Background: Paclitaxel (Taxol) is a novel chemotherapeutic agent, active against a variety of tumors. It is not known whether the drug penetrates brain tumor tissue.
Patients and methods: Three patients with a recurrent glioma received paclitaxel (175 mg/m2) in a 3-hour i.v. infusion prior to surgery. Paclitaxel concentrations were measured in the tumor tissue, cerebrospinal fluid, cyst fluid, plasma and, in one patient, normal brain tissue.
Results: Tumor tissue concentrations were in the therapeutic range in all three patients. Brain tissue concentration, however, was below the detection limit of the trial.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that paclitaxel may have a place in brain tumor therapy. The low concentration in normal brain tissue, as observed in one patient, may suggest, however, that the drug does not cross the intact bloodbrain barrier.