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John D. Heiss, Aria Jamshidi, Smit Shah, Staci Martin, Pamela L. Wolters, Davis P. Argersinger, Katherine E. Warren, and Russell R. Lonser

OBJECTIVE

In this clinical trial report, the authors analyze safety and infusion distribution of IL13-Pseudomonas exotoxin, an antitumor chimeric molecule, administered via intratumoral convection enhanced delivery (CED) in pediatric patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).

METHODS

This was a Phase I single-institution, open-label, dose-escalation, safety and tolerability study of IL13-PE38QQR infused via single-catheter CED into 5 pediatric DIPG patients. IL13-PE38QQR was administered to regions of tumor selected by radiographic findings. Two escalating dose levels were evaluated: 0.125 µg/mL in cohort 1 and 0.25 µg/mL in cohort 2. Real-time MRI was performed during intratumoral infusions, and MRI and MR spectroscopy were performed before and after the infusions. Clinical evaluations, including parent-reported quality of life (QOL), were assessed at baseline and 4 weeks post-infusion.

RESULTS

Direct infusion of brainstem tumor with IL13-PE using the CED technique in patients with DIPG produced temporary arrest of disease progression in 2 of 5 patients, both of whom subsequently received a second infusion. All 5 patients showed signs of disease progression by 12 weeks after initial infusion. Two patients experienced transient cranial nerve deficits and lethargy after infusion, and these deficits resolved with corticosteroid treatment in both cases. No patient had radiographic evidence of acute or long-term treatment toxicity. Parent-reported QOL was consistent with medical outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Even though IL13-PE delivered by CED did not reach the entire MRI-defined tumor volume in any patient, short-term radiographic antitumor effects were observed in 2 of the 5 patients treated. The patients’ performance status did not improve. Drug delivery using multiple catheters may produce improved outcomes.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00088061 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Prashant Chittiboina, John D. Heiss, and Russell R. Lonser

An intraoperative MRI (iMRI)–compatible system has been developed for direct placement of convection-enhanced delivery (CED) cannulae using real-time imaging. To establish the precision and feasibility of this technology, the authors analyzed findings in patients who underwent direct iMRI CED cannula placement.

Three consecutive patients underwent iMRI-guided placement of CED infusion cannulae (6 cannulae) for treatment of diffuse intrinsic brainstem glioma (2 patients) or Parkinson's disease (1 patient). Convective infusion cannulae were guided to the target using the ClearPoint iMRI-based navigation platform (MRI Interventions, Inc.). Placement accuracy was analyzed.

Real-time iMRI during infusion cannula insertion allowed for monitoring of trajectory accuracy during placement. During cannula insertion, no reinsertions or changes due to errors in targeting were necessary. The mean radial error was 1.0 ± 0.5 mm (± SD). There was no correlation between the total length of the planned trajectory and the radial error (Pearson's coefficient: −0.40; p = 0.5). The mean anteroposterior and lateral errors were 0.9 ± 0.5 and 0.3 ± 0.2 mm, respectively. The mean in-plane distance error was 1.0 ± 0.4 mm. The mean tip error (scalar distance between the planned target and actual tip) was 1.9 ± 0.9 mm. There was no correlation between the length of the planned trajectory and any of the measured errors. No complications were associated with cannula placement.

Real-time iMRI-based targeting and monitoring of infusion cannula placement is a safe, effective, and accurate technique that should enable more selective perfusion of brain regions.

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Prashant Chittiboina, John D. Heiss, Katherine E. Warren, and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Coinfused surrogate imaging tracers can provide direct insight into the properties of convection-enhanced delivery (CED) in the nervous system. To better understand the distributive properties of CED in a clinical circumstance, the authors analyzed the imaging findings in pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) patients undergoing coinfusion of Gd-DTPA and interleukin-13–Pseudomonas exotoxin (IL13-PE).

