From the Chair

Greetings, and Welcome to the Fall 2019
AANS/CNS Section on Tumors Newsletter

Dr. Manish K. Aghi, Section Chair

Dear Colleagues:

As we look forward to gathering again at the 2019 CNS annual meeting in San Francisco, this is a great opportunity to reflect upon recent accomplishments and anticipated developments for our Section, which was the first professional organization devoted to the study and treatment of brain tumors when it was founded in December of 1984 and has since grown to over 2,300 members. With the 35th anniversary of its founding this December, we are grateful that Jason Sheehan, MD, PhD, FAANS, our secretary/treasurer and editor of the Journal of Neuro-Oncology, and the Springer publishing group have graciously agreed to put together a special issue commemorating this anniversary. The issue will feature articles from many members of the Section’s Executive Committee highlighting progress in key areas of central nervous system tumor research and patient care. We have also invited Mark Rosenblum, MD, FAANS(L), the first chair of the AANS/CNS Section on Tumors, to be the guest speaker at a Young Neurosurgeons reception during the CNS meeting to commemorate this anniversary.

In terms of scientific meetings, 2019 has been very productive for the Section. First, we hosted an outstanding program for the 2019 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting in San Diego, under the direction of Scientific Program Chairs Mike Ivan, MD, and Dan Orringer, MD, FAANS, including scientific sessions featuring two main themes: optimizing surgical outcomes in glioma surgery and precision medicine for meningiomas. Building upon this great meeting, we look forward to the upcoming 2019 CNS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, for which our Scientific Program Chairs Wally Sivakumar, MD, and Albert Kim, MD, PhD, FAANS, have organized a great program, including sessions on complications in tumor surgery and emerging concepts in the management of brain metastases.

Looking forward to next year, I am thrilled to have Frank Attenello, MD, and Melanie Hayden Gephardt, MD, FAANS, as scientific program chairs for the 2020 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston. Frank and Melanie are hard at work organizing an exciting program. I have also invited Susan Chang, MD, director of the UCSF Division of Neuro-Oncology, to deliver the Ronald L. Bittner Lecture at the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting on Monday, April 27, 2020.

Outside of the context of the annual AANS and CNS annual meetings, education remains a priority for the Section as it is spearheaded by Costas Hadjipanayis, MD, PhD, FAANS, and as evidenced by the new CNS-sponsored course on tumor complications, which Costas will co-direct on January 25-26, 2020, in Las Vegas.

The Section continues to support a robust annual research grant program. Thanks to the continued success of our biennial Tumor Satellite Symposium held before CNS annual meetings, most recently in Houston in the fall of 2018 and next in Miami in the fall of 2020, the Section will be expanding our support of NREF grants from three to four tumor-related grants effective with the 2020-2021 funding cycle, which will solicit applications with a November 1, 2019, deadline. At the upcoming 2019 CNS meeting in San Francisco, the recipient of the 2018-2019 Section’s NREF Parsa Research Grant will present the results of the work. I would like to thank Orin Bloch, MD, FAANS, for all his work on the Parsa Research Grants to honor the legacy of Andy Parsa, who tragically passed away in 2015 shortly before he would have become chair of the Tumor Section. We are also thrilled that the NREF Honor Your Mentor Fund created for Jim Rutka, MD, PhD, FAANS, chair of the neurosurgery department at University of Toronto and current editor of the Journal of Neurosurgery, has grown enough that, while we work to continue to grow the fund to support a research grant, we will be able to use the fund to support the award given to the best pediatric brain tumor abstract at the AANS and CNS meetings and name this award in honor of Dr. Rutka. This award is part of our overall robust abstract awards program, led by Isabelle Germano, MD, FAANS. The winners of these awards and links to the award-winning abstracts have been incorporated into our highly informative website, which continues to be run at a high level by Jeff Weinberg, MD, FAANS, including developing a pilot for a platform that will enable providers to submit cases on our website for expert review.

Just as the treatment of CNS cancers is multidisciplinary in nature, our Section should strive to foster collaboration with societies in other disciplines related to CNS tumors. For years, we have done this with Society for Neuro-Oncology (see report from our SNO liaison and recently elected SNO President Gelareh Zadeh, MD, PhD, FAANS) and now I have asked Rohan Ramakrishna, MD, FAANS, to serve a similar role in building our relationships with the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the Radiosurgery Society (RSS).

As has occurred with many academic organizations, the Tumor Section has seen a rise in people seeking to generate data via membership surveys. We have sought to formalize the process by which surveys are sent to our members and how data is collected from these through a committee (Dr. Ramakrishna, Jonathan Sherman, MD, FAANS, and Chetan Bettegowda, MD, FAANS) that screens these surveys and makes suggested edits before they are sent to our members, ensuring that they generate the most robust data possible. A survey on frequency with which cases are referred for definitive resection after biopsy was launched through this committee by Dr. Costas Hadjipanayis and has since been published in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology. A survey on language mapping was completed by George Samandouras , MD, and we look forward to hearing those results soon. Please be on the lookout for other important membership surveys on midline gliomas and hospice launching soon. These studies help guide the course of our field through guidelines and best practice paradigm development.

Our international committee, led by Ric Komotar, MD, FAANS, continues to grow our partnerships outside the U.S. These efforts include expanding our international observership programs to enable neurosurgeons from developing countries to observe tumor surgeries at major American centers. Dr. Komotar spearheaded this effort in Argentina through industry support, enabling Alexis Morell, MD, the first awardee of the International Observership Program, to observe 250 brain tumor surgeries during a three month experience in the Brain Tumor Program of the University of Miami. Dr. Morell will be summarizing his experience in a presentation at the 2019 CNS annual meeting. The second recipient of this support, Franco Rubino, has begun his observership. Clark Chen, MD, PhD, FAANS, is making similar efforts to establish an observership program with China.

These are just some examples of the outstanding work being done by the members of our Executive Committee whose articles can be found throughout this newsletter. As you can see, this is an exciting time in neurosurgical oncology and for the Joint Section on Tumors. I hope you enjoy this newsletter and look forward to seeing you at the CNS meeting in San Francisco. For the latest details on Tumor Section activities and for information on becoming a member, please visit our website at


Manish K. Aghi, MD, PhD, FAANS
Chair, AANS/CNS Section on Tumors