, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 69-85

Pharmacologic strategies for the treatment of meningeal malignancy

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There have been significant strides in the treatment and prevention of meningeal cancer, particularly meningeal leukemia, during the past thirty years. These advantages are a direct result of innovative therapeutic approaches specifically designed to overcome the limitations of systemically administered chemotherapy. Such approaches include the administration of intrathecal chemotherapy by intralumbar or intraventricular injection, the administration of very high-dose systemic chemotherapy, and the administration of cranial or craniospinal irradiation. A better understanding of the central nervous system pharmacokinetics of commonly used anticancer agents has also resulted in improvements in the treatment of meningeal cancer. In this article, the clinical pharmacology of the most commonly used intrathecal agents and pharmacologic strategies for the treatment of meningeal cancer will be discussed. In addition, an overview of new agents for intrathecal administration and other novel CNS targeted therapies will be presented.

Address for offprints: Susan M. Blaney, Texas Children's Cancer Center, 6621 Fannin, MC 3-3320, Houston, TX 77030, USA