Long-term stabilization in patients with malignant glioma after treatment with liposomal doxorubicin

Cancer. 2001 Oct 1;92(7):1936-42. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(20011001)92:7<1936::aid-cncr1712>3.0.co;2-h.


Background: Resistance to chemotherapeutic agents and poor blood-brain barrier penetration are major limitations in the treatment of malignant glioma. To improve drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier, the authors used doxorubicin as liposomal encapsulated formulation (Caelyx, Scheringh-Plough, Munich, Germany) in therapy of recurrent malignant glioma.

Methods: Fifteen patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas were included in the study. Of these, 13 patients could be evaluated, including 6 patients with glioblastoma, 1 patient with gliosarcoma and 6 patients with anaplastic astrocytoma. The treatment consisted of liposomal doxorubicin (20 mg/m(2)), applied intravenously every 2 weeks.

Results: Stabilization of the disease was observed in 54% (7 of 13) of patients. Partial response and complete response (CR) were not observed. Median time-to-progression was 11 weeks. Progression free survival at 12 months was 15%. Median overall survival (OS) after doxorubicin therapy was 40.0 weeks, whereas the median OS after diagnosis reached 20.0 months (87.0 weeks). Doxorubicin was well tolerated, with main side effects being palmoplantar erythrodysesthesia occurring in 38% and myelotoxicity (World Health Organization Grade 3-4) in 31% of the patients.

Conclusions: Doxorubicin has been shown to be a safe treatment with moderate activity that may lead to long-term stabilization in recurrent high-grade glioma patients. Of note, median OS after all and after initiation of recurrence therapy was prolonged in comparison with the OS in other Phase II studies, as recently described by Wong et al. (Wong ET, Hess KR, Gleason MJ, Jaeckle KA, Kyritsis AP, Prados MD, et al. Outcomes and prognostic factors in recurrent glioma patients enrolled onto phase II clinical trials. J Clin Oncol 1999;17:2572.).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Glioma / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Liposomes
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy*
  • Remission Induction
  • Survival Analysis


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Liposomes
  • Doxorubicin