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Bernhard Zünkeler, Richard E. Carson, Jeff Olson, Ronald G. Blasberg, Hetty Devroom, Robert J. Lutz, Stephen C. Saris, Donald C. Wright, William Kammerer, Nicholas J. Patronas, Robert L. Dedrick, Peter Herscovitch and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ Hyperosmolar blood-brain barrier disruption (HBBBD), produced by infusion of mannitol into the cerebral arteries, has been used in the treatment of brain tumors to increase drug delivery to tumor and adjacent brain. However, the efficacy of HBBBD in brain tumor therapy has been controversial. The goal of this study was to measure changes in vascular permeability after HBBBD in patients with malignant brain tumors. The permeability (K1) of tumor and normal brain blood vessels was measured using rubidium-82 and positron emission tomography before and repeatedly at 8- to 15-minute intervals after HBBBD. Eighteen studies were performed in 13 patients, eight with glioblastoma multiforme and five with anaplastic astrocytoma.

The HBBBD increased K1 in all patients. Baseline K1 values were 2.1 ± 1.4 and 34.1 ± 22.1 µl/minute/ml (± standard deviation) for brain and tumor, respectively. The peak absolute increases in K1 following HBBBD were 20.8 ± 11.7 and 19.7 ± 10.7 µl/minute/ml for brain and tumor, corresponding to percentage increases of approximately 1000% in brain and approximately 60% in tumor. The halftimes for return of K1 to near baseline for brain and tumor were 8.1 ± 3.8 and 4.2 ± 1.2 minutes, respectively. Simulations of the effects of HBBBD made using a very simple model with intraarterial methotrexate, which is exemplary of drugs with low permeability, indicate that 1) total exposure of the brain and tumor to methotrexate, as measured by the methotrexate concentration-time integral (or area under the curve), would increase with decreasing infusion duration and would be enhanced by 130% to 200% and by 7% to 16%, respectively, compared to intraarterial infusion of methotrexate alone; and 2) exposure time at concentrations above 1 µM, the minimal concentration required for the effects of methotrexate, would not be enhanced in tumor and would be enhanced by only 10% in brain.

Hyperosmolar blood-brain barrier disruption transiently increases delivery of water-soluble compounds to normal brain and brain tumors. Most of the enhancement of exposure results from trapping the drug within the blood-brain barrier, an effect of the very transient alteration of the blood-brain barrier by HBBBD. Delivery is most effective when a drug is administered within 5 to 10 minutes after disruption. However, the increased exposure and exposure time that occur with methotrexate, the permeability of which is among the lowest of the agents currently used clinically, are limited and the disproportionate increase in brain exposure, compared to tumor exposure, may alter the therapeutic index of many drugs.

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Intravascular streaming during carotid artery infusions

Demonstration in humans and reduction using diastole-phased pulsatile administration

Stephen C. Saris, Ronald G. Blasberg, Richard E. Carson, Hetty L. deVroom, Robert Lutz, Robert L. Dedrick, Karen Pettigrew, Richard Chang, John Doppman, Donald C. Wright, Peter Herscovitch and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ Intra-arterial carotid artery chemotherapy for malignant gliomas is limited by focal injuries to the eye and brain which may be caused by poor mixing of the drug with blood at the infusion site. This inadequate mixing can be eliminated in animal models with diastole-phased pulsatile infusion (DPPI) which creates 1-ml/sec spurts during the slow blood flow phase of diastole. Before treatment with intracarotid cisplatin, 10 patients with malignant gliomas were studied to determine whether intravascular streaming occurs after intracarotid infusion in humans, and if so, if it is reduced with DPPI. Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) studies were performed by intravenous injection of H2 15O and positron emission tomography. This was followed by supraor infraophthalmic internal carotid artery (ICA) injections of H2 15O with either continuous infusion or DPPI. Local H2 15O concentration in the brain was determined and the images of radiotracer distribution in the continuous infusion and DPPI studies were compared to the rCBF images. Intravascular streaming of the infusate was identified by a heterogeneous distribution of the infused H2 15O in brain compared to rCBF.

Extensive and variable intravascular streaming occurred in three patients who received infusions into the supraophthalmic segment of the ICA. Some brain areas received up to 11 times the expected radiotracer delivery, while other regions received as little as one-tenth. This streaming pattern was markedly reduced or eliminated by DPPI. In the five patients who received infraophthalmic infusions, a minimally heterogeneous distribution of the infusate was detected. The authors conclude that extensive intravascular streaming accompanies supraophthalmic ICA infusions in patients. The magnitude of streaming can be substantially reduced or eliminated with DPPI. Those who perform intra-arterial infusion should consider using DPPI to assure uniform drug delivery to brain.

