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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 260

of 'Overview of neurologic complications of non-platinum cancer chemotherapy'

A randomized comparison of intra-arterial versus intravenous BCNU, with or without intravenous 5-fluorouracil, for newly diagnosed patients with malignant glioma.
Shapiro WR, Green SB, Burger PC, Selker RG, VanGilder JC, Robertson JT, Mealey J Jr, Ransohff J, Mahaley MS Jr
J Neurosurg. 1992;76(5):772.
This Phase III trial tested the efficacy and safety of intra-arterial 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU) for the treatment of newly resected malignant glioma, comparing intra-arterial BCNU and intravenous BCNU (200 mg/sq m every 8 weeks), each regimen without or with intravenous 5-fluorouracil (1 gm/sq m three times daily given 2 weeks after BCNU). All patients also received radiation therapy. A total of 505 patients were randomly assigned within the study. Fifty-seven patients were excluded, primarily because of neuropathology error, and the remaining 448 patients constituted the Valid Study Group. Of the total 505 patients, 190 patients could not receive intra-arterial BCNU and 315 patients were randomly assigned to receive intra-arterial (167 patients) and intravenous (148 patients) BCNU. Actuarial analysis (log-rank) demonstrated reduced survival for the intra-arterial group (p = 0.03). Serious toxicity was observed in the intra-arterial group; 16 patients (9.5%) developed irreversible encephalopathy with computerized tomography evidence of cerebral edema, and 26 patients (15.5%) developed visual loss ipsilateral to the infused carotid artery. Administration of 5-fluorouracil did not influence survival. The survival rate between the intravenous and the intra-arterial BCNU patients with glioblastoma multiforme did not differ, but was worse for intra-arterial BCNU patients with anaplastic astrocytoma than for those receiving intravenous BCNU (p = 0.002). Neuropathologically, intra-arterial BCNU produced white matter necrosis. It is concluded that intra-arterial BCNU is neither safe nor effective in prolonging survival when administered by the methods used in this study of newly diagnosed patients with malignant glioma.
Division of Neurology, St. Joseph's Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona.