Tumor Section Update: Honoring Pioneers and Transitioning to an Exciting Future

Manish K. Aghi, MD, PhD

This April the AANS/CNS Joint Tumor Section transitioned in leadership, as Frederick G. Barker II, chair from 2013 to 2016, passed the baton to our new chair Steven N. Kalkanis. Dr. Kalkanis and newly elected secretary/treasurer Manish Aghi will each serve two-year terms, after which Dr. Aghi will assume the chair position. This past year, the Tumor Section has enjoyed contributions from many dedicated volunteer leaders, and we had the opportunity to recognize a few of them at the recent 2016 Tumor Section Satellite Symposium, September 23-24, in San Diego.

At the Satellite Symposium, our section presented several awards, including the first annual Andrew Parsa Mentorship Award. Dr. Parsa passed away on April 13, 2015, shortly before he would have become chair of the Tumor Section. The Andrew Parsa Mentorship award was presented to Dr. Barker, whose track record for mentoring trainees and junior faculty reflects the spirit of Andrew Parsa. This award was a direct result of the numerous trainees who nominated him and whose nominations were read aloud at the Satellite Symposium. The impact of Dr. Barker’s mentoring has been tremendous for a significant portion of the Tumor Section Executive Committee, including current leaders Drs. Kalkanis and Aghi, both of whom trained at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) under Dr. Barker. As we continue to honor Dr. Parsa’s legacy, the Tumor Section is also working to fully fund a Parsa Research Fund to support trainee research in neurosurgery, a mission that was central throughout Dr. Parsa’s career.

Dr. Joseph Piepmeier received the Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of his legacy of distinguished service to the Tumor Section from 1993 to 2016, including serving as chair from 1999 to 2001. Under his leadership during those years, the Tumor Section launched many initiatives that would become its core tenets during the ensuing fifteen years, such as establishing the Tumor Immunology Task Force and publishing practice parameters for the treatment of single brain metastases.

The Tumor Section also honored the lifetime achievement of Dr. Mitchel Berger by presenting him with the Charles B. Wilson Award in honor of his career accomplishments in the field of neuro-oncology. Dr. Berger’s career has included two decades as chair of neurosurgery at UCSF, where he succeeded Dr. Charles Wilson, for whom this award was named. At UCSF, Dr. Berger built a pre-eminent brain tumor research center and defined the importance of extent of resection for gliomas and the principles of functional brain mapping that have done so much to advance neurosurgical oncology and outcomes for patients with gliomas. Dr. Berger is the sixth winner of this award since its inception in 2004. He was also one of three keynote speakers at the Satellite Symposium, where he presented a talk on low-grade gliomas and maximizing resection for survival.

Other notable speakers at the symposium included Drs. Hugues Duffau and James Rutka. The theme of the meeting, held for the first time in conjunction with the CNS Annual Meeting, was recent innovations and advances in the treatment of patients with low-grade gliomas. Sessions covered topics such as adjuvant therapy, ionizing radiation treatment, surgical techniques, clinical trials, and guidelines. Breakout groups specifically for residents, fellows, and young attendings focused on topics such as how to become a clinical trial investigator or to find an academic position as a brain tumor surgeon. This year Zeiss also partnered with us to offer a special lunch seminar focused on the controversies in fluorescence-guided surgery of gliomas with the use of 5-ALA and Fluorescein.

Tumor Section remains active in the production of guidelines for the management of brain tumors. We are proud to share that new guidelines on the management of nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas have just been released, an effort led by Dr. Manish Aghi, and endorsed by the AANS/CNS Joint Guidelines Committee. Read the executive summaries in the October issue of Neurosurgery, and access the full chapters at cns.org/guidelines.

Finally, looking forward to 2017, we would like to announce that 2015-16 CNS President Russell Lonser has been invited to deliver the Ronald L. Bittner Lecture at the AANS Annual Meeting on Monday, April 24, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. We will also continue to work to advance partnerships internationally, with two joint Tumor Section and World Federation of Neurologic Surgeons (WFNS) courses planned for 2017 at host institutions from around the world. For the latest details on Tumor Section activities and for information on becoming a member, please visit our website, tumorsection.org.