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Brain metastases (BM) are the most common intracranial neoplasm and represent a major clinical challenge across many medical disciplines. The incidence of BM is increasing, largely due to improvements in primary disease therapeutics conferring greater systemic control, and advancements in neuroimaging techniques and availability leading to earlier diagnosis. In recent years, the landscape of BM treatment has changed significantly with the advent of personalized targeted chemotherapies and immunotherapy, the adoption of focal radiotherapy (RT) for higher intracranial disease burden, and the implementation of new surgical strategies. The increasing permutations of options available for the treatment of patients diagnosed with BM necessitate coordinated care by a multidisciplinary team. This review discusses the current treatment regimens for BM as well as examines the salient features of a modern multidisciplinary approach.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) shows promising results in treating radionecrosis (RN) but there is limited evidence for its use in brain RN. The purpose of this study is to report the outcomes of using HBOT for symptomatic brain RN at a single institution.
This was a retrospective review of patients with symptomatic brain RN between 2008 and 2018 and was treated with HBOT. Demographic data, steroid use, clinical response, radiologic response and toxicities were collected. The index time for analysis was the first day of HBOT. The primary endpoint was clinical improvement of a presenting symptom, including steroid dose reduction.
Thirteen patients who received HBOT for symptomatic RN were included. The median time from last brain radiation therapy to presenting symptoms of brain RN was 6 months. Twelve patients (92%) had clinical improvement with median time to symptom improvement of 33 days (range 1–109 days). One patient had transient improvement after HBOT but had recurrent symptomatic RN at 12 months. Of the eight patients with evaluable follow-up MRI, four patients had radiological improvement while four had stable necrosis appearance. Two patients had subsequent deterioration in MRI appearances, one each in the background of initial radiologic improvement and stability. Median survival was 15 months with median follow-up of 10 months. Seven patients reported side effects attributable to HBOT (54%), four of which were otologic in origin.
HBOT is a safe and effective treatment for brain RN. HBOT showed clinical and radiologic improvement or stability in most patients. Prospective studies to further evaluate the effectiveness and side effects of HBOT are needed.
Purpose: We identified key clinicopathologic features of brain metastasis (BM) patients who are long-term survivors (LTS). Methods: We screened a prospective database of 1892 patients (treated 2006-2017), identified 92 (5%) who lived > 3 years following BM diagnosis, and performed per patient analyses. Results: Median age at diagnosis of BM was 57 years (range 19-77), 77% were women. The most common tumors were lung (50%), breast (26%), thyroid (7%) and skin (5%). 42% had tumors with drug-targetable oncoproteins (e.g. EGFR mutant) and 15% expressed hormonal receptors. ECOG was <2 in 70%. 47% had stage IV disease at diagnosis (75% with brain as the first site). 55% had controlled extracranial disease at the time of BM diagnosis. Median BM diameter was 1.5 cm (range 0.2-7) and 62% had a single lesion. Treatment was with surgery, radiosurgery, whole brain radiation (WBRT), or systemic therapy alone in 38%, 62%, 52%, and 4%, respectively. 53% received targeted- or immuno-therapy. Median follow up was 63 months (range 36-113). 61% failed intracranially at a median 24 months (range 1-99). 5 and 10- year survival (from BM diagnosis) was 82%, and 34%, respectively. Neither upfront WBRT nor other variables tested correlated with improved survival. In patients who died, an MRI was available within 3 months from death in 57%; of those 55% had no active intracranial disease, suggesting that the majority of deaths were non-neurologic. Conclusion: In general, LTS of BM had a limited number of BM, inactive extracranial disease, and drug targetable mutations.
PURPOSE: To investigate health-related quality of life (HRQOL ) in survivors of intracranial germ cell tumors (IGCT). METHODS: Survivors of IGCT were invited to complete the 36-Item Short Form Survey Instrument (SF-36). The SF-36 is scored from 0-100, with a higher number representing a more favorable HRQOL. RESULTS: The study cohort consisted of 12 survivors of IGCT, 6 males and 6 females. Median age was 13 years at diagnosis, and 26 years at time of study. Median follow-up was 11 years. Five patients had germinomas, and 7 had non-germinomatous germ cell tumors. All 12 patients received radiation therapy (RT), 10 to the craniospinal axis, 1 to the whole ventricles and 1 to the tumor bed alone. Nine patients received chemotherapy. Mean SF-36 scores were 67.9 (standard deviation [SD] 33.2) for physical functioning, 58.3 (SD 37.4) for role limitations due to physical health, 77.8 (SD 32.8) for role limitations due to emotional problems, 43.1 (SD 18.4) for vitality, 74.3 (SD 15.3) for mental health; 62.5 (SD 32.0) for social functioning, 74.2 (SD 33.4) for pain, and 57.1 (SD 24.0) for general health; mean scores were >1 SD lower than that of Canadian normative data for vitality, social functioning and general health. Physical component score was 43.6 (SD 13.9) and mental component score was 47.6 (SD 11.2), normalized to a US population with mean of 50 and SD of 10. CONCLUSIONS: Long-term HRQOL for survivors of IGCT is lower than that of the overall population, particularly in vitality, social functioning and general health.
Background: Glioblastoma is the most common adult malignant glioma, with poor prognosis and adverse neurological sequelae. Physical activity improves outcomes in patients with other cancers, but has not been evaluated in GBM. This prospective, single-arm intervention trial examines feasibility and preliminary efficacy of exercise on PFS, cognition and QOL in newly diagnosed GBM patients. Method: Participants are English-speaking GBM patients scheduled for concurrent chemoradiation at PMH, 18-65 years old, ECOG ≤ 2. The 3-month home-based exercise program includes aerobic and resistance training, tailored to prior fitness level, current physical status, and individual interests. Assessments of physical and neurocognitive functions, mood, fatigue, sleep, and QOL, occur within 2 weeks of starting chemoradiation, and approximately 3, 6, 12, and 18 months later, or until tumor progression. Feasibility will be assessed by accrual, retention, and adherence rates. Outcomes include PFS (RANO criteria), change in cognition (reliable change index method), physical activity and sleep (actigraphy, self-report questionnaires). Time-to-event outcomes will be estimated (Kaplan-Meier), and mixed modelling will explore individual and disease variables that contribute to outcomes. Results: During the first five months of recruitment, 13 of 19 eligible patients consented. Nine completed the exercise program. One patient died after the intervention and none of the others progressed. No exercise-related serious adverse events occurred. Preliminary results will be presented at the meeting. Discussion: Exercise appears feasible for GBM patients. Effects on survival, performance status, cognition, sleep, mood, and QOL are ongoing. Results may guide physical activity recommendations in GBM and generate avenues for translational research.
Objectives: Glioblastoma is a lethal disease in the elderly population. We aimed to evaluate disease and treatment outcomes in the oldest-old patients. Methods: Patients >80 years old with histologically confirmed glioblastoma treated between 2004 and 2009 were identified. We included patients managed with best supportive care (BSC), temozolomide (TMZ) alone, radiotherapy (RT) alone, or concomitantly with TMZ (CRT). Survival outcomes were analyzed using the Kaplan–Meier method. Results: Ultimately, 48 patients were analyzed. Median age and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Status were 82 years and 2, respectively. The median Age-Adjusted Charlson Index (AAC) was 6. Gross total and subtotal resections were performed in 16.7% and 18.8% of patients, respectively. Biopsy followed by RT alone was the treatment modality for 23/48 (47.9%), while 17/48 (35.4%) received surgery followed by RT alone or CRT. A total of 8 (16.7%) were managed with BSC after biopsy. Median overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were 4.1 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 3.3-4.9) and 2.7 (95% CI 1.5-3.9) months, respectively. Improved median OS was observed in those treated with surgical resection followed by RT alone or CRT (7.1 months), compared to biopsy followed by RT alone (4.2 months) or BSC (2.0 months; p=0.002). Surgical resection, age≤85, and AAC<6 were associated with better OS (p=0.032, p=0.031, and p=0.02, respectively). Cause of death was neurological progression in 56% of cases. RT was well-tolerated. Conclusions: PFS and OS outcomes remain poor in the oldest-old patients (>80 years old). Younger age, lower AAC, surgical resection, and adjuvant treatment were associated with improved OS.
