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General Health Channel
Reported January 30, 2008

Living Longer With Brain Tumors

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Some brain tumor patients may live longer by taking high doses of the chemotherapy drug, methotrexate (Rheumatrex).

Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston looked at 25 adults who had just been diagnosed with primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL). The patients got a high dose of methotrexate every two weeks for four months or until there were no signs of the brain tumor. They were followed for a minimum of six and a half years.

The study shows 52-percent of the participants went into complete remission and 40 percent of these patients have not relapsed after an average of seven years. The average survival rate of all participants who took methotrexate was four and a half years. Compare that to the one year average survival rate for patients who receive radiation therapy for this type of brain tumor.

“Our findings show high-dose methotrexate alone or in combination with other chemotherapy drugs is the most effective treatment available for primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL),” study author Tracy Batchelor, M.D., the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, was quoted as saying. “Moreover, it appears some people may achieve a long remission through the methotrexate alone.”

Dr. Batchelor says more studies are needed to find the best dose of methotrexate and the combination therapy that will have the most effective results with minimum side effects.

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SOURCE: Neurology, 2008;70:401

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