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Education ?

Medical School Score Rankings
Johns Hopkins University (1990)
Top 25%

Awards & Distinctions ?

Castle Connolly America's Top Doctors® (2010 - 2015)
Castle Connolly America's Top Doctors® for Cancer (2006 - 2007, 2009 - 2012, 2014 - 2015)
Patients' Choice 5th Anniversary Award (2012 - 2015)
Patients' Choice Award (2008 - 2015)
Compassionate Doctor Recognition (2010, 2012 - 2015)
Top 10 Doctor - State (2014)
Neurological Surgeon
Top 10 Doctor - Metro Area (2014)
Greater Nashville
Neurological Surgeon
Univ Of Tn
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
American College of Surgeons
American Board of Neurological Surgery
American Association of Neurological Surgeons

Affiliations ?

Dr. Sills is affiliated with 6 hospitals.

Hospital Affiliations



  • Vanderbilt University Hospital
    1211 22nd Ave S, Nashville, TN 37232
    Top 25%
  • Williamson Medical Center
    2021 N Carothers Rd, Franklin, TN 37067
  • Reg Med Ctr
  • Va
  • Methodist Germantown Hospital
  • Baptist Memorial
  • Publications & Research

    Dr. Sills has contributed to 13 publications.
    Title A Prospective Evaluation and Literature Review of Levetiracetam Use in Patients with Brain Tumors and Seizures.
    Date December 2010
    Journal Journal of Neuro-oncology

    To determine the safety and tolerability of IV and oral levetiracetam monotherapy for seizures in brain tumor patients following resection. Brain tumor patients undergoing neurosurgery with >or=1 seizure within the preceding month prior to surgery were enrolled to receive intravenous levetiracetam for a minimum of 48 h, transitioned to oral levetiracetam at the same dose, and followed for 1-month after discharge. Patients were assessed daily in the hospital, provided with a seizure diary, and supplied with 30 days of levetiracetam upon discharge. Study patients were telephoned weekly to assess their cognitive status and seizure frequency. Of the 17 patients enrolled, the baseline seizure types were tonic clonic, partial, and complex partial with secondary generalization. The most common type of tumor was glioblastoma multiforme. Levetiracetam was well tolerated with no medication discontinuation during the study period. Adverse effects reported were somnolence, nausea/vomiting, headache, and insomnia. Eleven patients were evaluable for TICS scores (64.7%) with an average score of 33.3. Two patients were deemed to be cognitively impaired (18.2%). Eleven of twelve patients (91.7%) that completed the study period achieved a >or=50% reduction in their number of seizures. A total of 92 drug interactions were avoided (P = 0.0016) with dexamethasone, acetaminophen, and fentanyl being the most common. Levetiracetam monotherapy was found to be safe and tolerable in this patient population. Nearly all patients achieved a >or=50% reduction in seizure frequency post-op with levetiracetam monotherapy. Levetiracetam also has the potential for less drug interactions compared to phenytoin in these patients.

    Title Central Nervous System Cancers.
    Date July 2008
    Journal Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network : Jnccn
    Title Results of a Phase Ii Trial of the Gliasite Radiation Therapy System for the Treatment of Newly Diagnosed, Resected Single Brain Metastases.
    Date September 2006
    Journal Journal of Neurosurgery

    OBJECT: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of brachytherapy using the GliaSite Radiation Therapy System in patients with a newly diagnosed resected single brain metastasis. The primary end point of the study was local tumor control. The secondary end points included patient survival, distant brain recurrence, quality of life, and treatment toxicity. METHODS: The authors conducted a prospective multiinstitutional phase II study of GliaSite brachytherapy prescribed at a 60-Gy dose administered to a 1-cm depth after resection of a single brain metastasis. No whole-brain radiation therapy was given. Patients were assessed at 1 and 3 months after brachytherapy and every 3 months thereafter for up to 2 years. Seventy-one patients were enrolled at 13 centers. A GliaSite balloon catheter was implanted in 62 patients. Fifty-four patients received brachytherapy. The median patient age was 60 years. The most common tumor (54%) was non-small cell lung cancer. Fifty-seven percent of patients had brain metastasis only, whereas 43% had extracranial metastasis. The median final administered dose was 60 Gy. The magnetic resonance imaging--determined local control rate, based on several different methods, was 82 to 87%. Both the median patient survival time and the median duration of functional independence were 40 weeks. Among the 35 patients who died, the cause of death was neurological in 11%. Thirteen patients underwent reoperation for suspected tumor recurrence or radiation necrosis, and histological diagnoses included radiation necrosis without tumor (nine patients), radiation necrosis mixed with tumor (two patients), and tumor only (two patients). Extracranial metastasis, tumor size, and radiation necrosis were significant factors affecting patient survival. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with a resected single brain metastasis, GliaSite brachytherapy leads to a local control rate, median patient survival time, and duration of functional independence similar to those achieved with resection plus whole-brain radiation therapy.

