distinct developmental origins 
Nature  2010;468(7327):1095-1099.
Medulloblastoma encompasses a collection of clinically and molecularly diverse tumor subtypes that together comprise the most common malignant childhood brain tumor1–4. These tumors are thought to arise within the cerebellum, with approximately 25% originating from granule neuron precursor cells (GNPCs) following aberrant activation of the Sonic Hedgehog pathway (hereafter, SHH-subtype)3–8. The pathological processes that drive heterogeneity among the other medulloblastoma subtypes are not known, hindering the development of much needed new therapies. Here, we provide evidence that a discrete subtype of medulloblastoma that contains activating mutations in the WNT pathway effector CTNNB1 (hereafter, WNT-subtype)1,3,4, arises outside the cerebellum from cells of the dorsal brainstem. We found that genes marking human WNT-subtype medulloblastomas are more frequently expressed in the lower rhombic lip (LRL) and embryonic dorsal brainstem than in the upper rhombic lip (URL) and developing cerebellum. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and intra-operative reports showed that human WNT-subtype tumors infiltrate the dorsal brainstem, while SHH-subtype tumors are located within the cerebellar hemispheres. Activating mutations in Ctnnb1 had little impact on progenitor cell populations in the cerebellum, but caused the abnormal accumulation of cells on the embryonic dorsal brainstem that included aberrantly proliferating Zic1+ precursor cells. These lesions persisted in all mutant adult mice and in 15% of cases in which Tp53 was concurrently deleted, progressed to form medulloblastomas that recapitulated the anatomy and gene expression profiles of human WNT-subtype medulloblastoma. We provide the first evidence that subtypes of medulloblastoma have distinct cellular origins. Our data provide an explanation for the marked molecular and clinical differences between SHH and WNT-subtype medulloblastomas and have profound implications for future research and treatment of this important childhood cancer.
PMCID: PMC3059767  PMID: 21150899
10.  Latent simian varicella virus reactivates in monkeys treated with tacrolimus with or without exposure to irradiation 
Journal of neurovirology  2010;16(5):342-354.
Simian varicella virus (SVV) infection of primates resembles human varicellazoster virus (VZV) infection. After primary infection, SVV becomes latent in ganglia and reactivates after immunosuppression or social and environmental stress. Herein, natural SVV infection was established in 5 cynomolgus macaques (cynos) and 10 African green (AG) monkeys. Four cynos were treated with the immunosuppressant tacrolimus (80 to 300 μg/kg/day) for 4 months and 1 was untreated (group 1). Four AG monkeys were exposed to a single dose (200 cGy) of x-irradiation (group 2), and 4 other AG monkeys were irradiated and treated with tacrolimus for 4 months (group 3); the remaining 2 AG monkeys were untreated. Zoster rash developed 1 to 2 weeks after tacrolimus treatment in 3 of 4 monkeys in group 1, 6 weeks after irradiation in 1 of 4 monkeys in group 2, and 1 to 2 weeks after irradiation in all 4 monkeys in group 3. All monkeys were euthanized 1 to 4 months after immunosuppression. SVV antigens were detected immunohistochemically in skin biopsies as well as in lungs of most monkeys. Low copy number SVV DNA was detected in ganglia from all three groups of monkeys, including controls. RNA specific for SVV ORFs 61, 63, and 9 was detected in ganglia from one immunosuppressed monkey in group 1. SVV antigens were detected in multiple ganglia from all immunosuppressed monkeys in every group, but not in controls. These results indicate that tacrolimus treatment produced reactivation in more monkeys than irradiation and tacrolimus and irradiation increased the frequency of SVV reactivation as compared to either treatment alone.
PMCID: PMC3076590  PMID: 20822371
immunosuppression; reactivation; SVV
11.  Cross-species genomics matches driver mutations and cell compartments to model ependymoma 
Nature  2010;466(7306):632-636.
