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Friedrich-Wilhelm Kreth, Niklas Thon and Jörg-Christian Tonn

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Vanja Varenika, Peter Dickinson, John Bringas, Richard LeCouteur, Robert Higgins, John Park, Massimo Fiandaca, Mitchel Berger, John Sampson and Krystof Bankiewicz


The authors have shown that convection-enhanced delivery (CED) of gadoteridol-loaded liposomes (GDLs) into different regions of normal monkey brain results in predictable, widespread distribution of this tracking agent as detected by real-time MR imaging. They also have found that this tracking technique allows monitoring of the distribution of similar nanosized agents such as therapeutic liposomes and viral vectors. A limitation of this procedure is the unexpected leakage of liposomes out of targeted parenchyma or malignancies into sulci and ventricles. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of CED after the onset of these types of leakage.


The authors documented this phenomenon in a study of 5 nonhuman primates and 7 canines, comprising 54 CED infusion sessions. Approximately 20% of these infusions resulted in leakage into cerebral ventricles or sulci. All of the infusions and leakage events were monitored with real-time MR imaging. The authors created volume-distributed versus volume-infused graphs for each infusion session. These graphs revealed the rate of distribution of GDL over the course of each infusion and allowed the authors to evaluate the progress of CED before and after leakage.


The distribution of therapeutics within the target structure ceased to increase or resulted in significant attenuation after the onset of leakage.


An analysis of the cases in this study revealed that leakage undermines the efficacy of CED. These findings reiterate the importance of real-time MR imaging visualization during CED to ensure an accurate, robust distribution of therapeutic agents.

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Ian F. Parney, Sandeep Kunwar, Michael McDermott, Mitchel Berger, Michael Prados, Soonmee Cha, David Croteau, Raj K. Puri and Susan M. Chang

Object. Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is a novel method for delivering therapeutic agents to infiltrative brain tumor cells. For agents administered by CED, changes on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging directly resulting from catheter placement, infusion, and the therapeutic compound may confound any interpretation of tumor progression. As part of an ongoing multiinstitutional Phase I study, 14 patients with recurrent malignant glioma underwent CED of interleukin (IL) 13—PE38QQR, a recombinant cytotoxin consisting of human IL-13 conjugated with a truncated Pseudomonas exotoxin. Serial neuroradiographic changes were assessed in this cohort of patients.

Methods. Patients were treated in two groups: Group 1 patients received IL13—PE38QQR before and after tumor resection; Group 2 patients received infusion only after tumor resection. Preoperative and postinfusion MR images were obtained prospectively at specified regular intervals. Changes were noted along catheter tracks on postresection MR images obtained in all patients. A simple grading system was developed to describe these changes. When MR imaging changes appeared to be related to IL13—PE38QQR, patients were followed up without instituting new antitumor therapy.

Conclusions. As CED of therapeutic agents becomes more common, clinicians and investigators must become aware of associated neuroimaging changes that should be incorporated into toxicity assessment. We have developed a simple grading system to facilitate communication about these changes among investigators. Biological imaging modalities that could possibly distinguish these changes from recurrent tumor should be evaluated. In this study the authors demonstrate the challenges in determining efficacy when surrogate end points such as time to tumor progression as defined by new or progressive contrast enhancement on MR imaging are used with this treatment modality.

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Susan M. Chang, Ian F. Parney, Michael Mcdermott, Fred G. Barker II, Meic H. Schmidt, Wei Huang, Edward R. Laws Jr., Kevin O. Lillehei, Mark Bernstein, Henry Brem, Andrew E. Sloan, Mitchel Berger and the Glioma Outcomes Investigators

Object. In many new clinical trials of patients with malignant gliomas surgical intervention is incorporated as an integral part of tumor-directed interstitial therapies such as gene therapy, biodegradable wafer placement, and immunotherapy. Assessment of toxicity is a major component of evaluating these novel therapeutic interventions, but this must be done in light of known complication rates of craniotomy for tumor resection. Factors predicting neurological outcome would also be helpful for patient selection for surgically based clinical trials.

Methods. The Glioma Outcome Project is a prospectively compiled database containing information on 788 patients with malignant gliomas that captured clinical practice patterns and patient outcomes. Patients in this series who underwent their first or second craniotomy were analyzed separately for presenting symptoms, tumor and patient characteristics, and perioperative complications. Preoperative and intraoperative factors possibly related to neurological outcome were evaluated.

There were 408 patients who underwent first craniotomies (C1 group) and 91 patients who underwent second ones (C2 group). Both groups had similar patient and tumor characteristics except for their median age (55 years in the C1 group compared with 50 years in the C2 group; p = 0.006). Headache was more common at presentation in the C1 group, whereas papilledema and an altered level of consciousness were more common at presentation in patients undergoing second surgeries. Perioperative complications occurred in 24% of patients in the C1 group and 33% of patients in the C2 group (p = 0.1). Most patients were the same or better neurologically after surgery, but more patients in the C2 group (18%) displayed a worsened neurological status than those in the C1 group (8%; p = 0.007). The Karnofsky Performance Scale score and, in patients in the C2 group, tumor size were important neurological outcome predictors. Regional complications occurred at similar rates in both groups. Systemic infections occurred more frequently in the C2 group (4.4 compared with 0%; p < 0.0001) as did depression (20 compared with 11%; p = 0.02). The perioperative mortality rate was 1.5% for the C1 group and 2.2% for the C2 group (p = not significant). The median length of the hospital stay was 4 days in each group.

Conclusions. Perioperative complications occur slightly more often following a second craniotomy for malignant glioma than after the first craniotomy. This should be considered when evaluating toxicities from intraoperative local therapies requiring craniotomy. Nevertheless, most patients are neurologically stable or improved after either their first or second craniotomy. This data set may serve as a benchmark for neurosurgeons and others in a discussion of operative risks in patients with malignant gliomas.

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Stem cell studies of human malignant brain tumors

Part 2: Proliferation kinetics of brain-tumor cells in vitro in early-passage cultures

Bertrand Pertuiset, Dolores Dougherty, Carlos Cromeyer, Takao Hoshino, Mitchel Berger and Mark L. Rosenblum

✓ The proliferation kinetics were studied in early-passage cultures of cells from 13 human malignant brain tumors and two specimens of normal brain under conditions similar to those used in clonogenic cell-survival studies. Autoradiography was performed in all but four cases to estimate the fraction of cells actively replicating deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the approximate cell cycle time, and the effect of low-dose tritiated thymidine on cell proliferation. The mean tumor cell doubling time (TD) was 53 hours for five glioblastomas, 46 hours for two ependymomas, and 83 hours for two medulloblastomas. A gliosarcoma grew fastest (TD = 22 hours) in culture and a pilocytic astrocytoma grew slowest (TD = 144 hours). The approximate cell cycle time ranged from 1 to 2.5 days for all tumors tested. This suggests that chemotherapeutic agents that predominantly kill proliferating cells should be administered in vitro for at least 2 to 2.5 days to achieve maximum cell kill.

The approximate growth fraction ranged from 0.65 to 0.96 for all tumors except for the two medulloblastomas and the pilocytic astrocytoma, which had growth fractions of 0.34 and 0.35, respectively. Most laboratories investigating the chemosensitivity of primary or early-passage human tumor cells require that 40% to 70% of cells be killed to consider a drug active in vitro. The results of this study suggest that the cell-cycle-specific agents cannot achieve a high enough cell kill to be considered active for some tumors that grow slowly in culture. An estimate of the in vitro growth rate is necessary to reliably interpret cell-survival results with such agents.

Tritiated thymidine appeared to slow cell proliferation in some of the cultures, presumably as a result of radiation-induced DNA damage caused by tritium that had been incorporated into DNA. The degree to which cell growth was slowed in individual tumors correlated with the patient's clinical response to radiation therapy and postoperative survival time.