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High activity iodine-125 interstitial implant for gliomas.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0226.


A total of 307 adult patients with glioma were treated with high-activity removable iodine-125 interstitial brain implants at the University of California at San Francisco from December 1979 to June 1990. Recurrent gliomas underwent brain implant alone whereas previously untreated (primary) tumors underwent brain implant boost after external beam radiotherapy. Of these patients, 106 had primary glioblastoma multiforme, 68 had primary non-glioblastoma glioma, 66 had recurrent glioblastoma multiforme and 67 had recurrent nonglioblastoma glioma. Median follow-up for living patients was 143 weeks. Median survival from diagnosis for primary glioblastoma multiforme and high and low grade nonglioblastoma glioma was 88 weeks, 142 weeks, and 226 weeks, respectively. Median survival measured from the date of implant for recurrent glioblastoma multiforme and high and low grade nonglioblastoma glioma was 49 weeks, 52 weeks, and 81 weeks, respectively. Ninety-two percent of patients had no toxicity or transient acute side effects. Severe acute toxicity was seen in 6% of patients, life threatening acute toxicity in 1% of patients, and fatal toxicity in less than 1% of patients. Forty percent of patients with malignant glioma underwent reoperation at a median of 33 weeks after brain implant, with tumor found in 95% of specimens at reoperation. This large experience demonstrates that interstitial implant is well-tolerated and prolongs survival in patients with primary and recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, as evidenced by the 3-year survival rates of 22% and 15%, respectively.

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