Clinical Oncology/Epidemiology

High dose BCNU chemotherapy with autologous bone marrow transplantation and full dose radiotherapy for grade IV astrocytoma

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In a series of 22 patients, high dose BCNU (800-1,000mg m-2) with autologous bone marrow transplantation was given as the first post-surgical treatment for grade IV astrocytoma and followed by full dose radiotherapy. When compared to historical experience and matched to control patients in national studies, there appeared to be a small prolongation of survival but no increase in the proportion of long survivors. Acute myelosuppression was mild but toxicity to lung and liver was substantial and limited further dose escalation. Late bone marrow failure was seen in 4 patients. Pharmacokinetic studies were performed and suggested that the late marrow failure was due to persistence of BCNU at the time of marrow return. Despite the suggestion of a prolongation of survival this approach is not routinely recommended and a randomised trial is probably not justified.

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