Germinomas are the most common type of germ cell tumor occurring commonly before the second decade of life. Because of the radiosensitivity of germinomas, traditional treatment following diagnosis has been conventional radiotherapy. The desire to defer radiotherapy to avoid the delayed neurocognitive effects has led researchers to investigate the use of upfront chemotherapy. A major limitation in using chemotherapy for brain tumors has been the inability to deliver drugs across the blood brain barrier. The blood brain barrier consortium has developed chemotherapy protocols for patients with malignant brain tumors through the use of reversible osmotic opening of the blood brain barrier. While the patient is under general anesthesia, osmotic opening or disruption is achieved by a 30-second intracarotid infusion of mannitol. The mannitol infusion is followed by both intraarterial and intravenous chemotherapy. By administering chemotherapy in conjunction with blood brain barrier disruption, drug delivery to the tumor and the brain around tumor is increased.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Susan Bell, MS RN CNRN CNP, by phone at 614/293-3143 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a neurosurgery nurse practitioner at The Ohio State University Medical Center and Arthur G. James and Richard J. Solove Research and Cancer Center, Columbus, OH.
© 2004 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses