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Jon Glass, Michael L. Gruber, Lawrence Cher and Fred H. Hochberg

✓ The treatment of primary central nervous system lymphoma with chemotherapy prior to whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) has improved outcome considerably in this previously fatal disease. Complete or partial responses to intravenous methotrexate (3.5 gm/sq m with leucovorin rescue every 3 weeks for two to four cycles) were seen in 12 of 13 patients originally treated. A total of 25 patients (including the original 13) have now been treated with one to six cycles of methotrexate every 10 to 21 days prior to WBRT. Twenty-two had partial or complete responses, with a median duration of response of 32 months. Median survival time was 33 months (42.5 months in those responding to therapy). Nine patients are alive and without evidence of disease 9 to 122 months following therapy. Acute and long-term toxicities were minimal. Systemic methotrexate administration prior to WBRT is well tolerated and produces long-term survival.

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Ashwatha Narayana, Deborah Gruber, Saroj Kunnakkat, John G. Golfinos, Erik Parker, Shahzad Raza, David Zagzag, Patricia Eagan and Michael L. Gruber

Object

The presence of angiogenesis is a hallmark of glioblastoma (GBM). Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which drives angiogenesis, provides an additional target for conventional therapy. The authors conducted a prospective clinical trial to test the effectiveness of bevacizumab, an inhibitor of VEGF, in newly diagnosed GBM.

Methods

From 2006 through 2010, 51 eligible patients with newly diagnosed GBM were treated with involved-field radiation therapy and concomitant temozolomide (75 mg/m2 daily for 42 days) along with bevacizumab (10 mg/kg every 2 weeks), starting 29 days after surgery. This was followed by 6 cycles of adjuvant temozolomide therapy (150 mg/m2 on Days 1–7 of a 28-day cycle) with bevacizumab administered at 10 mg/kg on Days 8 and 22 of each 28-day cycle.

Results

The 6- and 12-month progression-free survival (PFS) rates were 85.1% and 51%, respectively. The 12- and 24-month overall survival (OS) rates were 85.1% and 42.5%, respectively. Grade III/IV toxicities were noted in 10 patients (19.6%). No treatment-related deaths were observed. Asymptomatic intracranial bleeding was noted in 5 patients.

Conclusions

The addition of bevacizumab to conventional therapy in newly diagnosed GBM appears to improve both PFS and OS in patients with newly diagnosed GBM, with acceptable morbidity. A shift toward diffuse relapse was noted in a significant number of patients. Ongoing Phase III clinical trials will show the true benefit of this antiangiogenic approach.

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Robert N. N. Holtzman, Paul M. Brisson, Richard E. Pearl and Michael L. Gruber

✓ This 56-year-old woman presented with a 1-year history of low-back pain, sciatica, and paresthesias in the right S-1 dermatome. On examination the patient was shown to have a right-sided Lasègue's sign, normal strength, hypalgesia in the right S-1 dermatome, and a slight diminution of the right Achilles tendon reflex. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a 2-cm intradural enhancing lesion at the level of the L-4 vertebra. Laminectomy of L3–L5 vertebrae was performed, and intradural exploration disclosed a blueberry-appearing tumor that was surrounded by an intense arachnoiditis and attached to the right S-1 nerve root. A cystic collection of cerebrospinal fluid was seen caudal to the tumor. Complete removal required transection of the adherent nerve root fascicles. Histological analyses indicate that the lesion was a lobular capillary hemangioma, which, to the authors' knowledge, appears to be one of the first recorded examples of such a case.

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Editorial

Avastin: more questions than answers. . .

Annick Desjardins and John H. Sampson

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Jon Glass, Fred H. Hochberg, Michael L. Gruber, David N. Louis, David Smith and Barbara Rattner

✓ Malignant oligodendrogliomas have been shown to be responsive to chemotherapy. The authors administered systemic chemotherapy to seven patients with oligodendroglioma or anaplastic oligodendroglioma, and to 14 with mixed oligodendroglioma-astrocytoma. Fourteen patients underwent chemotherapy before and seven after irradiation. The PCV (procarbazine, methyl-1-(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (CCNU), and vincristine) chemotherapy was administered every 6 weeks (42-day cycles) for two to five cycles as follows: CCNU, 110 mg/sq m on Day 1; procarbazine, 60 mg/sq m/day on Days 8 to 21; and vincristine, 1.4 mg/sq m/day on Days 8 and 29. Complete or partial (> 50% reduction in tumor mass) responses at 20 to 100+ weeks after treatment were noted in 11 (79%) of the 14 patients treated before irradiation, including two with anaplastic oligodendroglioma and nine with mixed tumors. Complete responses were seen in two patients, one with anaplastic oligodendroglioma and one with a mixed tumor. Partial responses were seen in three of seven patients treated after radiotherapy. Stabilization of tumor growth followed PCV chemotherapy in four patients (two treated before and two after radiotherapy). Tumor growth progressed in two patients during therapy despite an initial response and in two patients despite therapy. The authors conclude that mixed oligodendroglial tumors as well as anaplastic oligodendrogliomas are responsive to PCV chemotherapy.

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Ashwatha Narayana, Patrick Kelly, John Golfinos, Erik Parker, Glyn Johnson, Edmond Knopp, David Zagzag, Ingeborg Fischer, Shahzad Raza, Praveen Medabalmi, Patricia Eagan and Michael L. Gruber

Object

Antiangiogenic agents have recently shown impressive radiological responses in high-grade glioma. However, it is not clear if the responses are related to vascular changes or due to antitumoral effects. The authors report the mature results of a clinical study of bevacizumab-based treatment of recurrent high-grade gliomas.

Methods

Sixty-one patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas received treatment with bevacizumab at 10 mg/ kg every 2 weeks for 4 doses in an 8-week cycle along with either irinotecan or carboplatin. The choice of concomitant chemotherapeutic agent was based on the number of recurrences and prior chemotherapy.

Results

At a median follow-up of 7.5 months (range 1–19 months), 50 (82%) of 61 patients relapsed and 42 patients (70%) died of the disease. The median number of administered bevacizumab cycles was 2 (range 1–7 cycles). The median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 5 (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.3–7.7) and 9 (95% CI 7.6–10.4) months, respectively, as calculated from the initiation of the bevacizumab-based therapy. Radiologically demonstrated responses following therapy were noted in 73.6% of cases. Neither the choice of chemotherapeutic agent nor the performance of a resection prior to therapy had an impact on patient survival. Although the predominant pattern of relapse was local, 15 patients (30%) had diffuse disease.

Conclusions

Antiangiogenic therapy using bevacizumab appears to improve survival in patients with recurrent high-grade glioma. A possible change in the invasiveness of the tumor following therapy is worrisome and must be closely monitored.