Cystic supratentorial gliomas: Natural history and evaluation of modes of surgical therapy

C. M. Loftus, B. R. Copeland, P. W. Carmel

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16 Scopus citations


The management of cystic supratentorial gliomas is hampered by lack of documentation of the natural history of these lesions and by a lack of evaluation of modes of surgical therapy. We analyzed these factors in 25 patients with solitary cysts operated upon over a 20-year period. Two distinctive patterns of symptoms were seen: short duration (increased pressure and hemiparesis), most often heralding a malignant lesion, and long duration (commonly seizure disorder), associated more often with a benign pathological condition. Large solitary cysts were found in tumors of all histological grades. Surgical procedures included extirpation, biopsy/partial resection, cyst communication to ventricle or marsupialization, burr hole aspiration, aspiration via an indwelling reservoir, and cyst-peritoneal shunting. Radiotherapy, given in all cases, did not prevent cyst recurrence. Of the 25 patients, 76% are alive and remain cystfree at follow-up intervals of 1 to 16 years (mean, 3.2). Five patients died from their tumors, with a mean survival of 33 months after decompression. In 7 of 8 patients with cysts largely or entirely within the basal ganglia or thalamus, successful operative cyst control was achieved. Patients with solitary cystic gliomas seem to have a favorable prognosis, and vigorous efforts to control cyst recurrence and limit disability are warranted. Analysis of our data suggests that craniotomy for tumor resection, cyst decompression, and tissue diagnosis is the initial procedure of choice. Cyst recurrence without major solid tumor should be controlled by computed tomography-guided tap or shunt drainage. Reexploration is indicated when cyst reaccumulation is accompanied by clear regrowth of a solid component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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