Education & Certifications
Bachelor of Arts, Yale University (2016)
Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis is a devastating consequence of late-stage cancer, and despite multimodal treatment, remains rapidly fatal. Definitive diagnosis requires identification of malignant cells in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), or frank disease on MRI. Therapy is generally palliative and consists primarily of radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, which is administered intrathecally or systemically. Immunotherapies and novel experimental therapies have emerged as promising options for decreasing patient morbidity and mortality. In this review, the authors discuss a refined view of the molecular pathophysiology of leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, current approaches to disease management, and emerging therapies.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.nec.2020.06.010
View details for PubMedID 32921356
Though meningioma is the most common primary brain tumor, there is a paucity of epidemiologic studies investigating disparities in treatment and patient outcomes. Therefore, we sought to explore how sociodemographic factors are associated with rates of gross total resection (GTR) and radiotherapy as well as survival.The National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database was queried to identify adult patients with meningioma diagnosed between 2005 and 2015. Socioeconomic status (SES) was determined using a validated composite index in which patients were stratified into tertiles and quintiles. Multivariable logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards analyses were used to identify predictors of treatment and survival, respectively.71,098 patients met our inclusion criteria. Low SES quintile was associated with reduced odds of receiving GTR (OR 0.76, 95% CI 0.69-0.83, p?0.0001) and radiotherapy (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.76-0.91, p?0.0001) as well as worse survival (HR 1.48, 95% CI 1.41-1.56) as compared to the highest SES quintile. Black patients had reduced odds of GTR (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.67-0.71, p?0.0001) and worse survival (HR 1.23, 95% CI 1.18-1.29, p?0.0001) as compared to white patients.This national study of patients with meningioma found socioeconomic status and race to be independent inverse correlates of likelihood of GTR, radiotherapy, and survival. Limited access to care may underlie these disparities in part, and future studies are warranted to identify specific causes for these findings.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11060-020-03455-2
View details for PubMedID 32193691
Immunotherapy for melanoma patients with brain metastasis has significantly improved outcomes; however, they have also been characterized by potentially dangerous immune-related adverse events (IRAEs). Several reports suggest these reactions can precede improved treatment responses. We sought to identify if such association exists for intracranial disease control.We conducted a retrospective chart review of melanoma patients who underwent immunotherapy treatment following diagnosis of brain metastasis. The study cohort was then stratified into two groups based on their history of developing an IRAE that prompted discontinuation of that regimen. The primary outcome variable included intracranial progression-free survival (PFS). Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazard analysis were used to evaluate survival and predictors of outcomes.Fifty-two patients met inclusion criteria, seventeen of whom experienced severe IRAEs that led to discontinuation of immunotherapy. Median intracranial PFS was 19.9 vs 10.5 months (p = 0.053) in patients who did and did not experience severe IRAEs prompting discontinuation, respectively. No additional outcome benefits were identified for systemic PFS or overall survival, mean (33.1 months and 27.6 months, respectively). Multivariable analysis identified BRAF mutation status as a negative prognosticator of brain progression (p = 0.013, HR = 3.90). Initial treatment with BRAF inhibitor was also a negative predictor of all-cause mortality (p = 0.015, HR = 10.73) CONCLUSION: Immune related adverse events may signify an underlying immunogenic response that has intracranial disease control benefits. Despite their associated side effects, immunotherapies continue to demonstrate promising outcomes as a first-line agent for melanoma with brain metastasis.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.wneu.2020.08.124
View details for PubMedID 32853767
Pediatric pineoblastomas are highly aggressive tumors that portend poor outcomes despite multimodal management. Controversy remains regarding optimal disease management.To evaluate patterns of care and optimal clinical management of pediatric pineoblastoma.A total of 211 pediatric (age 0-17 yr) histologically confirmed pineoblastoma patients diagnosed between 2004 and 2015 were queried from the National Cancer Database. Wilcoxon rank-sum statistics and chi-squared analyses were used to compare continuous and categorical variables, respectively. Univariable and multivariable Cox regressions were used to evaluate prognostic impact of covariates. Propensity-score matching was used to balance baseline characteristics.Older patients (age ? 4 yr) experienced improved overall survival compared to younger patients (age < 4 yr) (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.41; 95% CI 0.25-0.66). Older patients (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 5.21; 95% CI 2.61-10.78) and those residing in high-income regions (aOR = 3.16; 95% CI 1.21-8.61) received radiotherapy more frequently. Radiotherapy was independently associated with improved survival in older (adjusted HR [aHR] = 0.31; 95% CI 0.12-0.87) but not younger (aHR = 0.64; 95% CI 0.20-1.90) patients. The benefits of radiotherapy were more pronounced in patients receiving surgery than in those not receiving surgery (aHR [surgical patients] = 0.23; 95% CI 0.08-0.65; aHR [nonsurgical patients] = 0.46; 95% CI 0.22-0.97). Older patients experienced improved outcomes associated with aggressive resection (P = .041); extent of resection was not associated with survival in younger patients (P = .880).Aggressive tumor resection was associated with improved survival only in older pediatric patients. Radiotherapy was more effective in patients receiving surgery. Age-stratified approaches might allow for improved disease management of pediatric pineoblastoma.
View details for DOI 10.1093/neuros/nyaa023
View details for PubMedID 32110805
Skull fractures are common after blunt pediatric head trauma. CSF leaks are a rare but serious complication of skull fractures; however, little evidence exists on the risk of developing a CSF leak following skull fracture in the pediatric population. In this epidemiological study, the authors investigated the risk factors of CSF leaks and their impact on pediatric skull fracture outcomes.The authors queried the MarketScan database (2007-2015), identifying pediatric patients (age < 18 years) with a diagnosis of skull fracture and CSF leak. Skull fractures were disaggregated by location (base, vault, facial) and severity (open, closed, multiple, concomitant cerebral or vascular injury). Descriptive statistics and hypothesis testing were used to compare baseline characteristics, complications, quality metrics, and costs.The authors identified 13,861 pediatric patients admitted with a skull fracture, of whom 1.46% (n = 202) developed a CSF leak. Among patients with a skull fracture and a CSF leak, 118 (58.4%) presented with otorrhea and 84 (41.6%) presented with rhinorrhea. Patients who developed CSF leaks were older (10.4 years vs 8.7 years, p < 0.0001) and more commonly had skull base (n = 183) and multiple (n = 22) skull fractures (p < 0.05). These patients also more frequently underwent a neurosurgical intervention (24.8% vs 9.6%, p < 0.0001). Compared with the non-CSF leak population, patients with a CSF leak had longer average hospitalizations (9.6 days vs 3.7 days, p < 0.0001) and higher rates of neurological deficits (5.0% vs 0.7%, p < 0.0001; OR 7.0; 95% CI 3.6-13.6), meningitis (5.5% vs 0.3%, p < 0.0001; OR 22.4; 95% CI 11.2-44.9), nonroutine discharge (6.9% vs 2.5%, p < 0.0001; OR 2.9; 95% CI 1.7-5.0), and readmission (24.7% vs 8.5%, p < 0.0001; OR 3.4; 95% CI 2.5-4.7). Total costs at 90 days for patients with a CSF leak averaged $81,206, compared with $32,831 for patients without a CSF leak (p < 0.0001).The authors found that CSF leaks occurred in 1.46% of pediatric patients with skull fractures and that skull fractures were associated with significantly increased rates of neurosurgical intervention and risks of meningitis, hospital readmission, and neurological deficits at 90 days. Pediatric patients with skull fractures also experienced longer average hospitalizations and greater healthcare costs at presentation and at 90 days.
View details for DOI 10.3171/2019.8.FOCUS19543
View details for Web of Science ID 000493985900010
View details for PubMedID 31675705
BACKGROUND: Although the incidence of spinal fusions has increased significantly in the United States over the last quarter century, national trends of anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) utilization are not known.PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to characterize trends, clinical characteristics, risk factors associated with, and outcomes of ALIF in the United States.STUDY DESIGN: This was an epidemiological study using national administrative data from the MarketScan database.METHODS: Using a large administrative database, we identified adults who underwent ALIF in the United States from 2007 to 2014. The incidence of ALIF was studied longitudinally over time and across geographic regions in the United States. Data related to postoperative complications, length of stay, readmission, and cost were collected.RESULTS: We identified 49,945 patients that underwent ALIF in the United States between 2007 and 2014. The total number of ALIF procedures increased from 3650 in 2007 to 6151 in 2014, accounting for an average increase of 24.07% annually. The Southern United States performed the highest number of ALIFs. The most common conditions treated were degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis. Over one third of patients (34.6%) underwent multilevel fusion. The most common complications were iron deficiency anemia, urinary tract infections, and pulmonary complications. Hospital and physician pay increased significantly during the study period.CONCLUSIONS: For the first time in our knowledge, we identified national trends in ALIF utilization, outcomes, and cost using a large administrative database. Our study reaffirms prior work that has demonstrated low rates of complications, mortality, and readmission following ALIF.LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III.
View details for DOI 10.1097/BSD.0000000000000904
View details for PubMedID 31609798