Methods

Consecutive patients undergoing CED (maximal rates of 5 or 10 μl/minute) of Gd-DTPA (1 or 5 mM) and IL13-PE (0.125 μg/ml or 0.25 μg/ml) for DIPG were included. Real-time MRI was performed during infusions, and imaging results were analyzed.

Results

Four patients (2 males, 2 females; mean age at initial infusion 13.0 ± 5.3 years; range 5–17 years) underwent 5 infusions into DIPGs. Brainstem infusions were clearly identified on T1-weighted MR images at 1-mM (1 infusion) and 5-mM (4 infusions) coinfused Gd-DTPA concentrations. While the volume of distribution (Vd) increased progressively with volume of infusion (Vi) (mean volume 2.5 ± 0.9 ml; range 1.1–3.7 ml), final Vd:Vi ratios were significantly reduced with lower Gd-DTPA concentration (Vd:Vi for 1 mM of 1.6 compared with a mean Vd:Vi ratio for 5 mM of 3.3 ± 1.0) (p = 0.04). Similarly, anatomical distribution patterns were affected by preferential flow along parallel axial fiber tracts, into prior infusion cannula tracts and intraparenchymal air pockets, and leak back around the infusion cannula at the highest rate of infusion.

Conclusions

Magnetic resonance imaging of a coinfused Gd-DTPA surrogate tracer provided direct insight into the properties of CED in a clinical application. While clinically relevant Vds can be achieved by convective delivery, specific tissue properties can affect distribution volume and pattern, including Gd-DTPA concentration, preferential flow patterns, and infusion rate. Understanding of these properties of CED can enhance its clinical application. Part of clinical trial no. NCT00880061 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

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Alexander Ksendzovsky, Stuart Walbridge, Richard C. Saunders, Ashok R. Asthagiri, John D. Heiss, and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Recent studies indicate that M13 bacteriophage, a very large nanoparticle, binds to β-amyloid and α-synuclein proteins, leading to plaque disaggregation in models of Alzheimer and Parkinson disease. To determine the feasibility, safety, and characteristics of convection-enhanced delivery (CED) of M13 bacteriophage to the brain, the authors perfused primate brains with bacteriophage.

Methods

Four nonhuman primates underwent CED of M13 bacteriophage (900 nm) to thalamic gray matter (4 infusions) and frontal white matter (3 infusions). Bacteriophage was coinfused with Gd-DTPA (1 mM), and serial MRI studies were performed during infusion. Animals were monitored for neurological deficits and were killed 3 days after infusion. Tissues were analyzed for bacteriophage distribution.

Results

Real-time T1-weighted MRI studies of coinfused Gd-DTPA during infusion demonstrated a discrete region of perfusion in both thalamic gray and frontal white matter. An MRI-volumetric analysis revealed that the mean volume of distribution (Vd) to volume of infusion (Vi) ratio of M13 bacteriophage was 2.3 ± 0.2 in gray matter and 1.9 ± 0.3 in white matter. The mean values are expressed ± SD. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated mean Vd:Vi ratios of 2.9 ± 0.2 in gray matter and 2.1 ± 0.3 in white matter. The Gd-DTPA accurately tracked M13 bacteriophage distribution (the mean difference between imaging and actual bacteriophage Vd was insignificant [p > 0.05], and was –2.2% ± 9.9% in thalamic gray matter and 9.1% ± 9.5% in frontal white matter). Immunohistochemical analysis revealed evidence of additional spread from the initial delivery site in white matter (mean Vd:Vi, 16.1 ± 9.1). All animals remained neurologically intact after infusion during the observation period, and histological studies revealed no evidence of toxicity.

Conclusions

The CED method can be used successfully and safely to distribute M13 bacteriophage in the brain. Furthermore, additional white matter spread after infusion cessation enhances distribution of this large nanoparticle. Real-time MRI studies of coinfused Gd-DTPA (1 mM) can be used for accurate tracking of distribution during infusion of M13 bacteriophage.

