The prognosis in patients with primary brain tumors treated with surgery, radiotherapy and conventional chemotherapy remains poor. To improve outcome, combination high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) has been explored in children, but rarely in adults. This study was performed to determine the tolerability of three-drug combination high-dose thiotepa (T) and etoposide (E)-based regimens in pediatric and adult patients with high-risk or recurrent primary brain tumors. Thirty-one patients (13 children and 18 adults) with brain tumors were treated with high-dose chemotherapy: 19 with BCNU (B) and TE (BTE regimen), and 12 with carboplatin (C) and TE (CTE regimen). Patients received growth factors and hematopoietic support with marrow (n = 15), peripheral blood progenitor cells (PBPC) (n = 11) or both (n = 5). The 100 day toxic mortality rate was 3% (1/31). Grade III/IV toxicities included mucositis (58%), hepatitis (39%) and diarrhea (42%). Five patients had seizures and two had transient encephalopathy (23%). All patients had neutropenic fever and all pediatric patients required hyperalimentation. Median time to engraftment with absolute neutrophil count (ANC) > 0.5 x 109/l was 11 days (range 8-37 days). Time to ANC engraftment was significantly longer (P = 0.0001) in patients receiving marrow (median 14 days, range 10-37) than for PBPC (median 9.5 days, range 8-10). Platelet engraftment > 50 x 109/l was 24 days (range 14-53 days) in children. In adults, platelet engraftment > 20 x 109/l was 12 days (range 9-65 days). In 11 patients supported with PBPC, there was a significant inverse correlation between CD34+ dose and days to ANC (rho = -0.87, P = 0.009) and platelet engraftment (rho = -0.85, P = 0.005), with CD34+ dose predicting time to engraftment following HDC. Overall, 30% of evaluable patients (7/24) had a complete response (CR) (n = 3) or partial response (PR) (n = 4). Median time to tumor progression (TTP) was 7 months, with an overall median survival of 12 months. These TE-based BCNU or carboplatin three-drug combination HDC regimens are safe and tolerable with promising response rates in both children and older adults.
- Brain tumors
- CD34 cells
- Combination high-dose chemotherapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas