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Clin Investig (Lond). 2011 Oct;1(10):1391-1402.

Neoplastic meningitis resulting from hematological malignancies: pharmacokinetic considerations and maximizing outcome.

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  • 1Long Island Brain Tumor Center at NSPC, NY, USA.


Neoplastic meningitis, also known as leptomeningeal metastases, is a complication of various types of cancer that occurs when tumor cells enter the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), travel along CSF pathways and grow. Treatment options include drug delivery directly into the CNS or systemic administration for targeted action in the CNS. CNS drug delivery is limited by the blood-brain barrier and the blood-CSF barrier. It may be possible to partially overcome this by using high-dose systemic therapy; however, this is done at the possible expense of increased systemic toxicity. Intra-CSF drug delivery bypasses the blood-brain barrier and allows direct access of the chemotherapeutic agent to the CSF. Because neoplastic meningitis occurs in an increasingly large percentage of all cancer patients, it is imperative to optimize drug delivery to the CSF and meninges. Both the pharmacokinetic profile of the chemotherapeutic agent and the site of administration influence therapeutic efficacy. Achieving prolonged therapeutic cytotoxic drug concentrations and even distribution in the CSF will improve efficacy. In this article we summarize data on the efficacy, safety and outcome of high-dose systemic and intra-CSF treatments.

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