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J. Bradley Elder and E. Antonio Chiocca

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Editorial

Convection-enhanced delivery

John H. Sampson, Raghu Raghavan, Martin Brady, Allan H. Friedman, and Darell Bigner

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Ashok R. Asthagiri, Stuart Walbridge, John D. Heiss, and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Accurate real-time imaging of coinfused surrogate tracers can be used to determine the convective distribution of therapeutic agents. To assess the effect that a concentration of a Gd-based surrogate tracer has on the accuracy of determining the convective distribution, the authors infused different concentrations of Gd-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA) in primates during MR imaging.

Methods

Five nonhuman primates underwent convective infusion (1 or 5 mM, 21–65 μl) of Gd-DTPA alone, Gd-DTPA and 14C-sucrose, or Gd-DTPA and 14C-dextran into the bilateral striata. Animals underwent real-time MR imaging during infusion (5 animals) and autoradiographic analysis (2 animals).

Results

Gadolinium-DTPA could be seen filling the striata at either concentration (1 or 5 mM) on real-time MR imaging. While the volume of distribution (Vd) increased linearly with the volume of infusion (Vi) for both concentrations of tracer (1 mM: R2 = 0.83; 5 mM: R2 = 0.96), the Vd/Vi ratio was significantly (p < 0.0001) less for the 1-mM (2.3 ± 1.0) as compared with the 5-mM (7.4 ± 1.9) concentration. Autoradiographic and MR volumetric analysis revealed that the 5-mM concentration most accurately estimated the Vd for both small (sucrose [359 D], 12% difference between imaging and autoradiographic distribution) and large (dextran [70 kD], 0.2% difference) molecules compared with the 1-mM concentration (sucrose, 65% difference; dextran, 68% difference).

Conclusions

The concentration of infused Gd-DTPA plays a critical role in accurately assessing the distribution of molecules delivered by CED. A 5-mM concentration of Gd-DTPA most accurately estimated the Vd over a wide range of molecular sizes.

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Rajiv R. Iyer, John A. Butman, Stuart Walbridge, Neville D. Gai, John D. Heiss, and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Because convection-enhanced delivery relies on bulk flow of fluid in the interstitial spaces, MR imaging techniques that detect extracellular fluid and fluid movement may be useful for tracking convective drug distribution. To determine the tracking accuracy of T2-weighted and diffusion-weighted MR imaging sequences, the authors followed convective distribution of radiolabeled compounds using these imaging sequences in nonhuman primates.

Methods

Three nonhuman primates underwent thalamic convective infusions (5 infusions) with 14C-sucrose (MW 342 D) or 14C-dextran (MW 70,000 D) during serial MR imaging (T2- and diffusion-weighted imaging). Imaging, histological, and autoradiographic findings were analyzed.

Results

Real-time T2- and diffusion-weighted imaging clearly demonstrated the region of infusion, and serial images revealed progressive filling of the bilateral thalami during infusion. Imaging analysis for T2- and diffusion-weighted sequences revealed that the tissue volume of distribution (Vd) increased linearly with volume of infusion (Vi; R2 = 0.94, R2 = 0.91). Magnetic resonance imaging analysis demonstrated that the mean ± SD Vd/Vi ratios for T2-weighted (3.6 ± 0.5) and diffusion-weighted (3.3 ± 0.4) imaging were similar (p = 0.5). While 14C-sucrose and 14C-dextran were homogeneously distributed over the infused region, autoradiographic analysis revealed that T2-weighted and diffusion-weighted imaging significantly underestimated the Vd of both 14C-sucrose (mean differences 51.3% and 52.3%, respectively; p = 0.02) and 14C-dextran (mean differences 49.3% and 59.6%; respectively, p = 0.001).

Conclusions

Real-time T2- and diffusion-weighted MR imaging significantly underestimate tissue Vd during convection-enhanced delivery over a wide range of molecular sizes. Application of these imaging modalities may lead to inaccurate estimation of convective drug distribution.

