Convection-enhanced delivery for the treatment of glioblastoma

Neuro Oncol. 2015 Mar;17 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):ii3-ii8. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/nou354.


Effective treatment of glioblastoma (GBM) remains a formidable challenge. Survival rates remain poor despite decades of clinical trials of conventional and novel, biologically targeted therapeutics. There is considerable evidence that most of these therapeutics do not reach their targets in the brain when administered via conventional routes (intravenous or oral). Hence, direct delivery of therapeutics to the brain and to brain tumors is an active area of investigation. One of these techniques, convection-enhanced delivery (CED), involves the implantation of catheters through which conventional and novel therapeutic formulations can be delivered using continuous, low-positive-pressure bulk flow. Investigation in preclinical and clinical settings has demonstrated that CED can produce effective delivery of therapeutics to substantial volumes of brain and brain tumor. However, limitations in catheter technology and imaging of delivery have prevented this technique from being reliable and reproducible, and the only completed phase III study in GBM did not show a survival benefit for patients treated with an investigational therapeutic delivered via CED. Further development of CED is ongoing, with novel catheter designs and imaging approaches that may allow CED to become a more effective therapeutic delivery technique.

Keywords: CED infusates; blood-brain barrier; convection-enhanced delivery (CED); delivery vehicles; glioblastoma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Catheters
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Convection
  • Glioblastoma / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infusion Pumps, Implantable*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents