Phase I trial of imatinib in children with newly diagnosed brainstem and recurrent malignant gliomas: A Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium report

Ian F. Pollack*, Regina I. Jakacki, Susan M. Blaney, Michael L. Hancock, Mark W. Kieran, Peter Phillips, Larry E. Kun, Henry Friedman, Roger Packer, Anu Banerjee, J. Russell Geyer, Stewart Goldman, Tina Young Poussaint, Matthew J. Krasin, Yanfeng Wang, Michael Hayes, Anthony Murgo, Susan Weiner, James M. Boyett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


This study estimated the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of imatinib with irradiation in children with newly diagnosed brainstem gliomas, and those with recurrent malignant intracranial gliomas, stratified according to use of enzyme-inducing anticonvulsant drugs (EIACDs). In the brainstem glioma stratum, imatinib was initially administered twice daily during irradiation, but because of possible association with intratumoral hemorrhage (ITH) was subsequently started two weeks after irradiation. The protocol was also amended to exclude children with prior hemorrhage. Twenty-four evaluable patients received therapy before the amendment, and three of six with a brainstem tumor experienced dose-limiting toxicity (DLT): one had asymptomatic ITH, one had grade 4 neutropenia and, one had renal insufficiency. None of 18 patients with recurrent glioma experienced DLT. After protocol amendment, 3 of 16 patients with brainstem glioma and 2 of 11 patients with recurrent glioma who were not receiving EIACDs experienced ITH DLTs, with three patients being symptomatic. In addition to the six patients with hemorrhages during the DLT monitoring period, 10 experienced ITH (eight patients were symptomatic) thereafter. The recommended phase II dose for brainstem gliomas was 265 mg/m2. Three of 27 patients with brainstem gliomas with imaging before and after irradiation, prior to receiving imatinib, had new hemorrhage, excluding their receiving imatinib. The MTD for recurrent high-grade gliomas without EIACDs was 465 mg/m2, but the MTD was not established with EIACDs, with no DLTs at 800 mg/m2. In summary, recommended phase II imatinib doses were determined for children with newly diagnosed brainstem glioma and recurrent high-grade glioma who were not receiving EIACDs. Imatinib may increase the risk of ITH, although the incidence of spontaneous hemorrhages in brainstem glioma is sufficiently high that this should be considered in studies of agents in which hemorrhage is a concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-160
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Brainstem
  • Children
  • Dose-limiting toxicity
  • Enzyme-inducing anticonvulsant drugs
  • Imatinib mesylate
  • Intratumoral hemorrhage
  • Malignant glioma
  • Maximum tolerated dose
  • Phase I trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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