Cerebral microdialysis in glioma studies, from theory to application

J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2014 Aug 5;96:77-89. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2014.03.026. Epub 2014 Mar 26.


Despite recent advances in the treatment of solid tumors, there are few effective treatments for malignant gliomas due to the infiltrative nature, and the protective shield of blood-brain barrier or blood-tumor barriers that restrict the passage of chemotherapy drugs into the brain. Imaging techniques, such as PET and MRI, have allowed the assessment of tumor function in vivo, but they are indirect measures of activity and do not easily allow continuous repeated evaluations. Because the biology of glioma on a cellular and molecular level is fairly unknown, especially in relation to various treatments, the development of novel therapeutic approaches to this devastating condition requires a strong need for a deeper understanding of the tumor's pathophysiology and biochemistry. Cerebral microdialysis, a probe-based sampling technique, allows a discrete volume of the brain to be sampled for neurochemical analysis of neurotransmitters, metabolites, biomarkers, and chemotherapy drugs, which has been employed in studying brain tumors, and is significant for improving the treatment of glioma. In this review, the current concepts of cerebral microdialysis for glioma are elucidated, with a special emphasis on its application to neurochemistry and pharmacokinetic studies.

Keywords: Cerebral microdialysis; Glioma; Neurochemistry; Pharmacokinetics; Unbound tissue concentration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Glioma / drug therapy
  • Glioma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Microdialysis / methods*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers