Malignant Cerebral Edema Secondary to Gliadel Wafers in the Early Postsurgical Period


High grade gliomas are the commonest intrinsic brain tumours and account for more average years of life lost than all the common cancers. It has become the commonest cause of cancer death in men under the age of 45 and women under the age of 35. Although surgical resection can greatly reduce tumour bulk, complete excision is virtually impossible due to the infiltrative nature of these tumours. In an attempt to treat the infiltrating tumour cells, there has been much interest in using local therapies inserted at the time of surgery. The authors report a case of fatal cerebral edema unresponsive to aggressive medical and surgical assessment that finally evolved to premature death in the early postsurgical period, after the craniotomy and implantation of Gliadel wafers. They note that high doses of dexamethasone were insufficient to prevent cerebral edema and death. A search for corticosteroid use and dosing for patients treated with Gliadel wafers in the published literature revealed no recommendations on the doses of steroids to be administered. In our opinion this is a very important issue and maybe the key point for the treatment of this disease, and may need to be addressed with treatment guidelines in the near future in order to ensure better results on patient’s survival. Prior to this case review there had been two similar report but a later presentation. So we think that this is the first case report of acute fulminant cerebral edema secondary to gliadel wafers in the early period.

Share and Cite:

Fernández, A. , Garcia, A. and Lazo, E. (2015) Malignant Cerebral Edema Secondary to Gliadel Wafers in the Early Postsurgical Period. Open Journal of Anesthesiology, 5, 72-74. doi: 10.4236/ojanes.2015.54014.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Sabel, M. and Giese, A. (2008) Safety Profile of Carmustine Waters in Malignant Glioma: A Review of Controlled Trials and a Decade of Clinical Experience. Current Medical Research and Opinion, 24, 3239-3257.
[2] Subach, B.R., Witham, T.F., Kondziolka, D., Lunsford, L.D., Bozik, M. and Schiff, D. (1999) Morbidity and Survival after 1,3-Bis(2-Chloroethyl)-1-Nitrosourea Wafer Implantation for Recurrent Glioblastoma: A Retrospective Case-Matched Cohort Series. Neurosurgery, 45, 17-22.
[3] Weber, E. and Goebel, E. (2005) Cerebral Edema Associated with Gliadel Waters: Two Case Studies. Journal of Neuro-Oncology, 7, 84-89.
[4] Reulen, H.J., Graham, R., Spatz, M. and Klatzo, I. (1977) Role of Pressure Gradients and Bulk Flow in Dynamics of Vasogenic Brain Edema. Journal of Neurosurgery, 46, 24-35.
[5] Fung, L.K., Shin, M., Tyler, B., Brem, H. and Saltzman, W.M. (1996) Chemotherapeutic Drugs Released from Polymers: Distribution of 1,3-Bis(2-Chloroethyl)-1-Nitrosourea in the Rat Brain. Pharmaceutical Research, 13, 671-682.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.