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Ommaya Reservoir

Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2006

Is anyone familiar with this? My Dad has lung cancer and has been receiving chemo/radiation which has shrunk his tumors. However, we just learned that his cancer has spread to his brain. A neurologist recommended an ommaya reservoir which apparently is a device attached to your scalp to deliver chemo through. Any information would be appreciated.

Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2006

Hi Doug(?)-my father is in a similar circumstance-he had lung cancer-the cancer appeared to be in remission-but 3 weeks ago i took him to the ER and it turns out the tumor has metasisized to his brain. he just finished 15 rounds of radiation and 3 of chemo to sensitize the cells---it was my understanding that because of the blood brain wall chemo doesnt work well on the brain-i have never heard of the ommaya reservoir to be honest-and i do a lot of research. we are hoping they can use a gamma knife procedure to get rid of the tumor (if it has shrunk). can i ask you what the doc's have told you thus far? as far as prognosis and such?

Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2006

Thanks for the reply. We are actually going to see a neurosurgeon tomorrow for his thoughts, prognosis, and options. The name for what my Dad now has is carcinomatous meningitis which I understand is cancer in the cebrospinal fluid and lining of the brain. We have not been given any prognosis on this as of yet although we all know what we are up against--the literature I read on this states this is one of the most difficult cancers to treat b/c of the blood brain barrier you mention. Nonetheless, this Ommaya Reservoir is designed as a port entry of sorts to bypass the barrier. My Dad's oncologist has told us he has had some success with it. There is also something called radiosurgery which gives a precise delivery of high dose radiation to the tumor---I do not know if this is the gamma knife or something different but will ask the neurosurgeon tomorrow.(and yes, it's Doug)

kat96's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi Doug~ I am a brain cancer survivor and I had an Ommaya reservoir implanted in 12/97 when I received Monoclonal Antibody treatment, also called brachytherapy. This reservoir had a catheter that was fed directly to the site where my tumor was located. In my case, it allowed radiation to be administered directly to the tumor site. The reservoir remained in my skull until last September, when I had another surgery. Ihope this has helped. Please contact me if you would like further information. Kat

Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2006

Thanks for the reply Kat. My dad had the reservoir successfully implanted and his doctors are administering chemo through it. In addition to the brain tumors, he also has something called carcinomatous leptomeningitis as well where the cancer cells are "swimming" in his cebrospinal fluid. We were told radiation would not be effective for this because of the cells' movement. Happy to hear your story.

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2009

Hi Doug...... my husband's name is Doug. I just ran across your posting from 2006 inquiring about the Ommaya Reservoir. My husband is waiting for a call from the closest hospital that installs the O.R. He's to set up an appointment with the Neuro Surgeon to have his installed. If you don't mind answering, what is your Dad's status now and how did the treatment go using the O.R. My husband has the same condition of your Dad, but he did have radiation recently. He had 22 treatments of whole brain and whole spine radiation. I would love to hear your experience and how yor dad is doing. If you don't want to respond, I understand. Thanks.

Posts: 16
Joined: Jul 2008

Hello Hopeful22

My husband is going thru is similiar experience. He had leukemia last year and while he has been in remission in his bone marrow he has relapsed in his spinal fluid. Very rare I hear. There has been talk of an Ommaya Reservoir but he has not received one. He is currently getting chemo once a week thru spinal taps.
I would like to hear how your husband is doing if your up to it?
Thank you

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2009

Sorry i have not replied, evidently haven't been back on this website. The surgery for the Ommaya Reservoir went well and the intrathecal injections in to the O.R. have gone well. No side effects, no problems. We don't know what difference the Topotecan injections have made yet. My husband has a brain MRI tomorrow 5/6/09. We'll find out then. A recent PET scan showed cancer back at the original spot in the lung in addition to lymph nodes under the arm and by the stomach and by the colon. He also had surgery recently to cut a postage stamp size window in the sac around the heart in order to drain fluid from around the heart. That tissue they cut from around the heart and the fluid in the sac around the heart also contained cancer cells.
It is just one big fight to go after the cancer in the brain and spine versus the cancer everywhere else.
What is your current status? Thanks

Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2004

i am trying to find out about brachytherapy my moms doctor is saying it is too late to try treatment besides tremador and chemo put in the reservior how do i pursue finding a different dr to try this treatment.

gdpawel's picture
Posts: 525
Joined: May 2001

Many chemo drugs are "large" molecule type drugs (like Taxol). Scientists believe because they are large molecules, they are not able to reach inside the Central Nervous System (CNS), as it does the circulatory blood system. Thus, brain metastases have been more likely.

To make chemotherapy more effective for brain mets, drug(s) are injected directly into the spinal fluid via an Ommay Reservoir in the brain. Sometimes they found that giving both chemotherapy injected into the bloodstream and chemotherapy given directly into the spinal fluid may improve the outlook for some people.

For more information, google or yahoo "Leptomeningeal Carcinomatous" or "Carcinomatous Meningitis"

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Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2011

Lung Cancer survivor 6 years gets carcinomatous meningitis
by raven97 on Sat Dec 24, 2011 09:30 AM
Quote | Reply
Hi, My sister six years ago at 37 was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. She survived by taking Tarceva/Avastin. But she had to battle 3 brain tumors with cyber knife after having seizures. A month ago she had blinding headaches, confusion and double vision which messed up her sight permanently. At the ER she was tested with spinal tap the only way to see cancer in the fluid and lining of the brain and spinal cord. The doctor said as lung cancer survivors live longer this is a progression of lung cancer. (so make sure you ask your doctor for a spinal tap if you are a long term survivor) They had to put a port in her head but she was on Avastin a long time and hemorrhaged and it paralyzed her on the left side. They have given her weeks as this cancer moves fast and attacks the nervous system. I will post a link for more on it. She is 42 now. I just wanted to address this and warn as long term lung survivors will get this more and more. http://www.ehow.com/about_5167093_carcinomatous-meningitis-t

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