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Gaviani P.,Neuro oncology Unit
Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology | Year: 2011

The impossibility to conduct a histological diagnosis could be due to different reasons: (1) patient's refusal to undergo surgery/biopsy. (2) Technical difficulties: despite the advance in surgical procedures, the removal of lesions that are located either in critical or in deep areas represents a considerable risk for patients. (3) Quality/quantity of the sample. In rare cases even when the surgical sample is achieved it could be impossible to reach a histological confirmation, for example due to the small amount of tissue obtained. The lack of histology leads to suboptimal therapy, incorrect prognosis, and misinterpretation of clinical trials and furthermore undermines the possibility to perform most radiation and chemotherapy protocols. In this setting the morphological data obtained with conventional MR imaging may be integrated with the metabolic, structural and perfusional information provided by new MR and metabolic techniques (spectroscopy, SPECT, PET in particular). Source


Gaviani P.,Neuro oncology Unit
Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology | Year: 2011

Despite a confirmed survival benefit associated with adjuvant radio- and chemotherapy, the majority of patients with malignant glioma relapse after initial therapy. Recurrent malignant glioma treatment has not been standardised and usually the response rate to standard chemotherapy protocols for recurrent malignant glioma is less than 30%. The growing body of evidence demonstrating the clinical importance of O6-methylguanine methyltransferase (MGMT) has generated a considerable interest in the exploration of strategies to overcome MGMT-mediated resistance to alkylating agents; for example protracted administration of Temozolomide (TMZ) may result in more extensive and sustained depletion of MGMT; for this reason a variety of dosing schedules that increase the duration of exposure and the cumulative dose of TMZ are being investigated for the treatment of patient with recurrent malignant glioma after standard treatment. The most widely studied regimens in this setting include (1) 21 of 28-day schedule at a dose of 75-100 mg/m(2)/day; (2) 7 of 14-day schedule at a dose of 150 mg/m(2)/day, also referred to as the ''one week on/one week off'' schedule; (3) Continuous daily schedule at a dose of 50 mg/m(2)/day. An alternative dosing schedule of TMZ may be a reasonable option in patients having high-grade gliomas with recurrence after standard therapy. Source


Salmaggi A.,Neuro oncology Unit
Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology | Year: 2011

Loco-regional chemotherapy with carmustine wafers (Gliadel) positioned at surgery and followed by radiotherapy has been shown to prolong survival in first-diagnosis glioblastoma, as well as concomitant radiochemotherapy with temozolomide. The combination of Gliadel with the Stupp protocol has mostly been investigated in retrospective studies. objective of this study was to review the literature of efficacy and toxicities in patients with first-diagnosis glioblastoma treated with surgery, Gliadel, radiotherapy and temozolomide chemotherapy. The data in the literature regarding the combined use of Gliadel with chemotherapy, concomitant with radiotherapy and adjuvant temozolomide for glioblastoma was analyzed and compared. The results on survival and toxicity are summarized. The combination of Gliadel and radiotherapy with temozolomide is well tolerated and may increase survival without a substantial increase in major toxicity. However, only prospective comparative studies will be able to address the issue of true advantage in survival with this combination. Source


Botturi A.,Neuro oncology Unit
Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology | Year: 2011

Informed consent is often talked about in an abstract manner, as if consent and information necessarily have to go together, and almost as if consent is "naturally" the quintessence of a good professional relationship in modern medicine. The United States is considered as the place of origin of informed consent. In Italy the concept of informed consent can be found for the first time in the 1990s. Informed consent is based on the principles of autonomy and benefit, on awareness and information. Already at the moment of the diagnosis, in addition to motor deficits, focal cognitive deficits are often present. It is important for the doctor to consider and evaluate the actual ability to comprehend and process the clinical situation on the part of the patient. At the Neuro-Oncology Division of the Carlo Besta Neurological Institute of Milan, we sought to analyse how and to what extent the brain tumour alters and conditions cognitive functionality, and hence the ability to process, comprehend and retain information during a diagnostic communication, and whether and how this moment is influenced by the presence of any global or specific cognitive deficits. Preliminary and performed on a numerically limited sample, 30 patients out of 42, in a specific neuropsychological survey, display cognitive attention and memory deficits despite achieving an adequate score on a global cognitive assessment. The physician's attention to the cognitive faculties of a patient to whom a pathological condition and a therapeutic approach are being presented is fundamental. Source


Silvani A.,Neuro oncology Unit
Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology | Year: 2011

In malignant gliomas, the management of symptoms and minimization of side effects assume major importance. Corticosteroids provide transient relief from neurological symptoms. However, treatment with steroids is also commonly associated with considerable side-effects including: hyperglycemia, osteoporosis, myopathy, lymphopenia and others. Sometimes, antiepileptic drugs may contribute to clinical decline of neuro-oncological patients in stable disease not only by neuropsychological impairment but also by metabolic interations. Several studies have demonstrated a high frequency of hyponatremia among patients treated with carbamazepine and particularly with oxacarbamazepine. Venous thromboembolism is a common complication in patients with cancer and it is particularly high in malignant gliomas, occurring in approximately 20-30% of such patients. Prophylactic treatment in patients with glioblastoma is a key topic. The role of prophylaxis has not yet been established with certainty. Overall the data show a clear reduction of venous thromboembolic events in patients treated with intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC). The addition of enoxaparin dose of 6.000 UI, starting in the perioperative period, induces an increase of major bleeding events. In the absence of availability of IPC, the use of enoxaparin 4.000 UI in addition to graduated compression stockings, reduces thromboembolic events without major bleeding events. Source

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