The treatment of malignant brain tumors is hampered by the presence of the blood-brain barrier, which limits chemotherapy penetration to the central nervous system (CNS). In recent years, different strategies have been designed to circumvent this physiologic barrier. The osmotic blood-brain barrier disruption (BBBD) procedure is one such strategy, and has been studied extensively in preclinical and clinical studies. The authors detail their experience so far with the procedure in the context of an open Phase II study in the treatment of malignant brain tumors.
Patients with histologically proven malignant gliomas, primitive neuroectodermal tumors, primary CNS lymphomas, and metastatic disease to the brain were eligible. Patients enrolled were treated every 4 weeks (1 cycle) for ≤ 12 cycles. A methotrexate-based regimen was offered to patients with lymphomas, whereas a carboplatin-based regimen was offered to patients with all other histologies. Before intraarterial chemotherapy infusion, patients were submitted to an osmotic BBBD procedure.
Seventy-two patients were included in the current report. The overall median survival times (MST) from treatment initiation for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), anaplastic oligodendrogliomas, primary CNS lymphomas, and metastases were, respectively, 9.1, 13.9, not reached, and 9.9 months, whereas time to disease progression was 4.1, 9.2, 12.3, and 3.3 months. The MST from diagnosis was 32.2 months for GBM.
These encouraging results prompted the authors to further refine their knowledge of the potential contribution of this procedure in the treatment of brain tumors. These authors designed a randomized Phase III study for patients with GBM that is now open. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.