Scientists from Canada are reporting promising results from a study of a new drug for children with acute brain tumors. The drug fotemustine, when delivered intravenously every three weeks, was found to be partially effective in shrinking the tumors.
The drug is one of a group of drugs called chloroethylnitrosoureas. They were first discovered in 1959 and have since been shown to help shrink solid tumors, including cancerous brain tumors. Studies in adults with brain tumors showed fotemustine was at least partially effective in about 20 percent of patients.
In this study, researchers from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto tested the drug in 14 children under age 20 with various types of malignant brain tumors, including primary tumors and tumors caused by cancer that had spread to the brain. All of the children had exhausted conventional.
Together the children received a total of 40 doses of the medication. Images were then taken to measure the response to the drug. Three children demonstrated a positive response to the drug, with one showing a 50 percent or greater reduction in the tumor and the other two showing 25% to 50% reductions. The drug was generally well-tolerated by the children.
The researchers believe these results indicate a need for further study of fotemustine for the treatment of pediatric brain tumors and suggest the need for more studies involving the drug alone or possibly in combination with other agents.