The 3rd Edition of this well known book series aims to give a concise overview of the ‘essential’ topics in neuro-oncology. The book is edited by two prominent North American neurosurgeons and the chapters are authored by leading experts in their field. The book is aimed mainly at neurosurgeons and neuro-oncologists at all stages of training and experience, as a reference resource. This edition of the series has added significantly to the previous versions with detailed chapters on intraoperative management, particularly neuronavigation and endoscopy.
The clear chapter layout makes it easy to gain an overview of a particular topic as required. The book starts with excellent concise chapters on tumour epidemiology and tumour genesis. It systematically builds through tumour imaging ultimately to specific insights on the more complex tumours. The chapters on low grade and high grade glioma dominate, as these represent the major tumours encountered in clinical practice. Other topics covered include the entire range of paediatric and spinal tumours, as well peripheral nerve tumours. The tumour genetics, chemotherapy and radiotherapy chapters are also extremely useful to Neurosurgeons and Neurologists of all grades who would wish to overview these important topics relevant to multidisciplinary management. There is a final detailed chapter covering seminal publications in Neuro-oncology: this is an excellent resource for all physicians.
This book adheres to its billing as an overview and resource tool; as such, discussion is kept brief and concise. The addition of an ‘Editor’s Note’ at the end of each chapter, describing the critical points, complements this overview approach very effectively. They are extremely well researched with clear referencing to peer reviewed literature. High quality graphics and intra-operative imaging also effectively add to the discussion of each tumour type. The illustrations in the metabolic, functional and stereotactic radiosurgery chapters in particular are of an exceptional standard.
The chapters pertaining to specific rare tumours are concise; they would not be a definitive guide to management. Discussion of controversies in management is also limited. Topics where the coverage is perhaps too brief are classification systems and genetic profiling in low grade glioma. For example, there is mention of important predictive classifications such as WHO Performance status and the RANO criteria in glioma. These criteria are probably well known by the experienced reader but more detail would be useful for junior residents attending Radiology and Oncology multidisciplinary meetings. The book was also somewhat weak in its exploration of neuro-oncological controversies, such as the management of recurrent high grade glioma.
These are minor issues and the book is a well written and easily readable overview of Neuro-oncology. While clearly relevant to trainees in Neurosurgery or Oncology, the book would earn a place on the bookshelf of any Consultant Neuro-oncological surgeon, as a reference and overview of any neurological tumour likely to be encountered. There is currently no other book of this quality offering such a detailed overview. For those with a subspecialist interest in Neuro-oncology, I would recommend the additional purchase of the excellent ‘Controversies in Neuro-Oncology’ also published by Thieme ,which complements this book and offers the reader full insight into the more controversial topics not covered by ‘the Essentials’.