Locoregional radioimmunotherapy in selected patients with malignant glioma: experiences, side effects and survival times

J Neurooncol. 2003 May;62(3):321-8. doi: 10.1023/a:1023309927635.


Prognosis of malignant glioma is very unfavourable mainly due to minimal tumour remnants in the peritumoural tissue. Intralesionally applied radioimmunotherapy is a possible therapeutical option with the potential to improve survival of patients with malignant glioma. We investigated side effects and survival after surgery, conventional radiotherapy and additional radioimmunotherapy with labelled tenascin-antibodies in patients with malignant glioma.

Methods: Since 1995, 37 patients were treated with radioimmunotherapy after resection and radiotherapy of a malignant glioma. Patients received antibodies labelled with yttrium-90 and iodine-131 in different doses into the tumour cavity via a previously implanted ommaya-reservoir. Treatment was applied in up to 8 cycles (mean 2.96 cycles) in time intervals of 6-8 weeks. Mean age was 46 years, histology was anaplastic astrocytoma in 13 patients and glioblastoma in 24 patients.

Results: For the whole group median survival time has not yet been reached. For glioblastoma the median survival time is 17 months, 5-year survival probability for anaplastic astrocytoma is 85% approximately. Quality of life was acceptable. Acute side effects following treatment were headache, seizures and worsening of pre-existing neurological symptoms. Late side effects were skin necrosis and, in 1 case, a delayed aphasia probably due to a vascular lesion.

Conclusion: Radioimmunotherapy prolonged survival time in a selected group of patients with malignant gliomas as compared to a historical control group. Patients with anaplastic astrocytomas seem to have more benefit from this therapy than patients with glioblastomas.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Glioma / mortality*
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Glioma / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life
  • Radioimmunotherapy* / adverse effects
  • Survival Rate
  • Tenascin / immunology
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes


  • Immunoconjugates
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Tenascin
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes