Cerebral blood flow increase in cancer patients by applying cervical spinal cord stimulation

Neurocirugia (Astur). 2007 Feb;18(1):28-32; discussion 33-5. doi: 10.1016/s1130-1473(07)70305-6.


Introduction: Generally, high-grade gliomas and head and neck tumors have decreased loco-regional blood flow resulting in reduced delivery of chemotherapy and oxygen, as well as an increases in radiation resistance to radiotherapy. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of cervical spinal cord electrical stimulation (cSCS) on cerebral blood flow in patients with those tumors.

Patients and methods: We have evaluated 27 cancer patients with 12 with high grade gliomas and 15 with advanced head and neck tumors, who had cSCS devices placed after tumor diagnoses and before the commencement initiating of radio-chemotherapy. They were 12 high grade gliomas and 15 advanced head and neck tumors. Before and after cSCS, cerebral blood flow was assessed bilaterally by transcranial Doppler.

Results: During cSCS there was a significant (p<0.001) increase in systolic (mean > 22%) and diastolic (> 29%) blood-flow velocities in both, healthy and tumor middle cerebral arteries. The analyses by subgroup of tumors showed similarly significant outcomes findings.

Conclusions: The results suggest that neuro-stimulation spinal cord electrical stimulation can increase cerebral blood flow in cancer patients. The implication is that this technique could be useful in modifying locoregional ischemia in brain tumors thus improving the outcomes of after radio-chemotherapy. Further research is in progress to confirm the advantages of the technique.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Brain Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Female
  • Glioma / blood supply*
  • Glioma / physiopathology
  • Glioma / therapy
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Middle Cerebral Artery / physiopathology*
  • Neck
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Research Design
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Hemoglobins