Interstitial irradiation and hyperthermia for the treatment of recurrent malignant brain tumors
Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
Between June 1987 and June 1989, 29 recurrent malignant gliomas or recurrent solitary brain metastases in 28 patients were treated in a Phase I study of interstitial irradiation and hyperthermia. Patient age ranged from 18 to 65 years, and the Karnofsky Performance Status scores ranged from 40 to 90%. There were 13 glioblastomas, 10 anaplastic astrocytomas, 3 melanomas, and 3 adenocarcinomas. Catheters were implanted stereotactically after computed tomography-based preplanning. Hyperthermia was administered before and after brachytherapy, using one to six 2450- or 915-MHz helical coil microwave antennas and one to three multisensor fiberoptic thermometry probes. The goal was to heat as much of the tumor as possible to 42.5 degrees C for 30 minutes. Within 30 minutes after the first hyperthermia treatment, implant catheters were afterloaded with high-activity iodine-125 seeds delivering tumor doses of 32.6 to 61.0 Gy. Most patients had no sensation of heating. Complications included seizures in 5 patients, reversible neurological changes in 9 patients, a scalp burn in 1, and infections in 3. Of 28 evaluable 2-month follow-up scans, 11 showed definite improvement in the radiological appearance of the tumor, 4 were slightly improved, 7 were stable, and 6 showed tumor progression. Ten patients underwent reoperation for persistent tumor and/or necrosis. Eleven of 28 patients are alive 40 to 97 weeks after treatment. Thirteen patients died of a brain tumor, 2 died of extracranial melanoma metastases, 1 died of new brain melanoma metastases, and 1 died of a pulmonary embolus. The median survival was 55 weeks overall. Median survival has not yet been reached for the anaplastic astrocytoma subgroup. We conclude that interstitial brain hyperthermia using helical coil microwave antennas is technically feasible. The level of toxicity is acceptable, and the computed tomographic response rate is encouraging.