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Marc C. Chamberlain

✓ Malignant meningiomas constitute 10% to 15% of all meningiomas and limited information exists regarding adjuvant treatment of these aggressive primary brain tumors. Fourteen patients (eight men, six women), ranging in age from 28 to 61 years (median 51 years), were prospectively treated for primary malignant meningiomas according to an institutional protocol. All patients underwent surgery (gross-total in four and subtotal resection in 10 patients) followed in 2 to 4 weeks by involved-field radiotherapy (range 59–60 Gy, median dose 60 Gy). Two to 4 weeks after radiotherapy all patients were treated with adjuvant chemotherapy that included cyclophosphamide, adriamycin, and vincristine (CAV). Patients who underwent gross-total resection received three cycles, whereas those with subtotal resection received six cycles of CAV.

Four patients required CAV dose reduction due to myelosuppression, and in three patients, myelosuppression prevented administration of the planned course of CAV. Four patients required transfusions (four received red blood cells, three received platelets), and two developed neutropenic fever without bacteriological documentation. Neuroradiographic response included three partial responses and 11 with stable disease. The median time to tumor progression was 4.6 years (range 2.2–7.1 years) and median survival was 5.3 years (range 2.6–7.6 years). The author concludes that combined modality therapy for the treatment of malignant meningiomas is associated with acceptable toxicity and a modest improvement in survival when compared to patients treated with surgery alone.

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Marc C. Chamberlain

✓ Following the seminal trial conducted by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC), concurrent temozolomide and radiotherapy has become the new standard of care for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Investigation of emerging therapies (which are now used as salvage therapy) such as small-molecule inhibitors (for example, epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors) and convection-enhanced delivery (CED) of targeted toxins (for example, interleukin-13/pseudo-monas exotoxin) is likely to build on the EORTC/NCIC treatment platform and will, it is hoped, improve survival rates in patients with GBM. The majority of adjuvant Phase I and II trials being conducted by the brain tumor consortia are based on the EORTC/NCIC treatment platform and have added a targeted therapy in an effort to find a promising synergistic treatment. Furthermore, researchers in the consortia are continuing to explore treatments for recurrent GBM, not otherwise eligible for local therapies, such as CED. The treatments under study include novel cytotoxic chemotherapy as well as small-molecule inhibitors; these are being assessed in a variety of Phase I or II trials.

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Marc C. Chamberlain

✓Lymphomatous meningitis (LM) due to primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma is an uncommon problem in neurooncology and can occur at time of diagnosis or recurrence. Notwithstanding frequent focal signs and symptoms, LM is a disease affecting the entire neuraxis, and therefore staging and treatment need to encompass all cere-brospinal fluid (CSF) compartments. Central nervous system staging of LM includes contrast agent–enhanced cranial computed tomography (CT) or Gd-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, Gd-enhanced spinal MR imaging, CT myelography, and radionuclide CSF flow study. Treatment of LM includes involved-field radiotherapy of bulky or symptomatic disease sites and intra-CSF drug therapy. The inclusion of concomitant systemic therapy can benefit patients with LM and can obviate the need for intra-CSF chemotherapy. At present, intra-CSF drug therapy is confined to three chemotherapeutic agents (methotrexate, cytosine arabinoside, and thiotepa) administered by a variety of schedules either by intralumbar or intraventricular drug delivery. Although treatment of LM is palliative and the expected median survival of patients is 4 to 6 months, it often provides stabilization and protection from further neurological deterioration. In patients with primary CNS lymphoma, CNS prophylaxis has been recommended (using a combination of high-dose systemic chemotherapy and intra-CSF chemotherapy), but the strategy remains controversial because high-dose systemic methotrexate is commonly used as an adjuvant therapy. Patients with primary CNS lymphoma at high risk as defined by positive CSF cytology or neuroradiography consistent with LM may benefit from the inclusion of intra-CSF chemotherapy.

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Marc C. Chamberlain, Patty A. Kormanik and David Barba

✓ The authors studied complications associated with intraventricular chemotherapy in patients with leptomeningeal metastases (LM). One hundred twenty consecutive patients with LM (71 females and 49 males) ranging in age from 10 to 72 years (median 42 years) were treated with involved-field radiotherapy and intraventricular chemotherapy using an Ommaya reservoir and intraventricular catheter system. The diagnosis of LM was determined by a combination of clinical presentation (114 patients); cerebrospinal fluid cytological studies (100); or neuroradiographic studies (42). Systemic tumor histological findings included breast (34 patients); non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (22); melanoma (16); primitive neuroectodermal tumors including medulloblastoma (10); glial neoplasms, leukemia, small cell lung, nonsmall cell lung, and colon (six each); prostate and kidney (three each); and gastric cancers (two). Sixteen patients, all with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, also had acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Patients received one to four (median two) chemotherapeutic drugs and underwent a total of 1110 cycles of intraventricular chemotherapy (median 10). Intraventricular chemotherapy administration and diagnostic Ommaya reservoir punctures totaled 4400, with a median of 46 per patient. Complications included aseptic/chemical meningitis (52 patients); myelosuppression due to intraventricular chemotherapy (21); catheter-related infections (nine); unidirectional catheter obstruction (six); intraventricular catheter malpositioning (two); Ommaya reservoir exposure (two); leukoencephalopathy (two); and chemotherapy-related myelopathy (one). There were no treatment-related deaths; however, seven patients (6%) required additional surgery for either catheter repositioning (two) or reservoir removal (five). Seven patients with catheter-related infections were treated successfully with intraventricular and systemic antibiotic drugs, thereby preserving the Ommaya system.

