Long-Term Outcomes of Intra-Arterial Chemotherapy for Progressive or Unresectable Pilocytic Astrocytomas: Case Studies

Kutluay Uluc, Dominic A. Siler, Ricardo Lopez, Csanad Varallyay, Joao Prola Netto, Jenny Firkins, Cindy Lacy, Amy Huddleston, Prakash Ambady, Edward A. Neuwelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Progressive and/or unresectable pilocytic astrocytomas (PAs) carry a poor prognosis compared to typical PA. Early radiotherapy (RT) may have severe long-term neurocognitive side effects in this patient population. Intra-arterial (IA) chemotherapy is a viable alternative or addition to intravenous (IV) chemotherapy, which may be beneficial in avoidance of early RT. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of IA chemotherapy in this subset of patients. METHODS: This is a retrospective review of medical records of PA patients who are treated with IA chemotherapy at Oregon Health & Science University from 1997 until 2019. Response to treatment was categorized as complete response (CR), partial response (PR), stable disease (SD), or progressive disease (PD). Progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) are also reported. RESULTS: Twelve patients were identified. All patients experienced progression prior to initiation of IA chemotherapy. The most common grade 3 or 4 toxicities related to chemotherapy were thrombocytopenia (66%), neutropenia (66%), leukopenia (50%), anemia (33%), and lymphopenia (16%). Responses achieved were CR in 1, PR in 3, SD in 7, and PD in 1. Median PFS and median OS were 16.5 and 83.5 mo, respectively. A total of 112 procedures (IA injections) were performed and 250 arteries were catheterized. There were 3 minor and no major complications attributable to procedures. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that IA chemotherapy can be safely used in patients with unresectable or progressive PA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E336-E342
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Intra-arterial chemotherapy
  • Pilocytic astrocytoma
  • Radiotherapy
  • Unresectable tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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