Understanding the biology that underlies histologically similar but molecularly distinct subgroups of cancer has proven difficult since their defining genetic alterations are often numerous, and the cellular origins of most cancers remain unknown1–3. We sought to decipher this heterogeneity by integrating matched genetic alterations and candidate cells of origin to generate accurate disease models. First, we identified subgroups of human ependymoma, a form of neural tumor that arises throughout the central nervous system (CNS). Subgroup specific alterations included amplifications and homozygous deletions of genes not yet implicated in ependymoma. To select cellular compartments most likely to give rise to subgroups of ependymoma, we matched the transcriptomes of human tumors to those of mouse neural stem cells (NSCs), isolated from different regions of the CNS at different developmental stages, with an intact or deleted Ink4a/Arf locus. The transcriptome of human cerebral ependymomas with amplified EPHB2 and deleted INK4A/ARF matched only that of embryonic cerebral Ink4a/Arf−/− NSCs. Remarkably, activation of Ephb2 signaling in these, but not other NSCs, generated the first mouse model of ependymoma, which is highly penetrant and accurately models the histology and transcriptome of one subgroup of human cerebral tumor. Further comparative analysis of matched mouse and human tumors revealed selective deregulation in the expression and copy number of genes that control synaptogenesis, pinpointing disruption of this pathway as a critical event in the production of this ependymoma subgroup. Our data demonstrate the power of cross-species genomics to meticulously match subgroup specific driver mutations with cellular compartments to model and interrogate cancer subgroups.
PMCID: PMC2912966  PMID: 20639864
12.  Proximal dentatothalamocortical tract involvement in posterior fossa syndrome 
Brain  2009;132(11):3087-3095.
Posterior fossa syndrome is characterized by cerebellar dysfunction, oromotor/oculomotor apraxia, emotional lability and mutism in patients after infratentorial injury. The underlying neuroanatomical substrates of posterior fossa syndrome are unknown, but dentatothalamocortical tracts have been implicated. We used pre- and postoperative neuroimaging to investigate proximal dentatothalamocortical tract involvement in childhood embryonal brain tumour patients who developed posterior fossa syndrome following tumour resection. Diagnostic imaging from a cohort of 26 paediatric patients previously operated on for an embryonal brain tumour (13 patients prospectively diagnosed with posterior fossa syndrome, and 13 non-affected patients) were evaluated. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging was used to define relevant tumour features, including two potentially predictive measures. Postoperative magnetic resonance and diffusion tensor imaging were used to characterize operative injury and tract-based differences in anisotropy of water diffusion. In patients who developed posterior fossa syndrome, initial tumour resided higher in the 4th ventricle (P = 0.035). Postoperative magnetic resonance signal abnormalities within the superior cerebellar peduncles and midbrain were observed more often in patients with posterior fossa syndrome (P = 0.030 and 0.003, respectively). The fractional anisotropy of water was lower in the bilateral superior cerebellar peduncles, in the bilateral fornices, white matter region proximate to the right angular gyrus (Tailerach coordinates 35, –71, 19) and white matter region proximate to the left superior frontal gyrus (Tailerach coordinates –24, 57, 20). Our findings suggest that multiple bilateral injuries to the proximal dentatothalamocortical pathways may predispose the development of posterior fossa syndrome, that functional disruption of the white matter bundles containing efferent axons within the superior cerebellar peduncles is a critical underlying pathophysiological component of posterior fossa syndrome, and that decreased fractional anisotropy in the fornices and cerebral cortex may be related to the abnormal neurobehavioural symptoms of posterior fossa syndrome.
PMCID: PMC2781745  PMID: 19805491
posterior fossa; cerebellum; mutism; medulloblastoma
13.  Evolution of Neurological Impairment in Pediatric Infratentorial Ependymoma Patients 
Journal of neuro-oncology  2009;94(3):391-398.
Infratentorial ependymoma is a common central nervous system tumor of childhood and in patients > 1 year of age is treated with maximally feasible surgical resection and radiotherapy. Because of this tumor typically arises within the 4th ventricle and can invade the brainstem, patients are at risk for significant neurological impairment.
To characterize the incidence, evolution, and persistence of neurologic impairment in children with infratentorial ependymoma following maximal safe surgery and conformal or intensity-modulated radiation therapy (CRT/IMRT).
Patients and Methods
After surgical resection, 96 children with non-metastatic infratentorial ependymoma were enrolled on a phase II study of image-guided radiation therapy and were prospectively followed with interval comprehensive neurological examinations. Late adverse neurological severity was graded according to the National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE), version 3.0.
The most common deficits detected at baseline examination were limb dysmetria, cranial nerve VI/VII palsy, limb paresis, dysphagia, and truncal ataxia/hypotonia. When present, gait dysfunction and dysphagia were often severe. Oculomotor dysfunction, facial paresis, dysphagia, and gait impairment improved over time. With the exception of hearing loss, in the survivor cohort, very few severe late effects (CTCAE Grade 3/4/5) were present at 60 month survival.
In general, neurological deficits were maximal in the post-operative period and either remained stable or improved during radiation and the post-treatment evaluation period. With the exception of hearing, the majority of chronic residual neurological deficits in this at-risk population are mild and only minimally intrude upon daily life.
PMCID: PMC2731005  PMID: 19330288
ependymoma; children; conformal radiation; neurological impairment
14.  Phase II Trial of Conformal Radiation Therapy for Pediatric Low-Grade Glioma 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(22):3598-3604.
The use of radiotherapy in pediatric low-grade glioma (LGG) is controversial, especially for young patients. We conducted a phase II trial of conformal radiation therapy (CRT) to estimate disease control by using a 10-mm clinical target volume (CTV) margin.
Materials and Methods
Between August 1997 and August 2006, 78 pediatric patients with LGG and a median age of 8.9 years (range, 2.2 to 19.8 years) received 54 Gy CRT by using a 10-mm CTV and by targeting with systematic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) registration. Tumor locations were diencephalon (n = 58), cerebral hemisphere (n = 3), and cerebellum (n = 17). Sixty-seven patients had documented or presumed WHO grade 1 tumors, 25 patients had prior chemotherapy, and 13 patients had neurofibromatosis type 1.
During a median follow-up of 89 months, 13 patients experienced disease progression. One patient experienced marginal treatment failure, eight experienced local failures, and four experienced metastatic failure. The mean and standard error 5- and 10-year event-free (87.4% ± 4.4% and 74.3% ± 15.4%, respectively) and overall (98.5% ± 1.6% and 95.9% ± 5.8%, respectively) survival rates were determined. The mean and standard error cumulative incidences of local failure at 5 and 10 years were 8.7% ± 3.5% and 16.4% ± 5.4%, respectively. The mean and standard error cumulative incidence of vasculopathy was 4.79% ± 2.73% at 6 years, and it was higher for those younger than 5 years of age (P = .0105) at the time of CRT.
This large, prospective series of irradiated children with LGG demonstrates that CRT with a 10-mm CTV does not compromise disease control. The results suggest that CRT should be delayed in young patients to reduce the risk of vasculopathy.
PMCID: PMC3525947  PMID: 19581536
15.  Unique Ecophysiology among U(VI)-Reducing Bacteria as Revealed by Evaluation of Oxygen Metabolism in Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans Strain 2CP-C▿ † 
Anaeromyxobacter spp. respire soluble hexavalent uranium, U(VI), leading to the formation of insoluble U(IV), and are present at the uranium-contaminated Oak Ridge Integrated Field Research Challenge (IFC) site. Pilot-scale in situ bioreduction of U(VI) has been accomplished in area 3 of the Oak Ridge IFC site following biostimulation, but the susceptibility of the reduced material to oxidants (i.e., oxygen) compromises long-term U immobilization. Following oxygen intrusion, attached Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans cells increased approximately 5-fold from 2.2 × 107 ± 8.6 × 106 to 1.0 × 108 ± 2.2 × 107 cells per g of sediment collected from well FW101-2. In the same samples, the numbers of cells of Geobacter lovleyi, a population native to area 3 and also capable of U(VI) reduction, decreased or did not change. A. dehalogenans cells captured via groundwater sampling (i.e., not attached to sediment) were present in much lower numbers (<1.3 × 104 ± 1.1 × 104 cells per liter) than sediment-associated cells, suggesting that A. dehalogenans cells occur predominantly in association with soil particles. Laboratory studies confirmed aerobic growth of A. dehalogenans strain 2CP-C at initial oxygen partial pressures (pO2) at and below 0.18 atm. A negative linear correlation [μ = (−0.09 × pO2) + 0.051; R2 = 0.923] was observed between the instantaneous specific growth rate μ and pO2, indicating that this organism should be classified as a microaerophile. Quantification of cells during aerobic growth revealed that the fraction of electrons released in electron donor oxidation and used for biomass production (fs) decreased from 0.52 at a pO2 of 0.02 atm to 0.19 at a pO2 of 0.18 atm. Hence, the apparent fraction of electrons utilized for energy generation (i.e., oxygen reduction) (fe) increased from 0.48 to 0.81 with increasing pO2, suggesting that oxygen is consumed in a nonrespiratory process at a high pO2. The ability to tolerate high oxygen concentrations, perform microaerophilic oxygen respiration, and preferentially associate with soil particles represents an ecophysiology that distinguishes A. dehalogenans from other known U(VI)-reducing bacteria in area 3, and these features may play roles for stabilizing immobilized radionuclides in situ.
