We hypothesize that chemotherapy can be safely administered directly into the fourth ventricle to treat recurrent malignant brain tumors in children. For the first time in humans, methotrexate was infused into the fourth ventricle in children with recurrent, malignant brain tumors. A catheter was surgically placed into the fourth ventricle and attached to a ventricular access device. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow was confirmed by CINE MRI postoperatively. Each cycle consisted of 4 consecutive daily methotrexate infusions (2 milligrams). Disease response was monitored with serial MRI scans and CSF cytologic analysis. Trough CSF methotrexate levels were sampled. Five patients (3 with medulloblastoma and 2 with ependymoma) received 18, 18, 12, 9, and 3 cycles, respectively. There were no serious adverse events or new neurological deficits attributed to methotrexate. Two additional enrolled patients were withdrawn prior to planned infusions due to rapid disease progression. Median serum methotrexate level 4 h after infusion was 0.04 µmol/L. Range was 0.02–0.13 µmol/L. Median trough CSF methotrexate level 24 h after infusion was 3.18 µmol/L (range 0.53–212.36 µmol/L). All three patients with medulloblastoma had partial response or stable disease until one patient had progressive disease after cycle 18. Both patients with ependymoma had progressive disease after 9 and 3 cycles, respectively. Low-dose methotrexate can be infused into the fourth ventricle without causing neurological toxicity. Some patients with recurrent medulloblastoma experience a beneficial anti-tumor effect both within the fourth ventricle and at distant sites.
Sandberg, D. I., Rytting, M., Zaky, W., Kerr, M., Ketonen, L., Kundu, U., … Khatua, S. (2015). Methotrexate administration directly into the fourth ventricle in children with malignant fourth ventricular brain tumors: a pilot clinical trial. Journal of Neuro-Oncology, 125(1), 133–141. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11060-015-1878-y