Survival and quality of life after interstitial implantation of removable high-activity iodine-125 sources for the treatment of patients with recurrent malignant gliomas
Stem Cell Transplantation
Between January 1980 and January 1988, 95 evaluable patients with recurrent, unifocal, supratentorial malignant gliomas were reirradiated with high-activity iodine-125 sources implanted directly into tumor in afterloaded, removable catheters using computerized tomography-directed stereotaxy. A tumor dose of 5270-15,000 cGy was delivered at a maximum distance of 0.5 cm from the rim of the contrast-enhancing mass seen on CT scans. The median survival for the 50 patients with anaplastic astrocytoma was 81 weeks and for 45 patients with glioblastoma multiforme it was 54 weeks. The 18- and 36-month survival rates for patients with anaplastic astrocytoma were 46% and 28%, respectively; the 18- and 36-month survival rates for patients with glioblastoma multiforme were 22% and 8%, respectively. Because of clinical deterioration, increasing steroid dependency, and increasing mass effect at the implantation site seen on CT scans, necrotic tissue was excised from 47 patients (49%) at craniotomy; in some patients, tumor was mixed with necrotic tissue. The survival of reoperated patients was significantly longer compared with patients who did not undergo this procedure. Serial determination of the Karnofsky Performance Score (KPS) showed that there was no significant deterioration for the group as a whole during the 6 months immediately after implantation. At 18 months, 33 of the patients were alive; KPS ranged between 50 to 90 (mean 79) and 67% were steroid dependent. At 36 months, 18 patients were alive; 17 patients were evaluable with KPS that ranged between 40 to 90 (mean 76) and 53% were steroid dependent. Eleven of the 17 evaluable long-term survivors had a KPS of 80 or higher with a mean of 87. Interstitial brachytherapy may provide long-term survival in selected patients with recurrent malignant gliomas who have been irradiated previously with conventional teletherapy. The quality of life in the majority of long-term survivors appears to be quite satisfactory. Further attempts to control tumor growth using this modality appear to be warranted.