Resection of brain tumors is followed by chemotherapy and radiation to ablate remaining malignant cell populations. Targeting these populations stands to reduce tumor recurrence and offer the promise of more complete therapy. Thus, improving access to the tumor, while leaving normal brain tissue unscathed, is a critical pursuit. A central challenge in this endeavor lies in the limited delivery of therapeutics to the tumor itself. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is responsible for much of this difficulty but also provides an essential separation from systemic circulation. Due to the BBB's physical and chemical constraints, many current therapies, from cytotoxic drugs to antibody-based proteins, cannot gain access to the tumor. This review describes the characteristics of the BBB and associated changes wrought by the presence of a tumor. Current strategies for enhancing the delivery of therapies across the BBB to the tumor will be discussed, with a distinction made between strategies that seek to disrupt the BBB and those that aim to circumvent it.
View details for DOI 10.3171/2014.12.FOCUS14758
View details for PubMedID 25727231
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4493051