PMCID: PMC2798628  PMID: 19897758
16.  Diversity and Distribution of Anaeromyxobacter Strains in a Uranium-Contaminated Subsurface Environment with a Nonuniform Groundwater Flow▿ † 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2009;75(11):3679-3687.
Versaphilic Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans strains implicated in hexavalent uranium reduction and immobilization are present in the fractured saprolite subsurface environment at the U.S. Department of Energy Integrated Field-Scale Subsurface Research Challenge (IFC) site near Oak Ridge, TN. To provide insight into the in situ distribution of Anaeromyxobacter strains in this system with a nonuniform groundwater flow, 16S rRNA gene-targeted primers and linear hybridization (TaqMan) probes were designed for Oak Ridge IFC Anaeromyxobacter isolates FRC-D1 and FRC-W, along with an Anaeromyxobacter genus-targeted probe and primer set. Multiplex quantitative real-time PCR (mqPCR) was applied to samples collected from Oak Ridge IFC site areas 1 and 3, which are not connected by the primary groundwater flow paths; however, transport between them through cross-plane fractures is hypothesized. Strain FRC-W accounted for more than 10% of the total quantifiable Anaeromyxobacter community in area 1 soils, while strain FRC-D1 was not detected. In FeOOH-amended enrichment cultures derived from area 1 site materials, strain FRC-D1 accounted for 30 to 90% of the total Anaeromyxobacter community, demonstrating that this strain was present in situ in area 1. The area 3 total Anaeromyxobacter abundance exceeded that of area 1 by 3 to 5 orders of magnitude, but neither strain FRC-W- nor FRC-D1-like sequences were quantifiable in any of the 33 area 3 groundwater or sediment samples tested. The Anaeromyxobacter community in area 3 increased from <105 cells/g sediment outside the ethanol biostimulation treatment zone to 108 cells/g sediment near the injection well, and 16S rRNA gene clone library analysis revealed that representatives of a novel phylogenetic cluster dominated the area 3 Anaeromyxobacter community inside the treatment loop. The combined applications of genus- and strain-level mqPCR approaches along with clone libraries provided novel information on patterns of microbial variability within a bacterial group relevant to uranium bioremediation.
PMCID: PMC2687297  PMID: 19346346
17.  M1 Medulloblastoma: High Risk at any Age 
Journal of neuro-oncology  2008;90(3):351-355.
The prognosis for children with M1 medulloblastoma (positive CSF cytology) has not been well-defined.
We retrospectively reviewed the records of 285 newly diagnosed medulloblastoma patients treated between 1984 and 2006. Older children received post-operative craniospinal and tumor bed irradiation; radiotherapy for younger children depended on treatment era and physician/family preference.
55 patients were <3 years old and 230 patients were = 3 years old at diagnosis. We detected significant (p<0.0001) associations between M1 disease and EFS for the entire cohort and for both younger and older patients. Among younger children, M1 patients had lower EFS than M0 (p=0.0044).
Children <3 years old with M1 medulloblastoma fared poorly in our small series. Survival for older children with M1 disease treated with higher-dose CSI was better than that of M2/M3 patients, but still less than optimal; our findings do not support reduction in therapy for either cohort.
PMCID: PMC2597631  PMID: 18704266
medulloblastoma; cytology; infant; survival; metastatic; prognosis
18.  Cognitive and Adaptive Outcome in Extracerebellar Low-Grade Brain Tumors in Children: A Report From the Children's Oncology Group 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2008;26(29):4765-4770.
To determine whether pediatric patients treated with surgery only for low-grade tumors in the cerebral hemispheres, supratentorial midline, and exophytic brainstem evidence neurocognitive, academic, adaptive, or emotional/behavioral sequelae.
