Phase II trial of thalidomide and carmustine for patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas

Howard A. Fine*, Patrick Y. Wen, Elizabeth A. Maher, Elene Viscosi, Tracy Batchelor, Nehal Lakhani, William D. Figg, Benjamin W. Purow, Craig B. Borkowf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


Purpose: The use of thalidomide as an antiangiogenic agent has met with only limited success in the treatment of malignant gliomas. On the basis of preclinical data demonstrating synergistic antitumor activity when antiangiogenic agents are combined with cytotoxic agents, we explored the clinical activity of the combination of thalidomide and carmustine (BCNU) in patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas. Patients and Methods: Patients with a histologie diagnosis of high-grade glioma and radiographic evidence of tumor progression after standard surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy were eligible for the study. Patients received BCNU 200 mg/m2 on day 1 of every 6-week cycle, and 800 mg/d of thalidomide that was escalated to a maximal dose of 1,200 mg/d as tolerated. Results: A total of 40 patients (38 with glioblastomas, two with anaplastic gliomas) were accrued to the study. The combination of thalidomide and BCNU was well tolerated; mild myelosuppression and mild to moderate sedation were the most common side effects. The median progression-free survival (100 days) and the objective radiographic response rate (24%) for patients with glioblastoma compared favorably with data from historical controls. Conclusion: This is one of the first clinical trials to evaluate the strategy of combining a putative antiangiogenic agent with a cytotoxic agent in patients with primary brain tumors. Our data demonstrate that thalidomide in combination with BCNU is well tolerated and has antitumor activity in patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas. Although the combination seems to be more active than either agent alone, such conclusions await confirmatory trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2299-2304
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


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