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J Neurooncol. 1999;44(3):283-9.

Radiation-induced blood-brain barrier damage in astrocytoma: relation to elevated gelatinase B and urokinase.

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Neurology Service, Albuquerque Veterans Medical Center, NM 87108, USA.


Successful management of brain tumors prolongs life, raising the risk of delayed injury secondary to the treatment. Radiation therapy, a mainstay of brain tumor treatment, can damage the cerebral blood vessels. Acutely a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) may be seen, but fibrosis complicates radiation injury in the chronic phase. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and plasminogen activators are two matrix-degrading proteolytic enzymes, which are induced by radiation. They disrupt the basal lamina around cerebral capillaries and open the BBB. We report a patient with an astrocytoma managed by partial resection and external beam irradiation to maximal tolerable doses. The patient later developed malignant brain edema shortly after stereotactic radiosurgery. Tissue obtained during surgical debulking to control the edema showed very high levels of gelatinase B (92 kDa type IV collagenase) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA). Tumor cells were absent from the biopsy and subsequent autopsy specimens, but necrosis with fibrosis of the blood vessels was seen. If abnormal matrix enzyme function participates in the expression of radiation injury, then inhibitors to such enzymes may provide one strategy for controlling cerebrovascular damage after therapeutic brain radiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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