NYMC Faculty Publications

Leptomeningeal Disease in Glioblastoma: Endgame or Opportunity?

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Journal of Neuro-oncology

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INTRODUCTION: Glioblastoma is an aggressive cancer with a notoriously poor prognosis. Recent advances in treatment have increased overall survival, though this may be accompanied by an increased incidence of leptomeningeal disease (LMD). LMD carries a particularly severe prognosis and remains a late stage manifestation of glioblastoma without satisfactory treatment. The objective of this review is to survey the literature on treatment of LMD in glioblastoma and to more fully characterize the current therapeutic strategies.

METHODS: The authors performed a systematic review following PRISMA criteria on PubMed and OVID databases. Articles that included adult patients with LMD from glioblastoma were retrieved and reviewed.

RESULTS: LMD in glioblastoma patients is increasing in incidence, with reports of up to 21%. The overall survival without treatment is alarmingly brief, with patients surviving between 1.6-3.8 months. All studies showed that treatment does improve overall survival significantly, increasing to 11.7 months in one study. However, no one adjuvant or surgical therapy has been shown to improve survival in LMD significantly over another. Direct treatment methods include chemotherapy (standard, anti-angiogenic, intrathecal, immunotherapy), and radiation. Hydrocephalus is a complication in LMD that can be treated with ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement, however treating hydrocephalus and delivering intrathecal chemotherapy is a challenge.

CONCLUSION: Though evidence remains lacking and there is no consensus, treatments show a trend towards improving survival and should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Further studies are necessary in the pursuit of a standard of care.