    Title Neuroimaging of Metastatic Brain Disease.
    Date March 2006
    Journal Neurosurgery

    This review discusses imaging techniques for the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of brain metastases. It assesses the various modalities on the basis of their respective advantages and limitations. Recent advances in imaging technologies provide evaluation that is more accurate for tumor localization, morphology, physiology, and biology. When used in combination, these technologies provide clinicians with a powerful diagnostic and prognostic tool for managing metastatic brain disease.

    Title Current Treatment Approaches to Surgery for Brain Metastases.
    Date March 2006
    Journal Neurosurgery

    The role for surgical treatment of brain metastases continues to evolve. Data have demonstrated survival and quality-of-life benefits for surgical treatment of appropriate lesions in selected patients. With improvements in surgical technique, along with therapeutic improvements in the management of systemic cancers, more patients are now eligible for surgical resection. Selection of patients for surgical treatment depends on performance status, size, location, and number of brain lesions, as well as the status of systemic disease. Although surgery has traditionally been performed for patients with a single brain metastasis, an increasing number of patients with multiple brain metastases may also be treated surgically. Surgical techniques, such as image guidance, intraoperative ultrasound, functional neuronavigation, cortical mapping, and awake craniotomies, have expanded the scope of lesions that can be removed safely to optimize outcomes. Seizures, peritumoral edema, and venous thromboembolic disease all contribute significantly to surgical morbidity and mortality and thus require aggressive treatment around the time of the surgical procedure to improve the quality of life and maximize survival time.

    Title Central Nervous System Cancers: Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology.
    Date December 2005
    Journal Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network : Jnccn
    Title Therapeutic Strategies for Local Recurrent Malignant Glioma.
    Date April 2005
    Journal Current Treatment Options in Oncology

    Patients with local recurrent malignant gliomas present diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for the neuro-oncology practitioner. Management must be individualized depending on the patient's age, performance status, histology, response to initial therapy, type of recurrence (local vs diffuse), and time since original diagnosis. Treatment options may be classified into surgery, additional radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Results of treatment are often difficult to determine because of limitations of conventional imaging. Symptom palliation is an important goal that often requires additional adjuvant medical therapy. Quality of life issues are also of paramount importance in patients with recurrent malignant glioma and frequently will guide management strategy. Finally, patients with recurrent malignant gliomas should be encouraged to consider participation in a clinical trial in the hopes that better treatment alternatives will be available for this group of patients within the next few years.

    Title Intracranial Paracrine Interleukin-2 Therapy Stimulates Prolonged Antitumor Immunity That Extends Outside the Central Nervous System.
    Date December 2000
    Journal Journal of Immunotherapy (hagerstown, Md. : 1997)

    To explore the potential efficacy of local cytokine delivery against tumors in the central nervous system (CNS), C57BL6 mice were simultaneously given intracranial injections of tumor challenge and of irradiated B16F10 melanoma cells transduced to secrete interleukin-2 (IL-2). Intracranial IL-2 therapy generated antitumor responses capable of extending the survival of animals that received simultaneous intracranial tumor challenge either locally or at distant sites in the brain. Nontransduced melanoma cells had little effect. Animals that survived intracranial IL-2 therapy and tumor challenge showed prolonged survival compared with controls when challenged with a second tumor dose 70 days after initial treatment. In addition, animals that rejected intracranial tumors were also protected from tumor growth upon rechallenge at sites outside the CNS (i.e., subcutaneous tumor challenge). Conversely, identical or 10-fold larger doses of IL-2-transduced cells administered by subcutaneous injection failed to generate protection against intracranial tumor challenges. Elimination of T-cell and natural killer (NK) subsets using gene knockout mice and antibody-depletion techniques demonstrated that NK cells were most important for the initial antitumor response, whereas CD4+ T-cells were not necessary. These studies demonstrate that local IL-2 therapy in the brain not only generates an immediate local antitumor immune response, but also establishes long-term immunologic memory capable of eliminating subsequent tumor challenges within and outside of the CNS. Furthermore, the antitumor response to paracrine IL-2 in the brain differed significantly from that in the flank, suggesting that the intrinsic CNS cells involved in initiating immunity within the brain have different cytokine requirements from their peripheral counterparts.

    Title Intracranial Leiomyosarcoma in a Patient with Aids.
    Date May 1999
    Journal Neuroradiology

    We report an intracranial leiomyosarcoma in the pontine cistern of a 34-year-old woman infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The clinical, radiological and pathological data are reviewed. The tumor was Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) positive by in situ hybridization. This case emphasizes that smooth muscle neoplasms arising in the setting of immunocompromise can occur intracranially, and corroborates a hypothesis that EBV coinfection may have a role in development of these tumors.

