Safety and Feasibility of Repeated and Transient Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption by Pulsed Ultrasound in Patients with Recurrent Glioblastoma

Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Jul 1;25(13):3793-3801. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-3643. Epub 2019 Mar 19.


Purpose: The blood-brain barrier (BBB) limits the efficacy of drug therapies for glioblastoma (GBM). Preclinical data indicate that low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPU) can transiently disrupt the BBB and increase intracerebral drug concentrations.

Patients and methods: A first-in-man, single-arm, single-center trial (NCT02253212) was initiated to investigate the transient disruption of the BBB in patients with recurrent GBM. Patients were implanted with a 1-MHz, 11.5-mm diameter cranial ultrasound device (SonoCloud-1, CarThera). The device was activated monthly to transiently disrupt the BBB before intravenous carboplatin chemotherapy.

Results: Between 2014 and 2016, 21 patients were registered for the study and implanted with the SonoCloud-1; 19 patients received at least one sonication. In 65 ultrasound sessions, BBB disruption was visible on T1w MRI for 52 sonications. Treatment-related adverse events observed were transient and manageable: a transient edema at H1 and at D15. No carboplatin-related neurotoxicity was observed. Patients with no or poor BBB disruption (n = 8) visible on MRI had a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 2.73 months, and a median overall survival (OS) of 8.64 months. Patients with clear BBB disruption (n = 11) had a median PFS of 4.11 months, and a median OS of 12.94 months.

Conclusions: SonoCloud-1 treatments were well tolerated and may increase the effectiveness of systemic drug therapies, such as carboplatin, in the brain without inducing neurotoxicity.See related commentary by Sonabend and Stupp, p. 3750.

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Glioblastoma*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Ultrasonic Waves*