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Edited by Gene Barnett. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ, 2006, 512 pp. $195 (e-book and hard cover). ISBN-13: 978-1-59745-185-7, ISBN-10: 1-59745-185-1.
High-Grade Gliomas: Diagnosis and Treatment is part of the Humana Press Current Clinical Oncology series. This edited work is composed of five parts: classification of high-grade gliomas, clinical characteristics, diagnostic tools, management, and contemporary investigational treatments. The 27 chapters were written by 60 contributing authors. The book comes with a CD-ROM of figures, tables, and photomicrographs from the book.
High-Grade Gliomas is concise and inclusive, but by no means an exhaustive textbook on this subject. The book gives the reader a broad sampling of the diagnostic tools used in the setting of high-grade gliomas, including chapters on computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, imaging tumor biology, nuclear imaging of gliomas, and magnetoencephalography. The tumor classification section is well done, with photomicrographs in black and white, undoubtedly to save publication costs. The tumor classification section, while short, is concise and inclusive with respect to some of the areas of current debate in tumor classification.
The management section is reasonably complete, although some of the chapters do not reference controversial articles on the side effects of radiation therapy and chemoradiation. The coverage of radiation therapy is, nonetheless, broader than in other textbooks. There is a general section that covers radiation therapy and individual chapters on brachytherapy and radiosurgery. There is also a nice chapter on nursing considerations.
The contemporary investigational treatments section contains chapters on convection-enhanced delivery, immunotoxins for glioma therapy, small-molecule agents, cytokine immuno-gene therapy, monoclonal antibodies, oncolytic viruses, biologic response modifiers, gene therapy, boron neutron capture therapy, and photodynamic therapy. While not overly detailed, these chapters give the reader a good overview of each of these areas.
In summary, this book is not a “must have” book for everyone’s library. It does, however, fit a need for the clinician who sees patients with gliomas but who is not working in a neuro-oncology center and for residents and fellows early in their careers. It quite nicely presents the spectrum of therapies under investigation, as well as outcomes of the most recent large cooperative trials. The book conveys the fact that much is going on to improve our understanding of gliomas and to improve the outcome for our patients.