Background: Radiotherapy with procarbazine, lomustine, and vincristine improves overall survival (OS) in patients with 1p19q co-deleted anaplastic oligodendroglioma/anaplastic oligoastrocytoma. Methods: This retrospective analysis investigated outcomes in patients with 1p19q co-deleted/partially deleted oligodendroglioma, oligoastrocytoma, anaplastic oligodendroglioma, or anaplastic oligoastrocytoma. OS and progression-free survival (PFS) were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method and prognostic factors using the Cox proportional hazard model. Results: A total of 106 patients (between December 1997 and December 2013) were included. Median age was 40 years (19-66), 58 were male (55%), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status was 0 in 80 patients (75%). 1p19q status was co-deleted in 66 (62%), incompletely co-deleted in 27 (25%), and 1p or 19q loss alone in four (4%) and nine (8%) patients, respectively. Isocitrate dehydrogenase-1 R132H mutation was found in 67 of 85 patients with sufficient material. Upfront treatment was given in 72 (68%) patients and temozolomide alone in 52 (49%). Median time to radiotherapy in 47 patients (44%) was 34.7 months and 41.2 months in 9 patients with co-deleted/incompletely co-deleted anaplastic oligodendroglioma/anaplastic oligoastrocytoma who received upfront temozolomide alone. Median OS was not reached and 5-year OS was 91% for all groups (median follow-up, 5.1 years). On multivariable analysis for all patients, receipt of therapy upfront versus none (p=0.04), PS 1 versus 0 (p<0.001) and 1p19q co-deletion/incomplete deletion versus 1p or 19q loss alone (p=0.005) were prognostic for PFS. Isocitrate dehydrogenase-1 status was not prognostic for PFS. Conclusions: With similar survival patterns in low-grade/anaplastic gliomas, molecular characteristics may be more important than histological grade. Longer follow-up and results of prospective trials are needed for definitive guidance on treatment of these patients.
Of 112 stereotactic high-activity iodine-125 implants for malignant brain tumors done as of July 1, 1994, ten have been done for recurrent single brain metastasis and constitute the study group described herein. All patients had initially undergone craniotomy for tumor resection followed by fractionated external beam whole brain radiation and recurred at the same site in the brain. The interval between initial cancer therapy and occurrence of the brain metastasis was 13 – 156 weeks (median: 63 weeks). The interval between initial treatment of the brain metastasis and its recurrence treated with brachytherapy was 13-69 weeks (median: 35 weeks). Minimum brachytherapy dose administered was 70 Gy at a median dose rate of 67 cGy/hour. Eight- patients have died. Two died suddenly at 2 and 13 weeks post-implant of presumed pulmonary embolus. Five died of recurrence of the brain metastasis at 20, 39, 52, 103, and 143 weeks post-implant, and one died of systemic metastases at 40 weeks post-implant. Two patients remain alive 183 and 324 weeks post-implant. High-activity iodine-125 brachytherapy appears to be of benefit for selected patients with recurrent single brain metastasis but larger, and preferably randomized studies are needed.
Very long term survival after diagnosis of malignant glioma has been described in individual case reports. Survival of more than 10 years is extremely rare, especially when identified in 3 out of 71 patients assigned to one arm of a randomized controlled trial.
Three patients survived 11, 16, and 18 years following the diagnosis of glioblastoma and treatment with surgery, conventional fractionated radiation, and high-activity iodine-125 boost brachytherapy as part of a randomized controlled trial.
Despite this apparent cause and effect relationship, statistical analysis shows no relationship between these cures and treatment with brachytherapy. Cure of glioblastoma remains rare.