Patients and Methods
Ninety-three patients from a natural history study of low-grade astrocytomas were tested an average of 111 days after surgery. Rates of below average (≤ 25th percentile) scores in this sample were compared with test norms, and performances were compared across anatomic sites. Finally, the relationships of pre-, peri-, and postsurgical complications to outcome were investigated.
For the entire sample, there was a significantly elevated rate of below average scores across intelligence quotient, achievement, and adaptive behavior, but not behavioral/emotional adjustment measures. Patients with hemispheric, midline, and brainstem tumors did not differ significantly. Patients with left hemisphere tumors generally performed worse than those with right hemisphere tumors. Finally, neurobehavioral outcome was unrelated to pre-, peri-, or postsurgery complications.
After surgery for low-grade brain tumors, a significant number of patients was found to function below average, by as much as 55% compared with 25% in the normative population. Moreover, these results suggest greater risk for patients with lesions situated in the left cerebral hemisphere. Routine neuropsychological follow-up of children after treatment for low-grade tumors is recommended.
PMCID: PMC2653141  PMID: 18779602
19.  Graphite Electrode as a Sole Electron Donor for Reductive Dechlorination of Tetrachlorethene by Geobacter lovleyi▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2008;74(19):5943-5947.
The possibility that graphite electrodes can serve as the direct electron donor for microbially catalyzed reductive dechlorination was investigated with Geobacter lovleyi. In an initial evaluation of whether G. lovleyi could interact electronically with graphite electrodes, cells were provided with acetate as the electron donor and an electrode as the sole electron acceptor. Current was produced at levels that were ca. 10-fold lower than those previously reported for Geobacter sulfurreducens under similar conditions, and G. lovleyi anode biofilms were correspondingly thinner. When an electrode poised at −300 mV (versus a standard hydrogen electrode) was provided as the electron donor, G. lovleyi effectively reduced fumarate to succinate. The stoichiometry of electrons consumed to succinate produced was 2:1, the ratio expected if the electrode served as the sole electron donor for fumarate reduction. G. lovleyi effectively reduced tetrachloroethene (PCE) to cis-dichloroethene with a poised electrode as the sole electron donor at rates comparable to those obtained when acetate serves as the electron donor. Cells were less abundant on the electrodes when the electrodes served as an electron donor than when they served as an electron acceptor. PCE was not reduced in controls without cells or when the current supply to cells was interrupted. These results demonstrate that G. lovleyi can use a poised electrode as a direct electron donor for reductive dechlorination of PCE. The ability to colocalize dechlorinating microorganisms with electrodes has several potential advantages for bioremediation of subsurface chlorinated contaminants, especially in source zones where electron donor delivery is challenging and often limits dechlorination.
PMCID: PMC2565976  PMID: 18658278
20.  The Mosaic Genome of Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans Strain 2CP-C Suggests an Aerobic Common Ancestor to the Delta-Proteobacteria 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(5):e2103.
Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans strain 2CP-C is a versaphilic delta-Proteobacterium distributed throughout many diverse soil and sediment environments. 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic analysis groups A. dehalogenans together with the myxobacteria, which have distinguishing characteristics including strictly aerobic metabolism, sporulation, fruiting body formation, and surface motility. Analysis of the 5.01 Mb strain 2CP-C genome substantiated that this organism is a myxobacterium but shares genotypic traits with the anaerobic majority of the delta-Proteobacteria (i.e., the Desulfuromonadales). Reflective of its respiratory versatility, strain 2CP-C possesses 68 genes coding for putative c-type cytochromes, including one gene with 40 heme binding motifs. Consistent with its relatedness to the myxobacteria, surface motility was observed in strain 2CP-C and multiple types of motility genes are present, including 28 genes for gliding, adventurous (A-) motility and 17 genes for type IV pilus-based motility (i.e., social (S-) motility) that all have homologs in Myxococcus xanthus. Although A. dehalogenans shares many metabolic traits with the anaerobic majority of the delta-Proteobacteria, strain 2CP-C grows under microaerophilic conditions and possesses detoxification systems for reactive oxygen species. Accordingly, two gene clusters coding for NADH dehydrogenase subunits and two cytochrome oxidase gene clusters in strain 2CP-C are similar to those in M. xanthus. Remarkably, strain 2CP-C possesses a third NADH dehydrogenase gene cluster and a cytochrome cbb3 oxidase gene cluster, apparently acquired through ancient horizontal gene transfer from a strictly anaerobic green sulfur bacterium. The mosaic nature of the A. dehalogenans strain 2CP-C genome suggests that the metabolically versatile, anaerobic members of the delta-Proteobacteria may have descended from aerobic ancestors with complex lifestyles.
