JOURNAL ARTICLE

Robot-guided convection-enhanced delivery of carboplatin for advanced brainstem glioma

N U Barua, S P Lowis, M Woolley, S O'Sullivan, R Harrison, S S Gill
Acta Neurochirurgica 2013, 155 (8): 1459-65
23595829

BACKGROUND: Patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) have a poor prognosis with median survival reported as 9 months. The failure of systemic chemotherapy to improve prognosis may be due to inadequate penetration of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) has the potential to improve outcomes by facilitating bypass of the BBB. We describe the first use of carboplatin for the treatment of advanced DIPG using a robot-guided catheter implantation technique.

METHODS: A 5-year-old boy presented with a pontine mass lesion. The tumor continued to progress despite radiotherapy. Using an in-house modification to neuroinspire stereotactic planning software (Renishaw Plc., Gloucestershire, UK), the tumor volume was calculated as 43.6 ml. A transfrontal trajectory for catheter implantation was planned facilitating the in-house manufacture of a recessed-step catheter. The catheter was implanted using a neuromate robot (Renishaw Plc., Gloucestershire, UK). The initial infusion of carboplatin (0.09 mg/ml) was commenced with real-time T2-weighted MRI, facilitating estimation of the volume of infusate distribution. Infusions were repeated on a total of 5 days.

RESULTS: The catheter implantation and infusions were well tolerated. A total volume of 49.8 ml was delivered over 5 days. T2-weighted MRI on completion of the final infusion demonstrated signal change through a total volume of 35.1 ml, representing 95 % of the targeted tumor volume. Follow-up at 4 weeks revealed clinical signs of improvement and increased T2 signal change throughout the volume of distribution. However, there was tumor progression in the regions outside the volume of distribution.

CONCLUSIONS: This case demonstrates the feasibility of accurately and safely delivering small-diameter catheters to the brainstem using a robot-guided implantation procedure, and real-time MRI tracking of infusate distribution.

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