The authors conclude that Ommaya reservoirs are convenient and pharmacologically rational systems for administering intraventricular chemotherapy. Overall, serious complications requiring surgery are infrequent (6%) and most often secondary to catheter infections, Ommaya reservoir exposure, or initial catheter malpositioning. In the majority of instances, catheter infections may be managed medically, as may the most common complications of intraventricular chemotherapy including aseptic meningitis (43% of patients) and myelosuppression (18%).

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Thomas C. Chen and Marc C. Chamberlain

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Jason Rockhill, Maciej Mrugala and Marc C. Chamberlain

✓Meningiomas are extraaxial central nervous system tumors most often discovered in middle to late adult life, and are more often seen in women. Ninety percent of meningiomas are benign, 6% are atypical, and 2% are malignant. Most patients in whom a meningioma is diagnosed undergo resection to relieve neurological symptoms. Complete resection is often curative. For the majority of incompletely resected or recurrent tumors not previously irradiated, radiotherapy is administered. Radiotherapy may be administered as either conventional external-beam radiation therapy or stereotactically by linear accelerator, Leksell Gamma Knife, or Cyberknife radiosurgery. Advocates of stereo-tactic radiotherapy have suggested this therapy in lieu of surgery particularly in high-risk patients, those with meningiomas in eloquent or surgically inaccessible locations, and elderly patients. When the meningioma is unresectable or all other treatments (surgery and radiotherapy) have failed, hormonal therapy or chemotherapy may be considered. Notwithstanding limited data, hydroxyurea has been modestly successful in patients with recurrent meningiomas.

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Leland Rogers, Igor Barani, Marc Chamberlain, Thomas J. Kaley, Michael McDermott, Jeffrey Raizer, David Schiff, Damien C. Weber, Patrick Y. Wen and Michael A. Vogelbaum

Evolving interest in meningioma, the most common primary brain tumor, has refined contemporary management of these tumors. Problematic, however, is the paucity of prospective clinical trials that provide an evidence-based algorithm for managing meningioma. This review summarizes the published literature regarding the treatment of newly diagnosed and recurrent meningioma, with an emphasis on outcomes stratified by WHO tumor grade. Specifically, this review focuses on patient outcomes following treatment (either adjuvant or at recurrence) with surgery or radiation therapy inclusive of radiosurgery and fractionated radiation therapy. Phase II trials for patients with meningioma have recently completed accrual within the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer consortia, and Phase III studies are being developed. However, at present, there are no completed prospective, randomized trials assessing the role of either surgery or radiation therapy. Successful completion of future studies will require a multidisciplinary effort, dissemination of the current knowledge base, improved implementation of WHO grading criteria, standardization of response criteria and other outcome end points, and concerted efforts to address weaknesses in present treatment paradigms, particularly for patients with progressive or recurrent low-grade meningioma or with high-grade meningioma. In parallel efforts, Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology (RANO) subcommittees are developing a paper on systemic therapies for meningioma and a separate article proposing standardized end point and response criteria for meningioma.

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Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan, Vonetta L. Williams, John L. Maldonado, Dilip Shahani, Heather G. Stockwell, Marc Chamberlain and Andrew E. Sloan

Object

This study was undertaken to evaluate the association between age at diagnosis, patterns of care, and outcome among elderly individuals with anaplastic astrocytoma (AA) and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

Methods

Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database, the authors identified 1753 individuals with primary GBM and 205 individuals with primary AA (diagnosed between June 1991 and December 1999) who were 66 years and older and whose records were linked to Medicare information. To facilitate gathering of prediagnosis comorbidity and postdiagnosis treatment information, only those individuals were included who had the same Medicare coverage for 6 months before and 12 months after diagnosis. The odds of undergoing various combinations of treatments and the associations with outcome were calculated by tumor type and age and adjusted by various predictors.

Results

Age was not associated with treatment differences in individuals with AA. Very elderly individuals (≥ 75 years old) with GBM were more likely to have biopsy only (odds ratio [OR] 2.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.78–3.59), surgery only (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.15–1.87), or biopsy and radiation (OR 1.39, 95% CI 1.07–1.82) and were less likely to receive multimodal therapy. Regardless of patient age or lesion histological characteristics, survival was decreased in patients treated with biopsy only. Individuals with GBM who had surgery only or biopsy and radiation had worse outcomes than individuals treated with surgery and radiation. There were no differences in survival by lesion histological characteristics. Very elderly individuals with malignant astrocytomas were more likely to receive limited treatment (most pronounced in individuals with GBM). Survival variation correlated with treatment combinations.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that in clinical neurooncology patient age is associated with not receiving effective therapies and hence worse prognosis.