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Pediatr Neurosurg. 2000 Oct;33(4):211-8.

Intratumoral therapy with bleomycin for cystic craniopharyngiomas in children.

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Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, B.C.'s Children's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Surgical removal of cystic craniopharyngiomas in children is associated with significant operative morbidity and recurrence rates. The purpose of this study was to review our experience with a less invasive therapy, namely, intratumoral bleomycin, in the treatment of predominantly cystic craniopharyngiomas. All children with craniopharyngiomas treated at a tertiary care pediatric neurosurgical center since 1994, when bleomycin was first used, were reviewed retrospectively. Seven patients received intratumoral bleomycin therapy. Patients received 2-5 mg bleomycin per dose, 3 times per week, for 3-5 weeks as an initial course. Mean follow-up of these patients was 3 years. In 4 patients, treatment resulted in a significant decrease (>50%) in tumor size, which has remained stable. Two patients' tumors progressed and underwent resection, and 1 patient had surgical removal because of persistent headaches, although no growth of residual tumor had been noted. One patient developed peritumoral edema as a result of bleomycin therapy. Intratumoral bleomycin is a useful alternative therapy for cystic craniopharyngiomas, and may control tumor growth and delay potentially harmful resection and/or radiotherapy in young children.

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