Department of Neurological Surgery, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, New York.
There continues to be an extensive effort to develop chemotherapeutic approaches to the treatment of malignant gliomas of the brain. In the past 5 years there have been literally hundreds of trials of new agents, combinations of old and new agents, and even new routes and approaches to the delivery of chemotherapy. In this review, the literature has been studied and the individual reports analyzed to evaluate the impact of the new findings on clinical management of the patient with malignant glioma of the brain. The major areas of progress include the addition of new drugs with varying modes of action, the use of combinations of drugs in a synergistic fashion, and the development of new routes of drug delivery. None of the advances has brought about the revolution in clinical care that is so eagerly sought, but clearly the amount of new knowledge gained by these studies helps in understanding how to use chemotherapy more effectively. Furthermore, the remarkable degree of interest and involvement in the use of chemotherapy promises that an even greater number of patients with malignant gliomas will be considered for vigorous and enthusiastic clinical management programs even if chemotherapy itself is not the key modality in the treatment of a specific patient.