This systematic review examines the role of chemotherapy following surgery and external beam radiotherapy for adults with newly diagnosed malignant glioma.
MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library databases were searched to August 2006 to identify relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and meta-analyses. Proceedings from the 1997 to 2006 annual meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology were also searched.
Two RCTs reported a survival advantage in favour of radiotherapy with concomitant and adjuvant temozolomide compared with radiotherapy alone in patients with anaplastic astrocytoma or glioblastoma. Twenty-six RCTs and two meta-analyses detected either no advantage or a small survival advantage in favour of adjuvant chemotherapy.
Concomitant temozolomide during radiotherapy and post-radiation adjuvant temozolomide is recommended for all patients ages 18-70 with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme who are fit for radical therapy (ECOG 0-1). Temozolomide may be considered in other situations (i.e., ECOG 2, biopsy only, age >70, intermediate grade glioma), but there is no high-level evidence to support this decision. Moreover, there are few data on long-term toxicities or quality of life with temozolomide. Adjuvant chemotherapy may be an option for younger patients with anaplastic (grade 3) astrocytoma and patients with pure or mixed oligodendroglioma. However, there is no evidence of a survival advantage from adjuvant chemotherapy in these patients, and treatment-related adverse effects and their impact upon quality of life are poorly studied. The combination of procarbazine, lomustine, and vincristine (PCV) is not recommended for patients with anaplastic oligodendroglioma and oligoastrocytoma.
Optimal treatment of glioblastoma (GBM) in the elderly remains unclear. The impact of age on treatment planning, toxicity, and efficacy at a Canadian Cancer Centre was retrospectively reviewed.
Glioblastoma patients treated consecutively between 2004 and 2008 were reviewed. Utilizing 70 years as the threshold for definition of an elderly patient, treatments and outcome were compared in younger and elderly populations.
Four hundred and twenty one patients were included in this analysis and median overall survival (OS) for the entire cohort was 9.8 months. 290 patients were aged <70 (median age 57, range 17–69) and 131 were aged ≥70 (median age 76, range 70–93). Patients ≥70 were more likely to receive best supportive care (BSC) and all patients >70 who were treated with radiotherapy received <60 Gy (P<0.001), except one. Patients aged >70 demonstrated inferior survival (one year OS 16% versus 54% for those <70, HR 3.46, P<0.001). In patients treated with BSC only, age had no impact on survival (median survival two months in both groups, HR 0.89, P=0.75). For those treated with higher doses of radiotherapy (>30 Gy to <60 Gy), one year survival was 19% versus 24% in patients aged >70 versus <70 (HR 1.47, P=0.02) respectively.
In this retrospective single institution series, elderly patients were more likely to be treated with BSC or palliative doses of radiotherapy. Randomized phase III study results are required for guidance in treatment of this population of patients.
Children treated for medulloblastoma (MB) exhibit long-term impairments in declarative memory, but the pathophysiology underlying this is unclear. Previous studies report declines in global white matter volume, but have failed to link this to declines in memory performance. We examined the effects of treatment on measures of global brain structure (i.e., total white and gray matter volume) and specific memory structures (i.e., hippocampus and uncinate fasciculus). We used volumetric MRI and diffusion tensor imaging in pediatric survivors of MB and one survivor of astrocytoma treated with cranial-spinal radiation (n = 20), and healthy controls (n = 13). Compared to controls, the survivor group exhibited reduced white matter volume, damage to the uncinate fasciculus, and a smaller right hippocampus. Critically, reduced hippocampal volume was not related to differences in brain volume, suggesting that the hippocampus may be especially vulnerable to treatment effects. A subset of the survivors (n = 10) also underwent memory testing using the Children's Memory Scale (CMS). Performance on the general index of the CMS was significantly correlated with measures of hippocampal volume and uncinate fasciculus. The examination of treatment effects on specific brain regions provides a better understanding of long-term cognitive outcome in children with brain tumors, particularly medulloblastoma. (JINS, 2014, 1, 1–13)
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