Developing new methods for the treatment of malignant brain tumours: local delivery of anti-neoplastic agents using biodegradable polymers

Forum (Genova). Apr-Jun 2000;10(2):152-65.


Controlled delivery of chemotherapeutic agents by biodegradable polymers is a new strategy that has been added to the arsenal available for the treatment of malignant neoplasms. This approach is particularly suitable for the management of brain tumours because of the constraints imposed by the blood brain barrier (BBB). The use of polymers for local drug delivery minimises systemic toxicity, while achieving prolonged elevation of intratumoural drug concentrations that results in improved efficacy. In addition, this strategy broadens the spectrum of drugs available for the treatment of neoplasms in the central nervous system to include agents whose efficacy is significantly limited by systemic toxicity or inability to penetrate the BBB. In this review, we discuss the rationale and background for the use of this novel approach. We also summarise the clinical trials and laboratory investigations leading to the development of local delivery of anti-neoplastic agents from biodegradable polymers for the treatment of malignant gliomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Glioma / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Microspheres
  • Polymers


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Polymers