Low-grade brain tumors respond better to combination therapy

10 Mar 2015

New clinical-trial findings provide further evidence that combining chemotherapy with radiation therapy is the best treatment for people with low-grade glioma, a type of brain cancer. The findings come from a phase 2 study co-led by Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer and researchers at the University of Maryland and at London Regional Cancer Program in Ontario, Canada.

Radiation plus chemotherapy increased overall survival

The study shows that patients with low-grade gliomas and at high risk for tumor recurrence have an overall survival of 73% after three years when treated with radiation plus temozolomide, a chemotherapy drug. This is compared with a three-year survival of 54% for historical controls treated with radiation alone.

"The most effective treatment for these rare tumors is currently controversial at best," says Arnab Chakravarti, MD, chair and professor of Radiation Oncology adding that “many of these high-risk low-grade gliomas progress to grade 3 and 4 tumors over time, so identifying the best treatment strategy is critical to ensure that patients have the best outcomes."

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Combined therapy to prevent disease progression

The study reports that combining radiation with temozolomide-based chemotherapy appears to improve clinical outcome compared to historical controls treated by radiation alone. This may prove critical in killing enough tumor cells to prevent progression to stage 4 disease, or glioblastoma multiforme, over time.

The study's key technical findings include:

  • The 3-year progression-free survival rate was 59%
  • Grade 3 adverse events occurred in 43% of patients;
  • Grade 4 events occurred in 10% of patients.

Chakravarti and his lab are currently conducting molecular studies to more specifically identify which low-grade gliomas patients benefit from temozolomide.

 

Source: Science Daily

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