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Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2013 Aug;155(8):1459-65. doi: 10.1007/s00701-013-1700-6. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Robot-guided convection-enhanced delivery of carboplatin for advanced brainstem glioma.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol BS16 1LE, UK.



Patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) have a poor prognosis with median survival reported as 9 months. The failure of systemic chemotherapy to improve prognosis may be due to inadequate penetration of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) has the potential to improve outcomes by facilitating bypass of the BBB. We describe the first use of carboplatin for the treatment of advanced DIPG using a robot-guided catheter implantation technique.


A 5-year-old boy presented with a pontine mass lesion. The tumor continued to progress despite radiotherapy. Using an in-house modification to neuroinspire stereotactic planning software (Renishaw Plc., Gloucestershire, UK), the tumor volume was calculated as 43.6 ml. A transfrontal trajectory for catheter implantation was planned facilitating the in-house manufacture of a recessed-step catheter. The catheter was implanted using a neuromate robot (Renishaw Plc., Gloucestershire, UK). The initial infusion of carboplatin (0.09 mg/ml) was commenced with real-time T2-weighted MRI, facilitating estimation of the volume of infusate distribution. Infusions were repeated on a total of 5 days.


The catheter implantation and infusions were well tolerated. A total volume of 49.8 ml was delivered over 5 days. T2-weighted MRI on completion of the final infusion demonstrated signal change through a total volume of 35.1 ml, representing 95 % of the targeted tumor volume. Follow-up at 4 weeks revealed clinical signs of improvement and increased T2 signal change throughout the volume of distribution. However, there was tumor progression in the regions outside the volume of distribution.


This case demonstrates the feasibility of accurately and safely delivering small-diameter catheters to the brainstem using a robot-guided implantation procedure, and real-time MRI tracking of infusate distribution.

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