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J. Bob Blacklock, Edward H. Oldfield, Giovanni Di Chiro, Dung Tran, William Theodore, Donald C. Wright and Steven M. Larson

✓ Glucose utilization by normal and neoplastic cerebral tissue can be measured in humans using positron emission tomography (PET) with fluorine-18-labeled 2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG). Malignant gliomas are known to exhibit hypermetabolic glucose consumption compared to normal brain. Barbiturate-sensitive cerebral glucose utilization is coupled to neuronal activity, and lesions lacking neuronal activity should be relatively insensitive to barbiturate suppression of glucose utilization. In a study to examine this phenomenon, three patients with cerebral gliomas underwent FDG-PET while awake and during deep barbiturate coma. Cerebral glucose utilization was measured in normal brain, tumor, and a homologous, non-neoplastic control site in the contralateral hemisphere. A glucose utilization ratio for tumor/control tissue was calculated.

The mean reduction of glucose utilization during barbiturate coma was: gray matter 67%, white matter 47%, basal ganglia 66%, thalamus 57%, cerebellar cortex 55%, tumor 32%, and the contralateral control site 64%. The mean tumor glucose utilization ratio was 1.48:1 in the awake state and 2.69:1 during barbiturate coma. The changes in gray matter, basal ganglia, thalamus, cerebellar cortex, and tumor/control tissue ratio were significant (p < 0.05). In one patient, deep tumor invasion not evident on computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or baseline FDG-PET was apparent during barbiturate-enhanced FDG-PET scanning.

The study findings suggest that gliomas resist suppression of glucose utilization by barbiturates; this supports the hypothesis that barbiturates reduce neuronal metabolism by blocking synaptic activity. This differential effect on normal brain and gliomas enhances the capability to assess the extent of neoplastic tissue in brain and may represent the basis for novel therapeutic strategies.

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J. Bob Blacklock, Donald C. Wright, Robert L. Dedrick, Ronald G. Blasberg, Robert J. Lutz, John L. Doppman and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ Treatment of brain tumors by intra-arterial (IA) chemotherapy is occasionally complicated by sites of focal toxicity in the brain and retina. A possible cause of focal toxicity is non-uniform drug delivery due to intravascular drug streaming. To investigate this phenomenon in vivo, the authors examined the distribution of drug delivery after internal carotid artery (ICA) infusion in rhesus monkeys. Carbon-14 (14C)-labeled iodoantipyrine was delivered into the ICA of eight monkeys at slow infusion rates (1% to 2% of ICA flow) or at fast infusion rates (20% of ICA flow) combined with additional techniques to promote mixing with ICA blood. Two monkeys received intravenous (IV) 14C-antipyrine. Uniformity of delivery was assessed by comparing high-to-low ratios of isotope concentration in four brain regions evaluated by quantitative autoradiography.

There was striking non-uniformity of drug delivery in the slow IA infusion group, with as much as 13-fold differences in drug concentration in anatomically contiguous areas. The values of high-to-low concentration ratios (mean ± standard deviation) in individual autoradiographic planes were: 1) frontoparietal cortex: slow IA infusion 4.54 ± 2.07, fast IA infusion 1.71 ± 0.31, IV infusion 1.30 ± 0.174; 2) frontoparietal white matter: slow IA infusion 2.94 ± 1.45, fast IA infusion 1.59 ± 0.41, IV infusion 1.34 ± 0.21; 3) temporal cortex: slow IA infusion 5.43 ± 3.57, fast IA infusion 1.69 ± 0.24, IV infusion 1.67 ± 0.25; 4) basal ganglia: slow IA infusion 3.6 ± 2.9, fast IA infusion 1.18 ± 0.10, IV infusion 1.09 ± 0.04. Differences between concentration ratios after slow IA and fast IA infusion are significant (p < 0.01); those between fast IA and IV infusion are not significant.

Intra-arterial drug administration at infusion rates analogous to those currently used clinically results in drug streaming with markedly heterogeneous drug deposition in the perfused hemisphere. This may cause suboptimal drug levels in the tumor, and toxic levels at sites within the perfused hemisphere. This effect can be abrogated by techniques that eliminate drug streaming.