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Brain Tumor patients live longer
Newswise — People who
receive high doses of the chemotherapy drug
methotrexate to treat a certain type of
brain tumor appear to live longer than
people receiving other treatments, according
to research published in the January 29,
2008, issue of Neurology®, the medical
journal of the American Academy of
“Our findings show
high-dose methotrexate alone or in
combination with other chemotherapy drugs is
the most effective treatment available for
primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL)”
said study author Tracy Batchelor, MD, with
the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer
Center in Boston.
PCNSL can be a
potentially curable brain tumor or one in
which there can be a long remission.
The research involved
25 adults with newly diagnosed PCNSL who
received a high dose of methotrexate every
two weeks for four months or until there
were no signs of the brain tumor. The
participants were then followed for a
minimum of 6.5 years.
The article found 52
percent of the participants achieved
complete remission and 40 percent of these
patients have not relapsed after an average
of seven years.
The average survival
rate of all participants who received
methotrexate was 4.5 years. In contrast, the
average survival rate for patients who
receive radiation therapy for this type of
brain tumor is one year.
“Our findings support
the role of methotrexate as a critical
chemotherapy drug in the treatment of this
type of brain tumor,” said Batchelor.
“Moreover, it appears
some people may achieve a long remission
through the methotrexate alone.”
Batchelor says further studies are needed to
identify the optimal methotrexate dose and
combination therapy that will produce the
most effective results with minimum side
The study was supported
by the National Cancer Institute and
conducted in the New Approaches to Brain
Tumor Therapy (NABTT) consortium.
The American Academy of
Neurology, an association of more than
20,000 neurologists and neuroscience
professionals, is dedicated to improving
patient care through education and research.
A neurologist is a
doctor with specialized training in
diagnosing, treating and managing disorders
of the brain and nervous system such as
stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy,
Parkinson disease, and multiple sclerosis.