    Title Squalamine Inhibits Angiogenesis and Solid Tumor Growth in Vivo and Perturbs Embryonic Vasculature.
    Date July 1998
    Journal Cancer Research

    The novel aminosterol, squalamine, inhibits angiogenesis and tumor growth in multiple animal models. This effect is mediated, at least in part, by blocking mitogen-induced proliferation and migration of endothelial cells, thus preventing neovascularization of the tumor. Squalamine has no observable effect on unstimulated endothelial cells, is not directly cytotoxic to tumor cells, does not alter mitogen production by tumor cells, and has no obvious effects on the growth of newborn vertebrates. Squalamine was also found to have remarkable effects on the primitive vascular bed of the chick chorioallantoic membrane, which has striking similarities to tumor capillaries. Squalamine may thus be well suited for treatment of tumors and other diseases characterized by neovascularization in humans.

    Title Endothelial Cell Expression of Intercellular Adhesion Molecule 1 in Experimental Posthemorrhagic Vasospasm.
    Date September 1997
    Journal Neurosurgery

    OBJECTIVE: The exposure of large intracranial arteries to blood after an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage leads to a cascade of morphological and physiological changes in the vessels, a condition generally described as vasospasm. This response to the periadventitial deposition of blood is mediated in part by the endothelial layer of the vessel. This study was undertaken to examine the role of endothelial cell expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) in the initiation and regulation of this response. METHODS: The femoral artery model of vasospasm was used in rats (65 animals, 130 arteries). In each rat, one artery was exposed to blood and the contralateral vessel was exposed to saline, so that each animal served as its own control. Animals were perfused and killed at sequential time points, from 1 hour to 20 days after blood exposure. The vessels were examined immunohistochemically and histologically for the presence of ICAM-1 and morphological features of vasospasm, respectively. RESULTS: Endothelial cell ICAM-1 immunoreactivity was extensively increased in only the blood-exposed vessels, beginning 3 hours after clot placement and persisting for 24 hours. ICAM-1 immunoreactivity returned to baseline by 48 hours after blood exposure. The influx of inflammatory cells correlated directly with the time and location of increased ICAM-1 expression. Peak arterial remodeling was observed on the blood-exposed side 8 to 12 days after clot placement, as quantified by measurements of increased wall thickness, decreased lumen size, and increased collagen content. CONCLUSION: Endothelial cell ICAM-1 expression seems to be an early and specific signal used by a vessel in response to the deposition of blood periadventitially. This molecule may be a marker for vessels likely to undergo subsequent morphological remodeling and vasospasm.

    Title Lumbar Stenosis with Osteoporotic Compression Fracture and Neurogenic Claudication.
    Date September 1993
    Journal Journal of Spinal Disorders
    Title Interstitial Delivery of Dexamethasone in the Brain for the Reduction of Peritumoral Edema.
    Date June 1991
    Journal Journal of Neurosurgery

    Controlled-release polymers have facilitated the interstitial delivery of drugs within the central nervous system. In the present study, dexamethasone was incorporated into ethylene-vinyl acetate polymers, which were then implanted adjacent to a 9L gliosarcoma in the brain of Fischer 344 rats. The effect of interstitial delivery of dexamethasone on peritumoral edema was assessed and compared to the effect of dexamethasone delivered systemically. Eighty-five rats underwent intracranial implantation of the 9L gliosarcoma. Five days later, the animals were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups: Group 1 received intracranial implantation of controlled-release polymers containing dexamethasone; Group 2 received intraperitoneal implantation of controlled-release polymers containing dexamethasone; Group 3 received serial intraperitoneal injections of dexamethasone; and Group 4 received sham treatment. The animals were sacrificed 3 days after initiation of therapy and their brains were removed for measurement of the water content (edema) in the tumor-bearing and contralateral hemispheres. Brain and plasma samples were analyzed by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography to determine the tissue and plasma concentrations of dexamethasone. Measurement of the release kinetics of dexamethasone from the ethylene-vinyl acetate polymers in an in vitro system showed that the drug was released in a controlled, tapering fashion. During the first 3 days of controlled release in vitro, 330 micrograms of a total content of 7.5 mg of dexamethasone was released into the medium. Analysis of tissue for drug levels demonstrated, however, that the interstitial delivery of this fractional amount of dexamethasone within the brain resulted in levels 19 times higher than those achieved by administering the full dose of 7.5 mg systemically over a 3-day period. Conversely, the systemic administration of dexamethasone resulted in plasma levels 16 times higher than those measured in the interstitial delivery of dexamethasone in the brain. Brain-water content determinations showed that the interstitial controlled release of the fractional amount of dexamethasone within the brain was as effective in controlling peritumoral edema as systemic administration of the full dose by serial intraperitoneal injections. The study demonstrates the following: 1) controlled-release polymeric carriers deliver biologically active dexamethasone in a sustained fashion; 2) very high concentrations of dexamethasone in brain tissue can be achieved using interstitial polymer-mediated drug delivery while minimizing plasma concentrations of this drug which are sometimes associated with serious systemic side effects; and 3) peritumoral brain edema can be effectively treated by the interstitial delivery of dexamethasone directly within the tumor bed.

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