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Eric T. Wong and Steven Brem

Angiogenesis is a major hallmark of cancer cells, and glioblastomas are among the most angiogenic tumors. The cascade of angiogenesis is probably initiated by hypoxia, leading to the production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Both VEGF and bFGF have paracrine effects on endothelial cells, pericytes, or both, causing the formation of hyperpermeable tumor blood vessels. Advanced MRI techniques, such as dynamic contrast-enhanced, dynamic susceptibility, and arterial spin labeling MRI, have provided semiquantitative measurements of tumor vascular permeability and perfusion. A decrease in vascular permeability and perfusion can be detected after antiangiogenesis drug treatment, either with monoclonal antibody such as bevacizumab that sequesters VEGF, or small-molecule VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Therefore, antiangiogenesis therapies are being increasingly adopted for treating glioblastomas. However, caution must be exercised because neural stem cells are also sensitive to antiangiogenesis drugs and the combined effect of ionizing radiation. This article summarizes 30 years of laboratory and clinical research on glioblastoma angiogenesis and discusses its underlying biology, clinical trial results, vascular neuroimaging, and the potential side effects of antiangiogenesis treatment.

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Gary L. Gallia, Steven Brem and Henry Brem

Malignant gliomas are among the most devastating human cancers. The infiltrating nature of these malignancies makes complete surgical resection nearly impossible. Conventional therapy for malignant gliomas consists primarily of surgical debulking followed by radiation therapy and possibly chemotherapy. The major factor limiting intracranial therapeutic levels of systemically administered chemotherapeutics is the physiologic barriers of the brain. This has led to the development of novel methods of drug delivery such as implantable polymers containing chemotherapeutic agents. Several phase III clinical trials show that implantation of carmustine-containing biodegradable polymers prolongs survival in patients with both recurrent and newly diagnosed malignant gliomas. In this article, we summarize these trials and discuss ongoing clinical trials involving implantable chemotherapy-containing polymers in the treatment of patients with malignant gliomas.

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Matthew G. Ewend, David E. Morris, Lisa A. Carey, Alim M. Ladha and Steven Brem

Brain metastases are an increasingly important determinant of survival and quality of life in patients with cancer. Current approaches to the management of brain metastases are driven by prognostic factors, including the Karnofsky Performance Status, tumor histology, number of metastases, patient age, and status of systemic disease. Most brain metastases are treated with radiosurgery, computer-assisted surgery, or whole brain radiation therapy. Remarkable advances in computer-assisted neuronavigation have made neurosurgical removal of metastases safer, even in eloquent areas of the brain. Computerization also enhances the efficacy and safety of conformal radiosurgery planning using various modern stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) technologies, including newer frameless-based systems. Controversial issues include whether to defer whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) in patients undergoing SRS or image-guided surgery and when to use SRS “boost” in a patient undergoing WBRT. The determination of how best to apply these treatments for individual patients cannot be standardized to a single paradigm, but data from well-controlled studies help physicians make informed decisions about the benefits and risks of each approach.

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Eric T. Wong, Shiva Gautam, Christopher Malchow, Melody Lun, Edward Pan and Steven Brem

The FDA's approval of bevacizumab for recurrent glioblastoma on May 9, 2009, was based on the significant response rate and clinical benefits seen from randomized phase II studies. Large-scale phase III data are unavailable. In an effort to determine benchmark efficacy parameters for bevacizumab and analyze its dose–response effect, the authors performed a meta-analysis of 15 studies published from 2005 to 2009, involving 548 patients with a median age of 53 years (range, 5–74 years), that used bevacizumab to treat recurrent glioblastoma. Median overall survival was 9.3 months (95% CI, 7.9–10.6 months). The respective 6-month progression-free and 6-month overall survival rates were 45% (95% CI, 34%–57%) and 76% (95% CI, 69%–84%), respectively. Median time to tumor progression was 6.1 months (95% CI, 4.2–8.1 months). The response analysis yielded a 6% complete response (95% CI, 2%–9%), 49% partial response (95% CI, 37%–61%), and 29% stable disease (95% CI, 20%–38%). No difference was seen in bevacizumab dose–response benefit between 5 mg/kg and 10 to 15 mg/kg. The efficacy benchmarks from this meta-analysis did not differ from those of the recently published randomized phase II studies. The lack of a dose–response effect would require confirmation in a prospectively conducted clinical trial.

