Toxicity and efficacy of carboplatin and etoposide in conjunction with disruption of the blood-brain tumor barrier in the treatment of intracranial neoplasms

Neurosurgery. 1995 Jul;37(1):17-27; discussion 27-8. doi: 10.1227/00006123-199507000-00003.


CARBOPLATIN AND ETOPOSIDE have been investigated in preclinical studies and a limited toxicity study in 13 patients; these studies have established carboplatin and etoposide as a tolerable combination when administered with blood-brain barrier disruption. The studies also found a predictable dose-limiting toxicity of myelosuppression. Subsequently, a broad efficacy trial of this regimen was carried out. A total of 34 patients, ranging in age from 7 to 72 years, underwent a combination chemotherapy regimen of carboplatin (200 mg/m2 administered intra-arterially) and etoposide (200 mg/m2 administered intravenously) administered with blood-brain barrier disruption on each of 2 consecutive days every 28 days. The diagnoses included glioblastoma multiforme (n = 3), malignant astrocytoma (n = 8), malignant astrocytoma-oligodendroglioma (n = 1), primitive neuroectodermal tumor (n = 4), disseminated germ cell tumor of the central nervous system (CNS) (n = 6), CNS lymphoma (n = 7), and metastatic carcinoma (n = 5). The major toxicity observed in patients treated with multiple courses of this regimen was the expected reversible myelosuppression and an unexpected, irreversible high-frequency hearing loss. Of these 34 patients, 22 had measurable disease, and 9 radiographic responses (50% or more decrease in enhancing tumors) were observed in these patients. Carboplatin and etoposide with blood-brain barrier disruption is an active regimen in the treatment of malignant astrocytomas and has shown dramatic responses in primitive neuroectodermal tumors and CNS lymphoma. Additionally, the durability of responses in patients with disseminated CNS germ cell tumors is encouraging. However, such therapy is associated with unexpected high-frequency hearing loss; even so, on the basis of the favorable responses in patients with primitive neuroectodermal tumors, germ cell tumors, and lymphomas, the study of this regimen for those tumors is being extended in a multiinstitutional trial that also includes cytoxan to further evaluate the potential enhanced drug delivery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / toxicity*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / toxicity*
  • Astrocytoma / drug therapy
  • Astrocytoma / surgery
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / drug effects*
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Carboplatin / administration & dosage
  • Carboplatin / toxicity*
  • Child
  • Etoposide / administration & dosage
  • Etoposide / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Germinoma / drug therapy
  • Germinoma / surgery
  • Glioblastoma / drug therapy
  • Glioblastoma / surgery
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / drug therapy
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive / surgery
  • Oligodendroglioma / drug therapy
  • Oligodendroglioma / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Etoposide
  • Carboplatin