Chemotherapy is not often used for meningioma treatment, although there are some instances in which it can be beneficial. For instance, if a patient does not want to undergo surgery, or a tumor is located too close to the spinal cord to be safely removed, chemotherapy may be recommended as an alternative. However, traditional chemotherapy drugs work by destroying abnormal cells that reproduce at an abnormally quick rate. Because most meningiomas are slow growing, many common chemo medications do not produce the desired effect. Traditional chemotherapy is most effective for high-grade meningioma tumors, which are malignant and grow more quickly than benign meningiomas. However, these make up only a small fraction of all meningioma diagnoses.
When chemotherapy is used to treat meningiomas, medical oncologists may recommend one of the following drugs:
- Hydroxyurea, a traditional chemotherapy drug that is taken by mouth
- Interferon-alfa 2B, a biological medication that helps regulate the genes associated with anti-proliferative (anti-cell growth) activity
- Sandostatin, a long-acting release drug that can help address recurrent tumors by targeting specific receptors on the abnormal cell surfaces; also produces very few side effects as compared to traditional chemotherapy medications
Additionally, a patient’s treatment team may recommend that he or she consider enrolling in a clinical trial to access the newest medications before they are made available for use in other settings. The most effective chemotherapy medications currently in use were once available only through clinical trials, and today’s studies are laying the groundwork for tomorrow’s cure.
As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt offers a comprehensive range of chemotherapy options for meningioma, including traditional chemotherapy medications, novel drugs and leading-edge clinical trials. Each patient’s treatment plan is designed and monitored by a medical oncologist who specializes in treating brain tumors, and our multispecialty tumor board is available to weigh in on unusual and complex cases.
Patients are welcome to consult with our team with or without referrals. When you’re ready to discuss chemotherapy options for meningioma treatment with one of our medical oncologists specializing in brain cancer, request an appointment by calling 1-888-663-3488 or submitting a new patient registration form online.