PMCID: PMC2330069  PMID: 18461135
21.  Uranium(VI) Reduction by Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans Strain 2CP-C 
Previous studies demonstrated growth of Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans strain 2CP-C with acetate or hydrogen as the electron donor and Fe(III), nitrate, nitrite, fumarate, oxygen, or ortho-substituted halophenols as electron acceptors. In this study, we explored and characterized U(VI) reduction by strain 2CP-C. Cell suspensions of fumarate-grown 2CP-C cells reduced U(VI) to U(IV). More-detailed growth studies demonstrated that hydrogen was the required electron donor for U(VI) reduction and could not be replaced by acetate. The addition of nitrate to U(VI)-reducing cultures resulted in a transitory increase in U(VI) concentration, apparently caused by the reoxidation of reduced U(IV), but U(VI) reduction resumed following the consumption of N-oxyanions. Inhibition of U(VI) reduction occurred in cultures amended with Fe(III) citrate, or citrate. In the presence of amorphous Fe(III) oxide, U(VI) reduction proceeded to completion but the U(VI) reduction rates decreased threefold compared to control cultures. Fumarate and 2-chlorophenol had no inhibitory effects on U(VI) reduction, and both electron acceptors were consumed concomitantly with U(VI). Since cocontaminants (e.g., nitrate, halogenated compounds) and bioavailable ferric iron are often encountered at uranium-impacted sites, the metabolic versatility makes Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans a promising model organism for studying the complex interaction of multiple electron acceptors in U(VI) reduction and immobilization.
PMCID: PMC1472366  PMID: 16672509
22.  Geobacter lovleyi sp. nov. Strain SZ, a Novel Metal-Reducing and Tetrachloroethene-Dechlorinating Bacterium†  
A bacterial isolate, designated strain SZ, was obtained from noncontaminated creek sediment microcosms based on its ability to derive energy from acetate oxidation coupled to tetrachloroethene (PCE)-to-cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-DCE) dechlorination (i.e., chlororespiration). Hydrogen and pyruvate served as alternate electron donors for strain SZ, and the range of electron acceptors included (reduced products are given in brackets) PCE and trichloroethene [cis-DCE], nitrate [ammonium], fumarate [succinate], Fe(III) [Fe(II)], malate [succinate], Mn(IV) [Mn(II)], U(VI) [U(IV)], and elemental sulfur [sulfide]. PCE and soluble Fe(III) (as ferric citrate) were reduced at rates of 56.5 and 164 nmol min−1 mg of protein−1, respectively, with acetate as the electron donor. Alternate electron acceptors, such as U(VI) and nitrate, did not inhibit PCE dechlorination and were consumed concomitantly. With PCE, Fe(III) (as ferric citrate), and nitrate as electron acceptors, H2 was consumed to threshold concentrations of 0.08 ± 0.03 nM, 0.16 ± 0.07 nM, and 0.5 ± 0.06 nM, respectively, and acetate was consumed to 3.0 ± 2.1 nM, 1.2 ± 0.5 nM, and 3.6 ± 0.25 nM, respectively. Apparently, electron acceptor-specific acetate consumption threshold concentrations exist, suggesting that similar to the hydrogen threshold model, the measurement of acetate threshold concentrations offers an additional diagnostic tool to delineate terminal electron-accepting processes in anaerobic subsurface environments. Genetic and phenotypic analyses classify strain SZ as the type strain of the new species, Geobacter lovleyi sp. nov., with Geobacter (formerly Trichlorobacter) thiogenes as the closest relative. Furthermore, the analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences recovered from PCE-dechlorinating consortia and chloroethene-contaminated subsurface environments suggests that Geobacter lovleyi belongs to a distinct, dechlorinating clade within the metal-reducing Geobacter group. Substrate versatility, consumption of electron donors to low threshold concentrations, and simultaneous reduction of electron acceptors suggest that strain SZ-type organisms have desirable characteristics for bioremediation applications.
