Single-Agent Chemotherapy of Brain Tumors: A Five-Year Review
Identification of effective single chemotherapeutic agents for brain tumors must precede the rational use of multiple drug combinations. In phase 2 trials beginning in 1968, 158 patients with intrinsic brain tumors (mostly recurrent malignant astrocytomas) were considered evaluable. The larger trials with more effective drugs produced these results: carmustine (BCNU) response rate, 47%, with median duration of nine months; lomustine (CCNU), 44%, with median duration of six months; procarbazine hydrochloride, 52%, with median duration six months; carmustine and vincristine sulfate combined, 44%, with median duration of only four months; and BIC (5-[3,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-triazeno]imidazole-4-carboxamide), 38%, with median duration of five months. Administration of glucocorticoids was not found to bias the frequency of response. Forty-seven patients, 26 of whom had responded to the initial drug, received a second drug. Among 26 patients who were evaluable, only four responded to the second drug.