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Histological and neuroimaging comparison of SMART syndrome versus focal neuronal gigantism.

Clinical Neuropathology 2023 December 13
Two of the rarest radiation-induced adverse effects are focal neuronal gigantism (FNG) and SMART syndrome (stroke-like migraine attacks after radiation therapy). Both conditions develop years, and sometimes decades, after receipt of therapeutic radiation to the brain. To date, there are only 3 previously reported cases of FNG, all of which describe cortical thickening, enlarged "hypertrophic" neurons, and neuronal cytological changes. No detailed studies exist of histological features of SMART or the comparison between FNG and SMART. In this study, we contrast histological and neuroimaging features of 3 FNG vs. 4 SMART cases, the latter diagnosed by a neuroradiologist, neurooncologist, and/or neurosurgeon. We confirm the cortical thickening, dyslamination, neuronal cytomegaly, and gliosis in FNG vs. cortical architectural preservation and normal neuronal cytology in SMART, although both showed gliosis, scattered neurons with cytoplasmic accumulation of tau and neurofibrillary protein and variable co-existence of other radiation-induced lesions. Both conditions lacked significant inflammation or consistent small vessel hyalinization throughout the entire resection specimen. The absence of pathognomonic histologic alterations in SMART cases suggests underlying vascular dysregulation. Despite differing histology, some overlap may exist in neuroimaging features. Molecular assessment conducted in 2 cases of FNG was negative for significant alterations including in the MAPK pathway.

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