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Russell R. Lonser, Debbie K. Song, Jacob Klapper, Marygrace Hagan, Sungyoung Auh, P. Benjamin Kerr, Deborah E. Citrin, John D. Heiss, Kevin Camphausen, and Steven A. Rosenberg

Object

Despite the increasing use of immunotherapy in the treatment of metastatic melanoma, the effects of this therapy on the management of patients with associated brain metastases are not completely defined. The authors undertook this study to determine the effectiveness of resection and the effects of immunotherapy on brain metastasis management.

Methods

The authors analyzed data pertaining to consecutive patients with metastatic melanoma treated with immunotherapy within 3 months of discovery of brain metastases that were surgically resected.

Results

Forty-one patients (median age 44.4 years, range 19.2–63.1 years) underwent resection of 53 brain metastases (median number of metastases 1, range 1–4). The median metastasis volume was 2.5 cm3. Fifteen patients underwent whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) and 26 patients did not. Duration of survival from brain metastasis diagnosis was not significantly different between patients who received WBRT (mean 24.9 months) and those who did not (mean 23.3 months) (p > 0.05). Local and distant brain recurrence rates were not statistically different between the WBRT (7.1% and 28.6%, respectively) and non-WBRT (7.7% and 41.0%) groups for the duration of follow-up (p > 0.05). An objective systemic response to immunotherapy was associated with increased duration of survival (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

Resection of melanoma brain metastases in patients treated with immunotherapy provides excellent local control with low morbidity. An objective response to systemic immunotherapy is associated with a prolonged survival in patients who have undergone resection of melanoma brain metastases. Moreover, adjuvant WBRT in melanoma immunotherapy patients with limited metastatic disease to the brain does not appear to provide a significant survival benefit.

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John D. Heiss, Stuart Walbridge, Ashok R. Asthagiri, and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Muscimol is a potent γ-aminobutyric acid-A receptor agonist that temporarily and selectively suppresses neurons. Targeted muscimol suppression of neuronal structures could provide insight into the pathophysiological processes and treatment of a variety of neurological disorders. To determine if muscimol delivered to the brain by convection-enhanced delivery could be monitored using a coinfused surrogate MR imaging tracer, the authors perfused the striata of primates with tritiated muscimol and Gd–diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA).

Methods

Three primates underwent convective coinfusion of 3H-muscimol (0.8 μM) and Gd-DTPA (5 mM) into the bilateral striata. Primates underwent serial MR imaging during infusion, and the animals were killed immediately after infusion. Postmortem quantitative autoradiography and histological analysis was performed.

Results

Real-time MR imaging revealed that infusate (tritiated muscimol and Gd-DTPA) distribution was clearly discernible from the noninfused parenchyma. Real-time MR imaging of the infusion revealed the precise region of anatomical perfusion in each animal. Imaging analysis during infusion revealed that the distribution volume (Vd) of infusate linearly increased (R = 0.92) with volume of infusion (Vi). Overall, the mean (± SD) Vd/Vi ratio was 8.2 ± 1.3. Autoradiographic analysis revealed that MR imaging of Gd-DTPA closely correlated with the distribution of 3H-muscimol, and precisely estimated its Vd (mean difference in Vd, 7.4%). Quantitative autoradiograms revealed that muscimol was homogeneously distributed over the perfused region in a square-shaped concentration profile.

Conclusions

Muscimol can be effectively delivered to clinically relevant volumes of the primate brain. Moreover, the distribution of muscimol can be tracked using coinfusion of Gd-DTPA and MR imaging. The ability to perform accurate monitoring and to control the anatomical extent of muscimol distribution during its convection-enhanced delivery will enhance safety, permit correlations of muscimol distribution with clinical effect, and should lead to an improved understanding of the pathophysiological processes underlying a variety of neurological disorders.