The potential for strategies using micronutrients and heterocyclic drugs to treat invasive gliomas

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2003 Aug;145(8):683-90. doi: 10.1007/s00701-003-0073-7.


Local invasion of neoplastic cells into the surrounding brain is perhaps the most important aspect of the biology of gliomas that precludes successful therapy. Despite significant advances in neuro-imaging, neurosurgery and radiotherapy, the median survival for patients with a malignant glioma is still less than one year. With the increasing knowledge of the biology of brain tumours, derived from cellular and molecular studies, new methods of treatment are being developed with some success. Approaches studied already include anti-invasive, pro-apoptotic and anti-angiogenesis strategies and clinical trials are imminent. In this article we review two new approaches to the management of gliomas: nutraceutical intervention and heterocyclic drugs. The first approach uses a combination of naturally occurring agents, including citrus flavonoids, chokeberry extract, red grape seed extract, lycopene, selenium and red clover extract. These agents can either trigger apoptosis or affect the pathways underlying diffuse invasion. The second approach involves the use of a heterocyclic drug, clomipramine, which selectively triggers apoptosis in neoplastic cells but not in normal glia. The article refers to the results of recent studies performed in our laboratory which suggest that these new approaches can be translated into benefit to patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Glioma / drug therapy*
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / chemistry
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / pharmacology
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Micronutrients / chemistry
  • Micronutrients / pharmacology
  • Micronutrients / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness


  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Micronutrients