Interstitial thermoradiotherapy of brain tumors: Preliminary results of a phase I clinical trial

Baldassarre Stea, Thomas C. Cetas, J. Robert^Cassady, A. Norman^Guthkelch, Robert Iacono, Bruce Lulu, Wendell Lutz, Eugenie Obbens, Kent Rossman, Joachim Seeger, Andrew Shetter, David S. Shimm

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36 Scopus citations


A Phase I clinical trial has been initiated to determine the feasibility, tolerance, and toxicity of interstitial thermoradiotherapy in the treatment of high-grade supratentorial brain gliomas. Hyperthermia was delivered by means of thermally-regulating ferromagnetic implants afterloaded into stereotactically placed plastic catheters. Heat treatments were given immediately before interstitial irradiation; in addition, five patients received a second heat treatment at the completion of brachytherapy. The desired target temperature for the 60-minute hyperthermia session was between 42°C and 45°C. Following hyperthermia, the catheters were afterloaded with Ir-192, which delivered a variable radiation dose of 14-50 Gy depending on the clinical situation. Interstitial irradiation was supplemented with external beam radiotherapy (40-41.4 Gy) in patients with previously untreated tumors. A total of 14 patients (4 males, 10 females) have been treated to date on this protocol. Eleven of the patients had a diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme, whereas three had anaplastic astrocytoma. The mean implant volume was 61.5 cm3 (range: 9-119 CM); the median number of interstitial treatment catheters implanted was 19 (range: 7-33). Continuous temperature monitoring was performed by means of multisensor thermocouple probes inserted in the center as well as in the periphery of the tumor. Of the 175 monitored intratumoral points, 83 (47%) had time-averaged mean temperatures of 42°C, and only 12 sensors (7%) exceeded a temperature of 45°C. Among the 19 heat treatments attempted, there have been four minor acute toxicities, all of which resolved with conservative medical management and one major complication resulting in the demise of a patient. These preliminary results indicate that ferromagnetic implants offer a promising new approach to treating brain tumors with hyperthermia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1463-1471
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1990


  • Brain tumors
  • Hyperthermia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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