The role of spinal cord stimulation in the management of patients with brain tumors

Acta Neurochir Suppl. 2007;97(Pt 1):445-53. doi: 10.1007/978-3-211-33079-1_58.


High grade gliomas (HGG) have decreased blood flow resulting in hypoxia, limited access by chemotherapeutic agents, and reduced radiation-sensitivity. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has been used successfully in the treatment of pain and ischemic syndromes. The present article summarizes our investigations into the effects of SCS in patients with HGG. Before their scheduled radio-chemotherapy, 23 patients with HGG were assessed pre- and post-SCS using several evaluation techniques: (1) transcranial Doppler (TCD) for middle cerebral artery blood flow; (2) color Doppler for common carotid artery blood flow; (3) single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) for tumor blood flow; (4) polarographic probe technique for tumor pO2 measurement; (5) positron emission tomography (PET) for tumor glucose metabolism. Pre-SCS, the tumors were more ischemic and more hypoxic than healthy tissues. Post-SCS, there was significant: (1) increase in blood flow measured by TCD (> or =18%), color Doppler (> or =61%) and SPECT (15%), (2) increase in oxygenation and decrease (> or =45%) in percentage of hypoxic values <10 mmHg and <5 mmHg, and (3) increase (43%) in glucose metabolism. Our studies show that SCS can modify loco-regional blood flow and oxygen supply, as well as glucose-metabolism in HGG. This suggests that SCS could prove useful as an adjuvant treatment to radio-chemotherapy. These data merit further confirmatory studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cerebral Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Glioma / blood supply
  • Glioma / diagnostic imaging
  • Glioma / physiopathology
  • Glioma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Oxygen / analysis
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord / radiation effects*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color


  • Oxygen