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Steven S. Brem, Philip J. Bierman, Henry Brem, Nicholas Butowski, Marc C. Chamberlain, Ennio A. Chiocca, Lisa M. DeAngelis, Robert A. Fenstermaker, Allan Friedman, Mark R. Gilbert, Deneen Hesser, Larry Junck, Gerald P. Linette, Jay S. Loeffler, Moshe H. Maor, Madison Michael, Paul L. Moots, Tara Morrison, Maciej Mrugala, Louis Burt Nabors, Herbert B. Newton, Jana Portnow, Jeffrey J. Raizer, Lawrence Recht, Dennis C. Shrieve, Allen K. Sills Jr, Frank D. Vrionis and Patrick Y. Wen

Overview In 2010, an estimated 22,020 new cases of primary brain and other nervous system neoplasms were diagnosed in the United States,1 and approximately 13,140 deaths occurred from these tumors. The incidence of primary malignant brain tumors has been increasing over the past 30 years, especially in elderly persons.2 Metastatic disease to the central nervous system (CNS) occurs much more frequently, with an estimated incidence approximately 10 times that of primary brain tumors. Between 20% and 40% of patients with systemic cancer will develop brain metastases.3 NOTE: This manuscript highlights only a portion of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Central Nervous System Cancers. Please refer to for the complete NCCN Guidelines. Principles of Management Primary and metastatic brain tumors are a heterogeneous group of neoplasms with varied outcomes and management strategies. Primary brain tumors range from pilocytic astrocytomas, which are very uncommon, noninvasive, and surgically curable, to glioblastoma multiforme, the most common intraparenchymal brain tumor in adults, which is highly invasive and virtually incurable. Likewise, patients with metastatic brain disease may have rapidly progressive systemic disease or no systemic cancer at all. These patients may have one or dozens of brain metastases, and may have a malignancy that is either highly responsive or highly resistant to radiation or chemotherapy. Because of this marked heterogeneity, the prognostic features and treatment options for brain tumors must be carefully reviewed on an individual basis and sensitively communicated to each patient. In addition, CNS tumors are associated with...
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Louis Burt Nabors, Jana Portnow, Manmeet Ahluwalia, Joachim Baehring, Henry Brem, Steven Brem, Nicholas Butowski, Jian L. Campian, Stephen W. Clark, Andrew J. Fabiano, Peter Forsyth, Jona Hattangadi-Gluth, Matthias Holdhoff, Craig Horbinski, Larry Junck, Thomas Kaley, Priya Kumthekar, Jay S. Loeffler, Maciej M. Mrugala, Seema Nagpal, Manjari Pandey, Ian Parney, Katherine Peters, Vinay K. Puduvalli, Ian Robins, Jason Rockhill, Chad Rusthoven, Nicole Shonka, Dennis C. Shrieve, Lode J. Swinnen, Stephanie Weiss, Patrick Yung Wen, Nicole E. Willmarth, Mary Anne Bergman and Susan D. Darlow

The NCCN Guidelines for Central Nervous System (CNS) Cancers focus on management of adult CNS cancers ranging from noninvasive and surgically curable pilocytic astrocytomas to metastatic brain disease. The involvement of an interdisciplinary team, including neurosurgeons, radiation therapists, oncologists, neurologists, and neuroradiologists, is a key factor in the appropriate management of CNS cancers. Integrated histopathologic and molecular characterization of brain tumors such as gliomas should be standard practice. This article describes NCCN Guidelines recommendations for WHO grade I, II, III, and IV gliomas. Treatment of brain metastases, the most common intracranial tumors in adults, is also described.

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Louis Burt Nabors, Jana Portnow, Mario Ammirati, Joachim Baehring, Henry Brem, Nicholas Butowski, Robert A. Fenstermaker, Peter Forsyth, Jona Hattangadi-Gluth, Matthias Holdhoff, Steven Howard, Larry Junck, Thomas Kaley, Priya Kumthekar, Jay S. Loeffler, Paul L. Moots, Maciej M. Mrugala, Seema Nagpal, Manjari Pandey, Ian Parney, Katherine Peters, Vinay K. Puduvalli, John Ragsdale III, Jason Rockhill, Lisa Rogers, Chad Rusthoven, Nicole Shonka, Dennis C. Shrieve, Allen K. Sills Jr, Lode J. Swinnen, Christina Tsien, Stephanie Weiss, Patrick Yung Wen, Nicole Willmarth, Mary Anne Bergman and Anita Engh

For many years, the diagnosis and classification of gliomas have been based on histology. Although studies including large populations of patients demonstrated the prognostic value of histologic phenotype, variability in outcomes within histologic groups limited the utility of this system. Nonetheless, histology was the only proven and widely accessible tool available at the time, thus it was used for clinical trial entry criteria, and therefore determined the recommended treatment options. Research to identify molecular changes that underlie glioma progression has led to the discovery of molecular features that have greater diagnostic and prognostic value than histology. Analyses of these molecular markers across populations from randomized clinical trials have shown that some of these markers are also predictive of response to specific types of treatment, which has prompted significant changes to the recommended treatment options for grade III (anaplastic) gliomas.