PMCID: PMC1448980  PMID: 16597982
23.  Dehalogenation of the Herbicides Bromoxynil (3,5-Dibromo-4-Hydroxybenzonitrile) and Ioxynil (3,5-Diiodino-4-Hydroxybenzonitrile) by Desulfitobacterium chlororespirans 
Desulfitobacterium chlororespirans has been shown to grow by coupling the oxidation of lactate to the metabolic reductive dehalogenation of ortho chlorines on polysubstituted phenols. Here, we examine the ability of D. chlororespirans to debrominate and deiodinate the polysubstituted herbicides bromoxynil (3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxybenzonitrile), ioxynil (3,5-diiodo-4-hydroxybenzonitrile), and the bromoxynil metabolite 3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxybenzoate (DBHB). Stoichiometric debromination of bromoxynil to 4-cyanophenol and DBHB to 4-hydroxybenzoate occurred. Further, bromoxynil (35 to 75 μM) and DBHB (250 to 260 μM) were used as electron acceptors for growth. Doubling times for growth (means ± standard deviations for triplicate cultures) on bromoxynil (18.4 ± 5.2 h) and DBHB (11.9 ± 1.4 h), determined by rate of [14C]lactate uptake into biomass, were similar to those previously reported for this microorganism during growth on pyruvate (15.4 h). In contrast, ioxynil was not deiodinated when added alone or when added with bromoxynil; however, ioxynil dehalogenation, with stoichiometric conversion to 4-cyanophenol, was observed when the culture was amended with 3-chloro-4-hydroxybenzoate (a previously reported electron acceptor). To our knowledge, this is the first direct report of deiodination by a bacterium in the Desulfitobacterium genus and the first report of an anaerobic pure culture with the ability to transform bromoxynil or ioxynil. This research provides valuable insights into the substrate range of D. chlororespirans.
PMCID: PMC1169022  PMID: 16000784
24.  Acetate Threshold Concentrations Suggest Varying Energy Requirements during Anaerobic Respiration by Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2004;70(11):6940-6943.
Acetate threshold concentrations were determined under chlororespiring and Fe(III)-reducing conditions for Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans strain 2CP-C. The acetate threshold concentrations measured were 69 ± 4, 19 ± 8, and <1 nM for chlororespiration, amorphous Fe(III) reduction, and Fe(III) citrate reduction, respectively. Residual ΔG values of −75.4 kJ/mol of electrons for chlororespiration and −41.5 kJ/mol of electrons for amorphous Fe(III) reduction were calculated at the acetate threshold concentration. By comparing threshold concentrations for different metabolisms in a single organism, this study provides insight into the metabolic use of energy under different growth conditions.
PMCID: PMC525222  PMID: 15528569
25.  Characterization of Fe(III) Reduction by Chlororespiring Anaeromxyobacter dehalogenans 
Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans strain 2CP-C has been shown to grow by coupling the oxidation of acetate to the reduction of ortho-substituted halophenols, oxygen, nitrate, nitrite, or fumarate. In this study, strain 2CP-C was also found to grow by coupling Fe(III) reduction to the oxidation of acetate, making it one of the few isolates capable of growth by both metal reduction and chlororespiration. Doubling times for growth of 9.2 and 10.2 h were determined for Fe(III) and 2-chlorophenol reduction, respectively. These were determined by using the rate of [14C]acetate uptake into biomass. Fe(III) compounds used by strain 2CP-C include ferric citrate, ferric pyrophosphate, and amorphous ferric oxyhydroxide. The addition of the humic acid analog anthraquinone 2,6-disulfonate (AQDS) increased the reduction rate of amorphous ferric iron oxide, suggesting AQDS was used as an electron shuttle by strain 2CP-C. The addition of chloramphenicol to fumarate-grown cells did not inhibit Fe(III) reduction, indicating that the latter activity is constitutive. In contrast, the addition of chloramphenicol inhibited dechlorination activity, indicating that chlororespiration is inducible. The presence of insoluble Fe(III) oxyhydroxide did not significantly affect dechlorination, whereas the presence of soluble ferric pyrophosphate inhibited dechlorination. With its ability to respire chlorinated organic compounds and metals such as Fe(III), strain 2CP-C is a promising model organism for the study of the interaction of these potentially competing processes in contaminated environments.
PMCID: PMC154556  PMID: 12732541

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