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PNA Spotlight: Dr. Debraj Mukherjee


mukherjeeThis month the PNA Spotlight focuses on Dr. Debraj “Raj” Mukherjee, director of neurosurgical oncology at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and assistant professor of neurosurgery and the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Mukherjee earned his M.D. from Dartmouth Medical School. He went on to study epidemiology, biostatistics, and clinical design at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and served as co-director of the Neuro-Oncology Surgical Outcomes Laboratory in the Department of Neurosurgery. He did his residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and an open and endoscopic skull base fellowship at the Center for Skull Base Surgery at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Mukherjee was kind enough to answer some questions from the PNA; his answers follow.

What inspired you to choose your career path?

 My interest in pursuing a career in medicine was sparked by very personal experiences. As the son of immigrant parents who settled just outside of Chicago, I found the physicians caring for my family and me were always compassionate and provided wisdom, guidance, and support that was truly life-altering, regardless of our ability to pay for their services. Beyond this initial curiosity, as I began to interact more with patients as a clinic volunteer in high school and college, I found my ability to connect with patients on an individual level to be inspiring and deeply meaningful. As a medical student, I was drawn to neurosurgery, given its promise of dramatically improving patients’ lives through the surgical sciences. During my training, I found that I excelled in the skull base cases that were often the most challenging, including dissection along critical neurovascular structures with significant implications for patients’ quality of life. As an attending neurosurgeon focused on the surgical treatment of skull base tumors (inclusive of pituitary lesions), I have been fortunate to merge all of these interests and skills into a comprehensive skull base tumor practice that allows me to demonstrate empathy toward my patients and their families, while also providing excellent surgical care and pushing the field forward with my research initiatives focused on quality-of-life issues.

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Medical Corner: Socioeconomic Status and Pituitary Surgery


aghikunwartheodosopoulosThis month the PNA Medical Corner presents a study co-authored by multiple members of the PNA: Drs. Theodosopoulos, Kunwar, Blevins and Aghi, all colleagues at UCSF. The study looks at whether a patient’s socioceconomic status has any predictive value as to the presentation or outcomes after the resection of a nonfunctioning pituitary tumor. They looked at five indicators of SES (race, ethnicity, insurance status, estimated income, and having a primary care provider) and conclude that having a primary care provider was the most significant factor and protected low-income patients from increased risk of recurrence.

Socioeconomic predictors of case presentations and outcomes in 225 nonfunctional pituitary adenoma resections

Robert C Osorio 1, Matheus P Pereira 1, Rushikesh S Joshi 2, Kevin C Donohue 1, Patricia Sneed 3, Steve Braunstein 3, Philip V Theodosopoulos 4, Ivan H El-Sayed 5, José Gurrola 5, Sandeep Kunwar 4, Lewis S Blevins 4, Manish K Aghi 4
Affiliations expand

PMID: 34598141 DOI: 10.3171/2021.4.JNS21907


Objective:  Clinical presentations and outcomes of nonfunctional pituitary adenoma (NFPA) resections can vary widely, and very little prior research has analyzed this variance through a socioeconomic lens. This study sought to determine whether socioeconomic status (SES) influences NFPA presentations and postoperative outcomes, as these associations could aid physicians in understanding case prognoses and complications.

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Medical Corner: New Recommendations on Stereotactic Radiosurgery


jason sheehanThis month the PNA Medical Corner showcases and article co-authored by Dr. Jason Sheehan, a longtime member of the PNA. The study, published in the journal Neurosurgery, reviews the literature on stereotactic radiosurgery for secretory pituitary adenomas. The authors conclude that SRS is effective most of the time in controlling the tumor but is less effective at improving endocrine function or at achieving remission.

J Neurosurg
2021 Sep 3;1-12.
doi: 10.3171/2021.2.JNS204440. Online ahead of print.

Stereotactic radiosurgery for secretory pituitary adenomas: systematic review and International Stereotactic Radiosurgery Society practice recommendations
David Mathieu 1, Rupesh Kotecha 2, Arjun Sahgal 3, Antonio De Salles 4, Laura Fariselli 5, Bruce E Pollock 6, Marc Levivier 7, Lijun Ma 8, Ian Paddick 9, Jean Regis 10 11, Shoji Yomo 12, John H Suh 13, Muni Rubens 2, Jason P Sheehan 14
Affiliations expand

• PMID: 34479203 DOI: 10.3171/2021.2.JNS204440

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PNA Spotlight: Dr. Sandeep Kunwar


sandeep kunwarThis month the PNA Spotlight focuses on Dr. Sandeep Kunwar, an eminent neurosurgeon who serves on the PNA’s Board of Directors. He is surgical director of the California Center for Pituitary Disorders and a professor of neurosurgery at UCSF. He is also surgical director at the Taylor Bell Neuroscience Institute in the Washington Hospital Healthcare System in Fremont, CA. He opened his private practice there in 2006. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Berkeley in 1988. From 1991-2 he trained as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar at the National Cancer Institute, working in the laboratory of molecular biology. He went to graduate from UCSF medical school in 1993, did his residency there in neurological surgery in 1998, and joined the faculty upon completion in 1999. From 1997-98 he served as a Research Fellow in the Brain Tumor Research Center at UCSF. He was selected by renowned pituitary surgeon Dr. Charles Wilson to take over his practice upon retirement.

Dr. Kunwar specializes in gamma knife radiosurgery for metastatic and primary brain tumors, and uses the endonasal approach for pituitary tumors. His research works to improve surgical therapy for brain tumors, particularly glioblastomas. He has pioneered a minimally invasive surgical technique for skull-based tumors and has successfully applied that skill to transcranial and spine patients as well.
He was kind enough to answer questions from the PNA. His responses follow.

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