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New chemotherapy regimen prolongs survival in difficult-to-treat childhood brainstem gliomas
Date:9/25/2007

ncers to occur in children aged between about six and ten years old. The cause is unknown and the survival rates are poor: high-grade BSGs (diffuse and non-diffuse intrinsic tumours) are uniformly fatal, while children with low-grade gliomas have a more prolonged survival.

Dr Mora and his team enrolled six children out of 22 with BSGs in their trial. Four children had high-grade gliomas (two diffuse and two non-diffuse) and two had low-grade, mid-brain tumours. Irinotecan and cisplatin was given once a week for four weeks for a total of four cycles. Children with the high-grade tumours were also given anti-angiogenic therapy (bevacizumab) and radiotherapy.

Dr Mora said: All patients had complete and rapid clinical responses to the I/C regimen. Remarkably, the I/C regimen achieved a reduction in tumour size greater than 20 percent in all the children at the end of the therapy, including those with the worst BSGs, the intrinsic diffuse BSGs. No chemotherapy has ever achieved this grade of early response in high-grade BSGs.

Between nine and twelve months after the therapy, three of the high-grade tumours started to progress again.

Dr Mora said: This early response is promising but the high-grade patients eventually progress regardless of the maintenance therapy we have given them. We need to rethink these results and find out how to consolidate better these initial responses.

The other 16 children with BSGs had received different treatments by the start of the trial and they made up the historical cohort. After an average of 25 months, ten of them (65 percent) were still alive. These results cannot be compared directly with the results from the clinical trial but give an indication of how difficult it is to prolong survival for this disease.


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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
34-932-308-834
ECCO-the European CanCer Conference
Source:Eurekalert

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